Research Investment



Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

The applications that are derived from genomics, will be dependent upon the scientific progress at the interface of three major disciplines; biology, engineering, and computer science. Our laboratory works in this interdisciplinary area of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. Specific projects our laboratory is associated with include: genome annotation, protein sequence-structure mapping, functional genomics, reconstruction and modeling of biochemical pathways, infrastructure for biological databases, analysis tools and interfaces.

Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine (Christman Lab)

Our lab works on developing new biomaterial and regenerative medicine therapies. While projects cover a variety of tissues, the main focus of the lab is on the heart. We are currently developing minimally invasive biomaterial therapies for treating heart attacks and heart failure. We also examine how biomaterials can be used to enhance current stem cell therapies.


The Biosensors lab is devoted to quantitative analysis and control of metabolic processes. We develop practical methodology for accurately measuring tissue parameters in-vivo, as well for understanding the interaction between tissue and implanted devices. We seek to refine methods for governing tissue growth and development to maximize the effectiveness of Metabolically Active implanted Devices. The purpose of our research is to benefit patients with Diabetes and other disorders that can be aided by proper management of metabolites and to produce a closed loop solution for these patients.

Cardiac Mechanics (McCulloch Lab)

Our research uses engineering technologies to study the mechanisms of heart disease and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. We are currently focusing our research on:

  • the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias to develop improved methods for diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation
  • the mechanisms of congestive heart failure and the development of novel computer-based methods for diagnosing and treating patients with certain forms of heart failure
  • the development of novel strategies for cardiac regeneration using stem cells and tissue engineering.

Cartilage Tissue Engineering (Sah Lab)

Our research seeks to develop better ways of preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and injuries of cartilage. Osteoarthritis, for example, is a common disease in adults and especially those who have suffered a joint injury. However, osteoarthritis has no cure, and metal-and-plastic joint replacements do not fully restore joint function. To better understand the deterioration process in osteoarthritis, we perform experiments to clarify the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organ level processes involved in the disease. We develop and utilize biomechanical tests to determine how the joint tissues and lubricating fluids are altered, and how they may be treated. We work to translate therapeutic designs into industrial and clinical applications. We have active collaborations with researchers in Orthopaedic Surgery, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Rheumatology, and Radiology.

Integrative Network Biology (Ideker Lab)

Our laboratory uses computers to create models of cellular processes and disease. These models have the potential to revolutionize biology and medicine by providing a “blueprint” of normal and diseased cell functions, allowing researchers to simulate the effects of drugs long before they are tested in humans.

Microcirculation (Schmid-Schönbein Lab)

Our research is focused on the process, known as inflammation, that is common to most human diseases. Our team is exploring a new mechanism for inflammation that we call auto-digestion. We are applying this theory to the following important medical problems and have developed the following new opportunities:

  • Preventing inflammation of the breast tissue and consequently breast cancer
  • Treating eating disorders with a highly innovative and alternative technology designed to limit caloric consumption rates.
  • Testing a new method to treat Type II diabetes and the defective response to hormones like insulin, i.e. insulin resistance. The method applies to a wide spectrum of cell and organ dysfunctions in the metabolic syndrome. 
    We have obtained preliminary results , have shown feasibility of the approach, and are seeking partners for clinical translation of these new therapeutic approaches for prevention or treatment of these diseases.


To understand how underlying mechanistic and functional changes of the microcirculation during normal and pathological states can ultimately predict tissue viability. The research is hypothesis driven and results have clinical applications to the development of therapeutic agents and techniques.

Molecular Bioengineering

Our research focuses on bioengineering the red blood cell.

Nanoscale Bioengineering

We are working towards the development of rapid highly parallel assisted self-assembly nanofabrication and heterogeneous integration.

Neural Engineering (Silva Lab)

Our laboratory studies how information is processed in the brain and the eye with the goal of understanding neurological and retinal disorders. We have a particular interest in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and age related retinal degeneration. We are also interested in neural engineering applications including neural prosthesis and technologies for interfacing with the nervous system. We develop experimental and computational methods to understand how the nervous system is created, how it functions under normal conditions and develop methods to repair it when it fails due to disease.

Systems Biodynamics

Our research is focused on the construction and utilization of synthetic gene circuits for dissecting, analyzing, and controlling the dynamical interactions involved in gene regulation. We combine tools from nonlinear dynamics and statistical physics with the extensive array of techniques in traditional molecular biology and microfluidic technology development. The power of this approach is that it can be used to study simplified systems in order to gain insight into the modular components of gene regulation.

Systems Biology

Support for the Systems Biology Research Group

Tissue Remodeling Mechanics

Stress-growth law of blood vessels. Inventing new techniques and developing new experiments to determine the zero-stress state and the constitutive equations of blood vessel components such as collagen, elastin, and smooth muscle; lumped layers such as the endothelium, the media, and the adventitia; and the vessel as a whole. Morphometry of systemic and pulmonary blood vessels in health and disease. Continuum mechanics in pulmonary physiology; theory to integrate morphology, mechanical properties, rheology, thermal environment, and boundary conditions into a pressure-flow relationship.

Vascular Molecular Bioengineering (Chien Lab)