Research

The Borkholder Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory tackles emerging and long-standing multidisciplinary challenges at the intersection of biological systems and micro/nanotechnology. Research ranges from fundamental science to applied technology; bridging materials science, MEMS, nanomaterials, physiological modeling, animal and human studies, signal processing, imaging, sensors, and embedded systems. The research programs constantly evolve in scope and focus, adapting to new challenges and opportunities. The Lab engages undergraduates, MS and PhD students, as well as Post-doctoral researchers from electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, and microsystems engineering. Strong academic and industrial collaborations provide invaluable expertise that enhances the cross-disciplinary research of this lab.

Interests

  • Inner Ear Drug Delivery
  • Implantable Microsystems
  • MEMS / Nanotechnology / Sensors
  • Cardiac Physiology / Monitoring
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Wearable Technology

Research Projects

  • MEMS-based Advanced Drug Delivery

    MEMS-based Advanced Drug Delivery

    Microsystems and modeling of drug delivery for biotherapeutic treatments.

    With higher demands for personalized medicine and smart, programmable drug delivery systems, more flexible and smaller micropumps will be increasingly called upon by clinicians and bioengineering researchers. These smaller and more controllable micropumps will be essential for delivering experimental drugs for many systems in the body, including sensorineural, visual, cardiac, and the brain. Of particular interest are biotherapeutic, bioprotective, and gene-based therapies for the inner ear to address noise induced hearing loss, age related hearing loss, deafness, and vestibular dysfunction. This research is advancing micro-drug delivery systems and techniques through a set of discrete but synergistic bioengineering disciplines organized to (1) develop novel micropumps for drug delivery, (2) determine pump parameters and functional characteristics with a unique interplay of quantitative modeling and µCT scan biomedical imaging, and (3) test the new micropumps in vivo by infusing a contrast agent into the cochlea for quantitative comparison to syringe pump infusions, and then infusion of salicylate weekly over a one month time period to demonstrate utility of the technology for programmable, more chronic infusions. The research builds on key successes in implantable micropump integration technologies, quantitative visualization of solute flow through the mouse cochlea with μCT, and surgical approaches to delivery agents to the mouse cochlea without impact to auditory function. Although translational interventions lie close on the horizon, several additional aspects of this line of research need to be accomplished before such undertakings will be clinically successful for clinical trials in children and adults. This research combines synergistically related microsystems, bioengineering, biomedical imaging, modeling, and animal physiology experiments attacking these remaining issues to ensure the eventual bench-to-bedside success that is needed.

    MEMS drug delivery

    5

  • Non-Invasive Physiological Measurements

    Non-Invasive Physiological Measurements

    Medical devices and techniques for non-invasive extraction of physiologic parameters.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports the hospitalization rate for heart failure has more than tripled in persons aged 45 and older in the past 3 decades, with about 1 million hospitalizations costing about $12 billion annually. The NIH estimates nearly 50% of heart failure admissions may be avoidable with proper management, requiring a shift from ineffective episodic office-based management by physicians. Systematic approaches to management including home patient monitoring systems have the potential to significantly reduce hospitalizations, health care cost, and mortality. The key to successful monitoring and early detection of changes associated with emerging or deteriorating health conditions is ensuring patient compliance, daily measurement, and consistent physiological state at the time of measurement. This research is focused on new technologies for non-invasive physiological monitoring that address these key elements while providing a comprehensive view of cardiac health. The system integrates sensors, microprocessor, wireless communication capabilities, and harvests energy from the environment, providing a fully self-contained bioinstrumentation system that automatically captures medically relevant data daily.

    Non-invasive physiological measurements

  • Cardiovascular Modeling

    Cardiovascular Modeling

    First principles modeling of hemodynamics and pulse wave propagation.

    Cardiovascular disease impacts nearly 30% of those over age 65 and is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for fully one quarter of all. Each year there are over 710,000 heart attacks with nearly 74% a first heart attack. The high direct medical care and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease approached $450 billion a year in 2010 and are projected to rise to over $1 trillion a year by 2030. This increase is due in large part to the anticipated doubling of the aged population over the next 25 years, reaching nearly 20% of the population by the year 2030. Coupled with continuing increases in obesity and associated co-morbidities such as diabetes, there is a critical need for new technologies that enable monitoring of health state, detection of relevant changes, and ultimately early detection of emerging or evolving disease states. This research aims to understand pulse wave propagation in the arterial system using first principles modeling of hemodynamics. The pulse wave velocity is commonly used as a clinical marker of vascular elasticity, however multiple physiologic and arterial parameters impact this measure potentially confounding interpretation of results. Our work integrates convective fluid phenomena, hyperelastic constitutive relation, finite vessel deformation, radial motion, and inertia of the wall in addition to peak pressure, ejection time, and ejection volume. The work leads to a solution of the inverse problem of hemodynamics and lays the foundation for continuous, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring based on pulse wave velocity.

    Cardiovascular Modeling

  • Biomedical Signal Processing

    Biomedical Signal Processing

    Advanced biomedical signal processing techniques for power savings, robust extraction in noise, and trend determination including Kalman filtering, PCA, compressed sensing and machine learning.

    Biomedical signal processing is essential for bioinstrumentation systems and data interpretation. This research is focused on techniques for analysis of the electrocardiogram (ECG), photoplethysmogram (PPG) and ballistocardiogram (BCG). Application domains explored range from fetal ECG extraction to robust QT interval determination for drug studies, true sub-Nyquist sampling for radical power savings in the PPG, and precise feature delineation in noise plagued signals such as the BCG.

    biomed signal processing

  • Direct Write Sensors, Actuators, and Electronics

    Direct Write Sensors, Actuators, and Electronics

    Additive manufacturing approaches for advanced thin film sensors, actuators and electronics on flexible substrates and over classic MEMS devices.

    This research is extending MEMS by incorporation of direct write technologies for the integration of sensors and actuators over traditional MEMS structures. Nano-inks are printed using aerosol jet, ink-jet, and microdispensing systems in nano to micro layer film thicknesses on non-planar substrates. Photonic sintering technologies enable rapid sintering of materials on low temperature substrates, critical for integration over MEMS that incorporate polymer materials. Specific areas of investigation include piezoelectric sensors and actuators, and commercial off the shelf electronics integration on flexible polymer substrates and MEMS micropumps.

    Direct Write Sensors and Actuators

  • Sensors to Combat Traumatic Brain Injury

    Sensors to Combat Traumatic Brain Injury

    Wearable sensor technologies for measurement of concussive forces from explosive blast and impact.

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has emerged as the signature injury of modern war, impacting over 300,000 Servicemembers since 2000. While 82% of these injuries are classified mild, there is significant concern with the potential for long-lasting neurocognitive and neuro-degenerative effects. Diagnosis of mild TBI is difficult, with symptoms that are wide-ranging, non-specific, and often delayed in onset. A similar issue exists with impact based traumatic brain injury, with an estimated 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions in the US annually. This line of research aims to provide an objective measure of exposure to blast overpressure and impact accelerations with wearable technologies.   The Blast Gauge® System (blastgauge.com) was originally created in the Borkholder Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory at RIT under DARPA funding. This one year effort resulted in delivery of 1000 units that were tested on special operations forces in Afghanistan. Successful fielding led to increased demand and commercialization of the technology through a new startup, BlackBox Biometrics, Inc (b3inc.com). Research on advancing this technology continues at the company, and has evolved to include a system optimized for athletes, the Linx Impact Assessment System (linxias.com). Dr. Borkholder actively drives this research as the Chief Technology officer of B3.

    Blast-Gauge-with-Marked-FeaturesLinx-IAS-Feature-Set

Laboratory Personnel

Current Members

Nick Conn

Nick Conn

Posdoctoral Research Fellow

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Ahmed Alfadhel

Ahmed Alfadhel

Posdoctoral Research Fellow

Jing Ouyang

Jing Ouyang

Doctoral Candidate

Farzad Forouzandeh

Farzad Forouzandeh

Doctoral Candidate

Meng-Chun Hsu

Meng-Chun Hsu

Doctoral Candidate

Alumni and Former Members

Nick Conn

Nick Conn

PhD, Microsystems Engineering

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Joseph Kubeck

Joseph Kubeck

MS, EE

Masoumeh Haghpanahi, PhD

Masoumeh Haghpanahi, PhD

Research Fellow

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Dean Johnson

Dean Johnson

PhD, Microsystems Engineering

Jirachai Getpreecharsawas

PhD, Microsystems Engineering

TJ Binotto

TJ Binotto

MS, EE

Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith

Engineering Co-op, EE

Marie McCartan

Marie McCartan

Engineering Co-op, BME

Tegan Ayers

Tegan Ayers

Engineering Co-op, BME

Baabak Mamaghani, MS

Baabak Mamaghani, MS

Research Associate

Jeff Lillie

Jeff Lillie

PhD, Microsystems Engineering

Collaborators

Denis Cormier, PhD

Denis Cormier, PhD

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and printed electronics for the synthesis of novel materials and geometric structures

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Karl Q. Schwarz, MD

Karl Q. Schwarz, MD

Echocardiography, left ventricular assist devices, prosthetic heart valves, ballistocardiography

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Robert D. Frisina, PhD

Robert D. Frisina, PhD

Bio-therapeutic interventions for auditory dysfunction.

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Joseph P. Walton, PhD

Joseph P. Walton, PhD

Neural mechanisms underlying age-related central auditory processing dysfunction

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David A. Eddins, PhD

David A. Eddins, PhD

Central auditory plasticity, speech perception, hearing enhancement devices

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 Alexander Liberson, PhD

Alexander Liberson, PhD

Fluid dynamics, nonlinear mechanics of solids, fluid structure interaction, biomechanics, numerical simulation

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S. Manian Ramkumar, PhD

S. Manian Ramkumar, PhD

3D packaging, magnetically aligned anisotropic conductive adhesives for electrics and optoelectronics

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