Memphis BME Research

Research Areas

We have 14 nationally- and internationally-recognized faculty with their primary appointments in Biomedical Engineering (10 on the UofM campus and 4 on the UTHSC campus). In addition to teaching and inspiring students to explore and discover new ways to keep people healthy, our faculty are known for their shared passion for and contributions to science and engineering. Our faculty are currently conducting highly regarded and innovative research in the primary areas of Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Bioelectricity, Medical Imaging, and Biosensors; the following describes the various faculty labs and research interests in these areas:

Biomaterials (Tissue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine and Drug Delivery)

Dr. Bumgardner, Dr. Bowlin, Dr. Jennings, Dr. Smith (UTHSC)

The multidisciplinary Biomaterials Applications of Memphis (BAM) Laboratory at the University of Memphis-University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) involves UofM faculty in chemistry, physics and biology, and UTHSC faculty in the Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry. BAM laboratory develops, charaterizes and evaluates biomaterials for biomedical implants, coatings, tissue engineering and drug delivery. Led by Dr. Joel D. Bumgardner, the lab has established world-recognized expertise in chitosan-based materials.

The Tissue Template Engineering and Regeneration Laboratory is focused on developing and evaluating electrospun biomaterials for tissue engineering of new tissues and organs. The lab is led by Dr. Gary L. Bowlin in conjunction with Dr. Marko Radic, immunology professor at University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

The Dr. J. Amber Jennings Laboratory engineers biomaterials that promote healing and regeneration, with research focusing on prevention and treatment of implant-associated infection. Dr. J. Amber Jennings has also established several industry-academia partnerships to evaluate antimicrobial materials and their biocompatibility.

Biomechanics (Movement Science/Rehabilitation and Biomedical Devices)

Dr. Williams, Dr. DiAngelo (UTHSC), Dr. Mihalko (UTHSC)

The research activities conducted in the laboratories of Dr. John Williams cover biomechanics from the whole body down to the cellular and subcellular level. The laboratories include equipment to prepare bone and cartilage specimens for mechanical testing or histology; laser scanning and Microscribe 3D coordinate measurement machine (CMM) for digitizing bones and implants; software for reverse engineering implants, bones as soft tissue structures from optical scans and medical image data; equipment for acquiring 3D human motion kinematics outside or inside a gait lab using XSENS fused sensors, two fixed AMTI 3D force platforms with an instrumented stair case and portable stage, and a BIODEX SYSTEM PRO dynamometer for conducting muscle testing and proprioception; A small high resolution stereolithography printer (Formlabs) can print high resolution models in a variety of materials from soft pliable, biocompatible, to rigid and strong enough for actual use as a final product. Current research includes developing multiscale finite element models of joints with poroelastic and hyperelastic material properties with a focus on growth plate mechanobiology studies. The force plates and BIODEX, stair riser and portable stage (property of UofM) are located in the UTHSC/UofM gait lab in the basement, concourse C level of the College of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy, UTHSC, 930 Madison Avenue.

Bioelectricity (Neurological and Cardiac Electrophysiology)

Dr. Curry, Dr. Parthasarathi (UTHSC)

Medical Imaging (Magnetic Resonance and Ultrasound)

Dr. Sajja, Dr. Herickhoff

Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Lab developes and validates quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy techniques for various translational and clinical applications. The research is primarily divided into two areas – a) developing confounder-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods for accurate quantification of iron overload and steatosis (fatty liver) non-invasively for replacing tissue biopsy, and b) developing automated techniques for quantifying metabolites in biological tissue samples using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The lab is led by Dr. Aaryani Tipirneni-Sajja.

The Medical Ultrasound Imaging & Instrumentation Innovations Lab develops novel transducers and approaches to ultrasound imaging (and therapy) for many clinical applications. Led by Dr. Carl Herickhoff, the lab's mission is to develop and translate new medical ultrasound technologies to help improve human health, training and working in both fundamental and applied ultrasound engineering topics.

Biosensors (Biochemical Diagnostic Devices)

Dr. Lindner, Dr. Pendley

The Sensor Institute of the University of Memphis (SENSORIUM) focuses on developing and commercializing electrochemical and optical sensors for clinical diagnostics and for measurements of ions as well as small and large molecules in a variety of biological matrices. Development of chemical and biosensors includes basic studies on material properties and transport as well as the design, optimization and testing of microfabricated sensors and senosr arrays for both in vitro and in vivo studies. The lab is led by Dr. Ernő Lindner, R. Eugene Smith Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry.

Research Collaborations

Our faculty collaborate extensively with other faculty within the Herff College of Engineering, across other UofM colleges and departments (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Health Sciences, Math, Physics, and Psychology) and with many units at UTHSC (e.g., School of Dentistry, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurology, and Microbiology, Immunology & Biochemistry). In addition, collaborations extend to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the Memphis Veterans Administration Hospital, West Cancer Clinic, and over 50 medical device and biotech companies, including Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Microport Orthopedics, Olympus Surgical Technologies, Bionova, Bioventus, and SweetBio.

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