Development and Implementation of Technology for Haptics-Enabled Image-Guided Operation of the Amadeus® Robotic Surgical System

Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery is an emerging field in research and industry. A major challenge with the existing medical robotic systems (including the da Vinci® from Intuitive Surgical) is the lack of haptic feedback (sense of touch). On the other hand, medical imaging is only used for direct visualization in the existing systems. Certain surgical sub-tasks (such as simple cuts, cleaning and suction, etc.) can be automated using imaging feedback and visual serving to assist surgeons during the operation.

Cold laser ablation as a novel tool for biodiagnostic applications and biomarker discovery

We have developed a technology platform that allows us to obtain quantitative information regarding biomarkers much faster than currently possible, without the need to use expensive antibodies for detection. Our platform allows for simultaneous detection of many biomarkers at once. This reduces the time and the cost associated with biodiagnosis, and will directly contribute to public health by providing a reliable platform for early detection of many diseases.

Pain-Free Steroid Hormone Extract Analysis Using Digital Microfluidics

Quantitative steroid hormone measurements are a mainstay in the field of clinical endocrinology, due to their effects in myriad processes from maturation to hormone-sensitive cancers. Conventional steroid hormone testing protocols require a venopunture blood draw (~5 mL) followed by a time consuming immunoassay (~2 hr) each time a single  hormone is tested. In response to this problem (and opportunity) the Wheeler Lab developed a method relying on digital microfluidics coupled with liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS).

Prosthetic Communication software for individuals with special needs

My goal is to develop new approaches in speech technologies for physically or cognitively disadvantaged users. This includes applying the specialized automatic speech recognition (ASR) algorithms developed during my doctoral research into real-world tools for speakers with speech disorders. For example, I will develop software-assisted human-human interaction in which speech that is unintelligible because of physical disability is modified to produce a more comprehensible equivalent. This will involve acoustic transformations and speech recognition preprocessing.

Macrocyclic peptides as chemical probes for protein-protein interactions

Peptides control a vast range of intra- and intercellular processes. However, linear peptides suffer from instability and poor cell permeability, which limits their application as therapeutic agents. In contrast to linear peptides, cyclic variants are more resistant to both exo- and endoproteases, which explains the therapeutic potential of this class of molecules. Peptide macrocycles have shown remarkable capacity for functional fine-tuning.

Commercialization of a cell stretcher/incubator device

Nowadays, most of cell biomechanics studies based on cell stretching have focused on small stretching magnitude, without the ability to visualize cell behavior and morphology during stretch. We therefor decided to build a cell stretcher/incubator providing the physiological conditions of cell culture (37°C, 5% CO2) while also allowing the application of a wide range of stretching magnitudes. The device consists of a cell stretcher/incubator designed specifically to be mounted on a microscope stage and thus, allows long term (several hours) in situ visualization of cell morphology.

Computational modeling of Magnetic Nanoparticles for Ultrasound Detection and Targeted Hyperthermia of the Sentinel Lymph Nodes

Breast cancer tumors spread to the rest of the body through the sentinel lymph nodes (the first lymph node to receive lymphatic drainage from a tumor). The metastases of breast cancer can be controlled by the detection and removal of these nodes.  The surgical removal of the auxillary lymph nodes and perform biopsy tests is the only reliable way to detect and remove the nodes.  This procedure can result in significant morbidity.

A novel recessed differential electrode for recording electromyographic activity from the pelvic floor muscles

A novel electrode was developed to measure pelvic  floor muscle activity in women. The novel design addresses several limitations of current technology, which uses large electrodes mounted on vaginal probes. These probes use inappropriate electrode configurations, have large electrodes susceptible to noise from nearby muscles (i.e. crosstalk), and noise from motion of the electrode relative to the vaginal wall (i.e. motion artifact). The proposed recording device is a substantial improvement, designed to reduce both crosstalk and motion artifact.

Eltrombopag as a bridge to invasive procedures in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common blood disorder characterized by low platelet counts and an increased risk of bleeding. Many patients with ITP can be maintained with conventional therapies, but when an invasive procedure or surgery is planned, a short course of treatment is needed to rapidly increase platelet counts preoperatively so that dangerous bleeds can be prevented (termed ‘bridging’ therapy).

Development of high-performance electrochemical enzyme biosensors based on carbon nanotube complexes with conjugated polyelectrolytes

A simple and facile route for the construction of highly sensitive electrochemical enzyme biosensors has been proposed using carbon nanotube (CNT) complexes with a conducting poly(thiophene) polymer. Glucose oxidase was used as a model enzyme for the construction of the advanced biosensors. Glucose biosensors, exhibiting sensitivity higher than any biosensor based on CNTs and other polymers reported, were prepared by depositing CNT-polymer loaded polymer layers that contained entrapped glucose oxidase onto gold electrodes.