Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joel Bumgardner

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information: 901-678-5243; jbmrdnr@memphis.edu

Project Description: Natural biopolymer-based materials and templates for dental/craniofacial bone regeneration and implant applications

There are over 5 million bone graft procedures performed annually in the US to repair or regenerate bone lost due to traumatic injury, disease or birth defects. And over 2 million dental implants are placed to restore teeth missing due to periodontal disease or injury. Our lab is focused on using a natural biopolymer called chitosan, to develop injectable bone graft materials, implant coatings, tissue templates and scaffolds for regenerating tissues and in locally delivering therapeutics such as antibiotics and growth factors to help stimulate healing, integration of implants into bone, and bone tissue regeneration. Chitosan is derived from shellfish wastes, which makes it a value added commodity, and exhibits may desirable characteristics for use in biomedical implants such as being degradable without toxic degradation products, biocompatible and highly flexible to chemical and physical modifications. Work will involve the manufacture of micro- and nano- scale fibers and particles, measuring material properties and characteristics, degradation and drug delivery rates and opportunities to assist with in vitro and in vivo studies.

Requirements for Student Applicants:

  • Biomedical, biology or chemistry students, engineering, or physics students
  • Familiar with Excel(R)
  • Be motivated, goal oriented, dependable, flexible and ability to work in team

Hours per week student will work: 10-20hrs

Start Date: September 1 (flexible)

Method of Compensation: Volunteer

Required Application Materials: A brief statement of career goals and interest, resume and one letter of reference

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Abell

Faculty Mentor’s Department: Biology and Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information: anabell@memphis.edu

Project Description: The Abell lab uses stem cells to define the signaling/gene expression networks controlling the conversion of stationary epithelial stem cells to motile mesenchymal cells. This epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key biological process during normal development that is reactivated in several pathologies including organ fibrosis and cancer metastasis. One goal of this research is to identify novel master regulators of EMT and the reverse process MET. This information will be used in designing new strategies for regenerative medicine and the treatment of EMT related pathologies. Projects in the lab use molecular, cellular and embryological tools to identify regulators of EMT. Student projects are dependent on previous knowledge and experience, and include tissue culture of genetically altered stem cells, isolation of RNA, preparation of cDNA, measurement of gene expression changes, isolation and separation of protein, and measurement of protein levels and activity.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Interested applicants should apply directly to Dr. Abell at anabell@memphis.edu. Please include a resume and a paragraph about your research interests and goals. Applicants must have completed General Biology II (BIOL 1120/1121). Completion of Cell Biology (BIOL 3130) is preferred. Preference will be given to applicants interested in working at least six hours per week in the lab.

Starting Date: Anytime, positions are available for summer, fall, and spring semester research.

Method of Compensation: Volunteer, Academic Credit, or Stipend depending on level of ability and training. Two hours of academic credit up to five credit hours is possible. Academic credit is obtained through enrollment in BIOL 4000 or BIOL 4001 with permission of the faculty mentor. Each credit hour is equal to three hours of laboratory time.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Bowlin

Faculty Mentor's Department: Biomedical Engineering

Telephone Number and Email Address: 901-678-2670; glbowlin@memphis.edu 

Project Description: Students will learn how to make acellular tissue regeneration templates to regenerate new blood vessels via electrospinning, the process of electromechanically drawing out a fiber to construct an extracellular matrix analog, as well as near field electrospinning, the process of 3D printing these fibers. Students will then explore how varying the parameters and composition of these fibers relates to their mechanical properties and biocompatibility in order to bring about tissue regeneration.

Requirements for Student Applicants:
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Skills: Willingness to work hard and learn.
Academics: Sophomore or above with a minimum GPA of 3.4

Application or Interview Process:

  • One page or less resume
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Conversational interview by faculty mentor and graduate student

Hours per week the student will work: 10-20

Start Date: Immediately

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer

 Faculty Mentor: Aaryani Sajja

Faculty Mentor's Department: Biomedical Engineering

Telephone Number and Email Address: 901-678-3772; aaryani.sajja@memphis.edu 

Project Description: Dr. Sajja lab works on developing quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy techniques to accurately quantify biomarkers that can be used for assessment of various diseases. The scope of work includes construction of tissue-mimicking MRI phantoms, image processing and analysis and NMR sample preparation, acquisition and metabolite quantification.

Requirements for Student Applicants:
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Skills: Dedication, willingness to work hard and learn.
Academics: Sophomore or above with a minimum GPA of 3.5

Application or Interview Process: Resume, unofficial transcript and interview.

Hours per week the student will work: 10-15

Start Date: Immediately

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer