Aug 10, 2022  
2021-2022 Florida Tech Catalog 
2021-2022 Florida Tech Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences

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D. Andrew Knight, Ph.D., Head


Ted A. Conway, Ph.D., biomedical imaging, biomechanics, rehabilitative engineering, viscoelastic and viscoplastic mechanics.

Julia E. Grimwade, Ph.D., DNA replication, DNA-protein interactions, bacterial cell cycle control, antibiotic discovery.

Linxia Gu, Ph.D., computational mechanics, biomechanics, biomaterial testing/design, bioresorbable device optimization, failure initiation and crack growth, bio-composites.

D. Andrew Knight, Ph.D., inorganic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry, biodefense applications, green chemistry.

Alan C. Leonard, Ph.D., molecular biology, microbial growth control, DNA replication, superhelicity and methylation as regulators of DNA bioreactivity, DNA-protein interactions.

Yi Liao, Ph.D., photochemical processes, reversible photoreactions under visible light, photoresponsive polymers, photo-controlled catalysis.

Kunal Mitra, Ph.D., 3D bioprinting, biomedical imaging and therapy, additive manufacturing, short pulse lasers, near-infrared spectroscopy, brain monitoring, biomedical devices, radiation transport, nanobiosensors

Nasri Nesnas, Ph.D., bioorganic chemistry, natural products, chemical neuroscience, vision chemistry. 

Manolis M. Tomadakis, Ph.D., analytical and numerical studies of transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance in porous, composite and biological media; materials characterization through computer simulations.

Rudolf J. Wehmschulte, Ph.D., inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

Associate Professors

Boris B. Akhremitchev, Ph.D., single-molecule techniques, protein-ligand interactions, hydrophobic interactions, protein aggregation, atomic force microscopy, force spectroscopy, physical and biophysical chemistry.

Christopher A. Bashur, Ph.D., cardiovascular tissue engineering, scaffold fabrication and characterization, cell-microenvironment interactions, modulating graft-induced host response, drug delivery, bioprinting, tissue vascularization.

James R. Brenner, Ph.D., self-assembly or aggregation of nanomaterials; 3D printing of biological scaffolding, solid rocket fuel and metals; combined cyclic fatigue and cryogenic embrittlement under controlled atmospheres.

Alan B. Brown, Ph.D., physical organic chemistry, sensor science, bioorganic chemistry.

Eric Guisbert, Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology of the heat-shock response in animals.

Mehmet Kaya, Ph.D., ultrasound imaging and therapeutics, cardiac and vascular mechanics, biomedical signal processing, bio-sensors and biomedical instrumentation, electrophysiology, computer modeling for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Vipuil Kishore, Ph.D., development of biologically inspired materials, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.

Charles D. Polson, Ph.D., application and development of biotechnology in undergraduate education, nucleic acid analysis, electrophoretic separation.

Norito Takenaka, Ph.D., organic chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry.

Jonathan E. Whitlow, Ph.D., P.E., multivariable process control, adaptive control, process modeling and simulation, renewable energy conversion systems.

Shaohua Xu, Ph.D., protein structure, function and relationship to osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s, molecular imaging, nanoscience.

Assistant Professors

Melissa Borgen, Ph.D., neurobiology, neurodegeneration. 

Kenia P. Nunes Bruhn, Ph.D., vascular physiology, hypertension, diabetes, erectile dysfunction.

Christopher D. Chouinard, Ph.D., mass spectrometry (MS), ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), performance-enhancing drugs/ anti-doping, metabolomics and lipidomics.

Tristan Fiedler, Ph.D.

Diego L. Guarín, Ph.D., neuro engineering, machine learning, modeling of physiological systems, biomedical signal processing, diagnosis of neurological diseases.

Karen Kim Guisbert, Ph.D., RNA biology, gene regulation, genetics, genomics, splicing, cancer, heat shock regulation, drug discovery.

Venkat Keshav Chivukula, Ph.D., cardiovascular fluid dynamics, multiscale blood flow modeling, patient-specific analysis, virtual surgery, translational treatment strategies, computational fluid dynamics, thrombosis, 3d printing, bench top cardiovascular flow analysis, cardiovascular disease.

Pavithra Pathirathna, Ph.D., analytical chemistry, electrochemistry, micro/nanoelectrodes, carbon fiber microelectrodes, sensors for in-vivo and in-vitro applications.

Roberto Peverati, Ph.D., computational methods for electronic structure theory calculations, quantum chemistry software.

Maria E. Pozo de Fernandez, Ph.D., diffusion in polymers, properties of polymer systems, thermodynamics, fluid phase equilibria at high pressures, supercritical fluids.

Toufiq Reza, Ph.D., biofuels, waste-to-energy, food-water-energy, hydrothermal carbonization, thermochemical conversion, deep eutectic solvents, pyrolysis, torrefaction, pelletization.

Jessica L. Smeltz, Ph. D., organometallic chemistry, catalysis, chemical education.

Research Assistant Professor

Karen Kim Guisbert, Ph.D., RNA biology, gene regulation, genetics, genomics, splicing, cancer, heat shock regulation, drug discovery. 

Chemistry Resource Center

Jessica L. Smeltz, Ph.D., Director

Professor Emerita

Mary Sohn, Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

Michael W. Babich, Ph.D.; J. Clayton Baum, Ph.D.; David J. Carroll, Ph. D.; Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D.; Michael S. Grace, Ph.D.; Charles E. Helmstetter, Ph.D.; Paul A. Jennings, Ph.D., P.E.; Joshua Rokach, Ph.D.; Russell C. Weigel, Ph.D.; Gary N. Wells, Ph.D.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences (BCES) Department is to provide a safe working environment in the pursuit of excellence in education, research and innovation in the fields of biomedical science and engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering. The attainment of these goals is achieved by 1) offering undergraduate and graduate curricula that provide students the opportunity to obtain the required knowledge, and technical and communication skills, and thorough understanding of the associated safety, ethical, social and economic responsibilities in their respective fields; 2) engaging in internationally recognized research that will increase knowledge and lead to technological innovations; and 3) providing an atmosphere that stimulates intellectual curiosity and encourages creative interactions among faculty and students. Success in the accomplishment of these goals will equip students with the capacity to thrive in diverse professional roles in research institutions, global industries and local communities.


Current research activities are in the following areas:

Bioengineering: Research projects include development and characterization of biologically inspired materials; fabrication of scaffolds for corneal, bone and vascular tissue engineering applications; and stem cell bioengineering. Other projects include the design and development of perfusion bioreactor culture systems for stem cell proliferation and in vitro large-scale production of platelets.

Bio-sensors: Ongoing activities include biosensor development for rocket fuels, nerve agents and non-invasive glucose monitoring using artificial neural network discriminator.

Cardiovascular engineering: This research is focused on developing innovative techniques and devices for the detection and therapy of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial ischemia, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension and hemorrhagic shock, and procedures including angioplasty/stent placement and hemodynamic monitoring. One example is using ultrasound technology, contrast agents and stem cells to repair vascular damage caused by stent placement.

Cardiovascular fluid dynamics: Here, we focus on understanding blood flow (hemodynamics) under healthy and pathological conditions to understand, detect, diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. We work closely with clinicians, thereby ensuring that our research is always patient-focused. We use a combination of tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of blood flow, virtual surgery and optimization, reduced order modeling of the cardiovascular system, predictive modeling, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and bench top analysis of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular flows.

Cardiovascular physiology: Signaling systems that regulate cardiac rhythm and blood flow to increase understanding and treatment of diseases such as sudden cardiac arrest, diabetes mellitus and erectile dysfunction.

Chemistry: Research areas include bioorganic chemistry, chemical education, chemical neuroscience, electroanalytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, green chemistry, homogeneous catalysis, Ion-Mobility-mass spectrometry, molecular modeling, nanomaterials, natural products, organometallic chemistry, performance-enhancing drugs/anti-doping, pharmaceutical chemistry, photochemical processes, physical organic chemistry, plasmonics, polymer chemistry, sensor science, surface imaging, synthetic organic chemistry, and synthetic organic chemistry. 

Computer-aided modeling, processing and control: Research is ongoing in the area of adaptive control for both single-loop and multivariable applications. Other topics of research interest include using neural networks in areas of model development in which traditional models are constrained, and process design and simulation of renewable energy conversion systems.

Environmental engineering: Projects include the removal of trace organic contaminants from water using reverse osmosis and the design of systems for controlling contaminants in spacecraft atmospheres. Other projects focus on the development of renewable resources, especially alternative sources of energy.

Lasers for cancer detection and therapy: Research is ongoing to develop an ultra-short pulse laser-based system for early cancer detection and therapy. This technique is non-invasive, fast and safe compared to existing imaging and treatment modalities.

Materials synthesis, characterization and failure prevention: Includes self-assembly or aggregation of nanomaterials and combined cyclic fatigue and cryogenic embrittlement under controlled atmospheres.

Medical imaging: Current projects involve the application of advanced signal and image processing to enhance medical imagery. A method has been developed that reduces noise from computed tomography (CT) induced when the x-ray dose is decreased, allowing CT scans to be safer for patients. A similar approach has been used for nuclear medicine imagery.

Medical materials and photonics: Biomedical engineering faculty and international collaborators have initiated an innovative center for medical materials and photonics that provides world-leading programs in third-generation bioactive materials including bioactive materials for regenerative medicine, load-bearing orthopedic and dental devices, intelligent wound care systems and materials for sports medicine repair and reconstruction; and medical photonics including laser and bio-Raman-based cancer detection and therapeutics, human cell-based screening for toxicology, pharmaceutical and biomaterials screening, and patient-specific diagnosis and therapy analyses. The center provides education and research opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctorate levels.

Molecular biology and biochemistry: DNA replication, gene regulation, novel anti-cancer therapies, Alzheimer’s Disease, cellular responses to environmental stress, protein folding and aggregation, and assembly of macromolecular complexes.

Molecular genetics: DNA replication, gene regulation.

Molecular medicine: Novel anti-cancer therapies, Alzheimer’s disease, cellular and molecular responses to environmental stress.

Neural engineering: Research is focused on the application of stimulators to the central and peripheral nervous system to restore neurological function following stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or intractable pain.

Orthopedic biomechanics: Current research is focused on developing novel modeling methods of viscoelasticity in biological structures such as bone and cartilage. This project will aid in the understanding of post-surgery stress distribution in the repaired clavicle, aimed at reducing fracture re-occurrence.

Protein structure and function: Protein folding and aggregation and assembly of macromolecular complexes.

Synthetic biology: Biotechnology development, genetic engineering, reverse genetics and protein engineering.

Transport and separation processes: Current projects include the development of computer simulation algorithms for estimating transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance parameters of porous, composite and biological media including fuel cell gas diffusion media. Other recent projects have investigated membrane separation of gases, extraction of lipids from microalgae, the use of supercritical fluids for extraction of citrus oils, and modeling transport and reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.

Vascular tissue engineering: The focus of this research is elucidating how cells interact with their microenvironment, such as topography and scaffold composition, and using this knowledge to develop strategies to produce tissue-engineered grafts. The goal is to overcome the current challenges in producing a viable replacement for occluded coronary or peripheral arteries. An additional important application is the promotion of functional microvasculature within engineered constructs. The research will involve several of the steps required for producing a clinical product, including scaffold fabrication, cell culture analysis, and the initial steps of translation. In addition, drug delivery principles are incorporated to improve construct remodeling and integration with the body. 


    Bachelor of ScienceNondegreeMaster of ScienceDoctor of Philosophy

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