Sep 30, 2023  
2023-2024 Florida Tech Catalog 
2023-2024 Florida Tech Catalog

Department of Biomedical Engineering and Science

Linxia Gu, Ph.D., Head


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

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

Associate Professors

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

Mehmet Kaya, Ph.D., physiological state monitoring, brain function analysis, cardiovascular research, biomedical signal processing, biomedical instrumentation, electrophysiology, machine learning and computer modeling for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, ultrasound imaging

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

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

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

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

Pengfei Dong, Ph.D., multiscale mechanical characterization of biomaterials, computational biomechanics, machine learning for biomechanics, orthopedics and orthodontics devices, computer-assisted elastography methods, biomedical devices design

Tristan Fiedler, Ph.D., federal government programs manage, biomedical engineering and science research seminar coordinator, doctoral dissertation seminar coordinator, research security, insider threat program management, research operations security

Peshala T. Gamage, Ph. D, biomedical acoustics, biomedical signal processing, machine learning, bioinstrumentation, physiological measurements, computational modeling, noninvasive patient monitoring strategies

Careesa Liu, Ph.D., noninvasive brain imaging, neurotechnology development and application, signal processing, machine learning, cognition and neuroscience, neuroergonomics, clinical translation, aging, neuropsychiatric disorders

Research Assistant Professor

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

Professors Emeritae

Julia E. Grimwade, Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

David J. Carroll, Ph. D.; Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D.; Michael S. Grace, Ph.D.; Charles E. Helmstetter, Ph.D.; Alan C. Leonard, Ph.D.; Russell C. Weigel, Ph.D.; Gary N. Wells, Ph.D.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (BES) Department is to provide a safe working environment in the pursuit of excellence in education, research and innovation in the fields of biomedical engineering and science. 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 in major laboratories are in the following areas:

Multiscale Cardiovascular Fluids Laboratory, directed by Dr Venkat Keshav Chivukula, focuses on understanding blood flow (hemodynamics) under healthy and pathological conditions to understand, detect, diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. The lab works closely with clinicians, thereby ensuring that research activities are always patient-focused and translational. A combination of tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of blood flow, mathematical modeling, machine learning, virtual surgery and hemodynamic optimization, multiscale hemodynamic analysis, virtual surgery and optimization, predictive modeling, 3D printing, and rapid prototyping were utilized. Current projects include heart failure, left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy, cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics, artificial kidney hemodynamic optimization and pediatric /congenital heart disease.

Orthopedic/Orthodontic Biomechanics Laboratory, directed by Dr. Pengfei Dong, focus on experimental and computational methods for orthopedic/orthodontics biomechanics. We extensively collaborate with different research groups and clinicians for the optimal design of orthodontics devices. Specific diseases and clinical needs are translated into engineering questions. Imaging processing, model reconstruction, computer simulation, and mechanical characterization of biomaterials will be conducted. The computer simulation of tooth movement will be performed for orthodontics biomechanics and the term tooth-device interaction. With facilities in our lab and department, multiscale mechanical characterization of the tooth and bones is conducted for quantifying the pathogenic changes of biomaterials, further leading to precision simulation. Our lab currently has three main projects: (a) optimal design of orthodontics devices for malocclusions, (b) multiscale mechanical characterization of teeth and bones, and (c) computational method for elastography.

Noninvasive Monitoring and Diagnostics (NIMD) Laboratory, directed by Dr. Peshala T. Gamage, is focused on advancing noninvasive techniques for monitoring and diagnosing various diseases, with an emphasis on cardiac conditions. Our laboratory employs physiological signals, such as body sounds, vibrations, ECG, EMG and medical imaging to develop innovative noninvasive bioinstrumentation and patient monitoring strategies. We use state-of-the-art signal processing, image processing, and machine learning algorithms to analyze these signals and convert them into clinically relevant information. We also integrate computational modeling and simulation techniques, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element modeling (FEM), to create models of physiological systems, enhance our comprehension of physiological measurands, and understand pathological changes. Our research aims to provide accessible and accurate diagnoses and monitoring of diseases using noninvasive techniques, ultimately improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

Cardiovascular and Trauma Biomechanics Laboratory, directed by Dr. Linxia Gu, focuses on biophysics simulation and testing with an emphasis on soft tissue mechanics and cellular mechanotransduction. Tools we are using include simulation and imaging processing software package ABAQUS, ANSYS, Digimat, Amira, Mimics, 3D Slicer, and Seg3D. Major equipment in the lab include Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Hysitron TI Premier Dynamic Nanoindenter, CellScale MicroTester, BioTester, ElectroFroce 5500 uniaxial tester, TBI0310 Head Impactor, Trilion ARAMIS testing system, cell damage tester, organ culture, etc. In collaboration with medical professionals and clinicians from CWRU, UCI, UNMC, and USC, ongoing interdisciplinary projects include (1) computer-assisted stenting in heavily calcified coronary arteries, (2) traumatic brain injury and blunt eye trauma, (3) integrated machine-learning methods with finite element method (FEM). Over the past decade, we have established testing platforms for the optimal stenting in heavily calcified artery, and mild traumatic brain injury. The projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DoD), and NASA.

Genetics Laboratory, directed by Dr. Eric Guisbert, is applying genetic and genomic approaches to the study of cellular stress response pathways. These pathways have key roles in normal growth and development, and they are also involved in pathophysiological states including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. This research incorporates several model systems including cultured human cell lines and the genetically tractable nematode, C. elegans

Biomedical Instrumentation, Signals and Computing Lab, directed by Dr. Mehmet Kaya, is focused on computer models of the cardiovascular system for diagnostic and therapeutic applications (hemodilution, myocardial ischemia, atherosclerosis, heart failure etc.); physiological monitoring with biomedical sensors and signals processing (including EEG, ECG, EOG, EMG, GSR, HRV, sudomotor function, blood pressure, blood flow and pulse wave velocity, etc.); machine learning-based applications on prediction of brain trauma injuries from intracranial blood pressure, cuffless-blood pressure monitoring, cellular image segmentation, prediction of cardiovascular diseases from big patient databanks, and cardiac arrhythmias; stress and meditation analysis with EEG, ECG, EMG, and heart rate variability; and ultrasound Imaging.

Fertilization and Early Embryogensis, directed by Dr. Karen Kim Guisbert, focuses on developing a method to visualize this transition, termed the oocyte-to-embryo transition (OET), inside a living organism. C. elegans is optimal for OET analysis as it has an ordered gonad where one, and only one, oocyte becomes mature every 23 minutes. The strict, assembly-line design allows a “slice through time” of the entire OET and early embryogenesis. We use a combination of genetics, genetic engineering, and microscopy to delve into the issues of cell biology (cell-cell communication, cell signaling and regulation of expression) that are required to keep the OET running smoothly. Defects in this process can result in fertility issues and developmental defects in humans.

Neurotechnology and Neural Engineering Laboratory, directed by Dr. Careesa Liu, combines noninvasive brain imaging methods such as electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with advanced analytics and machine learning to study brain function, with the goal of creating novel technologies and digital biomarkers to improve brain function assessment in health and disease. Current projects include examining the neural correlates of information processing following spontaneous blinking (blink-related oscillations); developing imaging-based techniques to advance brain function assessment in a variety of situations ranging from clinical disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) to everyday scenarios (e.g., driving) and complex operational environments (e.g., aircraft cockpits); and creating portable, user-friendly devices for objective brain function monitoring in real life.

Biophotonics, Biotransport, and Biomanufacturing Laboratory, directed by Dr. Kunal Mitra, is working on the 3D bioprinting of vascular tissues with focus on understanding the effects of space radiation and microgravity on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. They are also developing a microfluidic based tissue organoid model for studying aging-related diseases during exposure to various stressors. In addition, they used optical technologies for disease detection and treatment. The lab developed a novel flexible low-power quantum dot LED-based near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system and algorithms to measure regional cerebral oxygen saturation and cerebral blood flow (CBF) for monitoring of traumatic brain injury and cerebrovascular dysfunction in astronauts during long duration flights. Another project focused on the development of an optical tomography system for cancer detection and subsequent ablation of tumors using short-pulse lasers. The propagation of short-pulse lasers through tissues was simulated and characterized for therapeutic applications.

Vascular Biology Lab, directed by Dr. Kenia Nunes, focuses on vascular diseases and their complications by using in-vivo, ex-vivo, and in-vitro models to study diabetes and hypertension. The lab aims to discover new pharmacological targets for treating vascular problems associated with these cardiovascular conditions. The lab uses state-of-art techniques to investigate the blood vessels at macro, micro, and nano levels. The main ongoing research projects are 1) investigating how the innate immune system receptors contribute to vascular problems and 2) How HSP70 mediates vascular mechanisms in diabetes. 

Nanomedicine and Nanobiology Laboratory, directed by Dr. Shaohua Xu, is interested in the role of amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s brain in synapse and neuornal loss and the mechanism of protein self-assembly and formation of amyloid fiber plaques or biogels and how various amyloid protein aggregates affect neuron’s action potential propagation. We apply iWork, AFM, TEM, confocal microscopy, MALDI mass spectrometry, microplate reader for high-throughput screening and traditional biochemical and molecular biology approaches to understand the effect of protein aggregates on the action potential of axons, and, at the molecular level, pathway and the energy driving protein fiber formation. Protein amyloid fiber formation is an early event in dozens of human diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, prion disease, and type 2 diabetes.



    Bachelor of ScienceMaster of ScienceDoctor of Philosophy