Research in Biomedical Engineering
Since its inception, biomedical engineering research at USC has been directed to the study of the function and structure of living systems, as well as the application of engineering science to problems in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
USC Biomedical Engineering Department Labs
The Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory at USC focuses on developing novel micro- and nanotechnologies for biomedical applications. In particular, we are interested in the integration of multiple modalities (e.g. electrical, mechanical and chemical) in miniaturized devices measuring no more than a few millimeters for use in fundamental scientific research, biomedical diagnostics and therapy.
PI: Ellis Meng - Shelly and Ofer Nemirovsky Chair in Convergent Bioscience and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Visit the BML website.
The BMSR is dedicated to the advancement of the state-of-the-art in biomedical systems modeling and simulation through Core and Collaborative Research projects, as well as the dissemination of this knowledge and related software through Service, Training and Dissemination activities.
Co-Directors: David Z D'Argenio - Chonette Chair in Biomedical Technology and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Vasilis Marmarelis - Dean's Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Visit the BMSR website.
The BBDL is dedicated to understanding the biomechanics, neuromuscular control and clinical rehabilitation of human mobility, with an emphasis on dexterous hand function. Towards this end, we employ a synergy of experimental and theoretical techniques.
Our diverse experimental arsenal ranges from EMG recording and custom-made virtual reality modules, detailed characterization of multifinger structure and function, to mapping the function of the human brain with fMRI. These procedures in turn inform theoretical work to characterize complex sensorimotor function through rigorous and anatomically faithful mathematical models. While ultimately seeking improved clinical diagnosis and treatment procedures, we emphasize the scientific investigation of the neuromuscular biomechanics of the hand in general, and actively promote the use of this knowledge to improve the design and control of prosthetic and robotic systems.
PI: Francisco Valero-Cuevas - Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy.
The primary goal of the research carried out in this lab is to better understand the mechanisms that underlie complex cardiorespiratory contdynamics during sleep, using a combination of noninvasive instrumentation and computational modeling. In particular, several of our research projects currently focus on the effects of sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea on cardiovascular function. Newer projects include the investigation of the links between metabolic and autonomic control in obese patients with sleep apnea, as well as the development of noninvasive methods to predict vaso-occlusive crises in sickle-cell anemia.
PI: Michael C.K. Khoo - Dean's Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Pediatrics.
Visit the CRSL website.
Under the directorship of Professor Theodore W. Berger, the Center for Neural Engineering (CNE) consists of six core departments: biological sciences, biomedical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, molecular pharmacology and toxicology, and psychology. The mission of the Center for Neural Engineering is to facilitate the development of research, training, and technology transfer programs through mechanisms that support the exchange of intellectual and technical expertise between the engineering, neuroscience and medical faculty at USC.
PI: Theodore W. Berger - David Packard Chair in Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
For more information on our faculty and research, please visit the CNE website.
The Chung research group focuses on molecular design, nanomedicine and tissue engineering to generate biomaterial strategies to address the limitations of clinical solutions. In particular, we are interested in self-assembling micelle systems that can be designed to deliver molecular signals to report back on or influence the behavior of diseased tissue for theranostic applications. In addition, we are harnessing our expertise in combining biomimetic scaffolds with novel stem cell sources for complex regeneration of hierarchically-ordered tissues and organs. Our group is highly interdisciplinary as our research is positioned at the intersection of engineering, biology and medicine, and we work with a variety of collaborators to translate our materials towards clinical use.
PI: Eun Ji Chung - Dr. Karl Jacob Jr. and Karl Jacob III Early-Career Chair and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and Medicine.
Visit the Chung Lab site.
The Computational Systems Biology Laboratory (CSBL) applies mathematical modeling and systems biology approaches to develop molecular-detailed mathematical models of biological systems. The main projects in the CSBL are focused on applying computational modeling to study angiogenesis, metabolism, and immunotherapy.
Visit the CSBL site.
Our research focuses on developing engineered tools for improving healthcare and patient outcomes. We are motivated to develop affordable point-of-care diagnostics to make healthcare accessible to all, and to develop new bioanalytical tools to help unravel the pathophysiology of diseases.
The group has four project areas:
- Development of affordable point-of-care diagnostics to make healthcare accessible to all
- Development of wearable devices and textile-based sensors for detection of markers in sweat
- Use of fluorous compounds as novel materials for designing sensors with improved selectivity and response time
- Designing neural probes for in vivo measurement of acetylcholine dynamics in the brain (important in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases)
PI: Maral Mousavi - Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
The vision of our laboratory is to create biologically inspired in vitro platforms, to capture the scale of cell signaling in tissue microenvironments from subcellular to tissue levels, and discover novel therapeutics for human diseases. Our integrative approaches include micro-/nano-technologies, biomaterials, biomechanics, cell/tissue engineering, single-cell technologies, and imaging techniques. Our research projects have strong underpinnings of human physiology and pathology, systems biology, and in vivo models.
The current research directions are in developing integrated techniques for subcellular biosensing and modulation of T cell activation, and creating microfabricated models of cancer microenvironments. The functional goal of our research is to translate the knowledge gained into applications for immune and cancer therapeutics, cancer biomarker/drug development, and regenerative medicine.
PI: Keyue Shen - Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Visit the Shen Lab site.
To find cures for human diseases, we need reliable model systems that can be used to understand how diseases progress and to test drugs. However, existing model systems, such as rodents and conventional cell culture, have limited relevance because they fall short in recapitulating critical features of native human tissues. To address this need, we engineer micro-scale mimics of native human tissues that provide meaningful physiological outputs and are scalable for downstream applications. We focus primarily on cardiac and skeletal muscle.
To fabricate these platforms, we focus on advancing and integrating three core technologies:
- Establishing renewable sources of differentiated human cells.
- Engineering biomimetic cellular microenvironments.
- Developing tools to quantify the function of engineered tissues.
We combine these technologies towards three primary applications:
- Establishing fundamental insight into human tissue structure-function relationships.
- Elucidating cellular mechanisms of human diseases.
PI: Megan McCain - Chonette Early Career Chair and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Visit the LLSE site.
Welcome to the Magnetic Resonance Engineering Lab at USC
This website contains information about research projects and technical courses at MREL, and introduces our group's faculty, staff, and students.
The Magnetic Resonance Engineering Laboratory (MREL) is dedicated to advancing state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging using magnetic resonance. We develop imaging methods and algorithms that target specific clinical and research applications, and develop methods that may avail entirely new applications.
Our current research includes:
High-Field Cardiac MRI
Novel MRI Pulse Sequence Design
Image Reconstruction and Image Artifact Correction
Rapid / Real-Time Imaging
Our current projects relate to:
Heart Disease (coronary, valvular)
Atherosclerosis (plaque imaging, hemodynamics)
Obesity (quantification of fat distribution)
Vocal Tract Shaping (speech production, linguistics)
Sleep Apnea (airway collapse)
We have been funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, American Heart Association, Clinical Translational Science Institute, and Zumberge Research Fund. We receive research support from GE Healthcare.
Laboratory Director: Krishna S. Nayak - Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
The Medical Device Development Facility was started by Dr. Gerald Loeb when he moved to USC in 1999. It has been the home to a wide range of projects that involve feasibility studies, design, development and clinical testing of medical devices. Most of these projects are in the general field of neural engineering and many are related to sensorimotor function. The MDDF has pioneered BIONs (injectable neuromuscular stimulators and sensors) for paralyzed limbs, tactile sensors for mechatronic prostheses, and computer modeling software such as MSMS MusculoSkeletal Modeling Software and Virtual Muscle to develop and test command and control algorithms. The MDDF serves as a living laboratory for advancement and teaching of all aspects of medical device development, including design controls, quality systems, regulatory compliance and technology transfer to industry.
PI: Gerald Loeb - Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurology.
Visit the MDDF site.
The Neural Modeling and Interface Lab develops brain-like devices that can mimic and restore cognitive functions.
To pursue this goal, the lab uses a combined experimental and computational strategy to (1) understand how nervous systems such as the hippocampus perform higher-order cognitive functions, (2) develop next-generation modeling and neural interface methodologies to investigate brain functions during naturalistic behaviors, and (3) build cortical prostheses that can restore cognitive functions lost in diseases or injuries.
PI: Dong Song - Research Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Visit the Neural Modeling and Interface Lab site.
Our projects vary greatly and entertain questions ranging from embryonic development, to genetics, to neuroscience. In each of the TIC's varied research focuses, there is a common theme: the use of advanced imaging tools to follow events as they take place inside an intact organism.
Our technologies have allowed us to expand into the biomedical realm, where we are spearheading key projects and giving rise to important biomedical devices and treatments - in areas ranging from eye disease to cancer. As we expand our knowledge and expertise, our center is actively bridging the gap between basic science research and science-based medicine.
PI: Scott Fraser - Provost Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Physiology and Biophysics, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Pediatrics, Radiology, and Ophthalmology.
Visit the TIC site.
The Ultrasonic Transducer Resource Center (UTRC), directed by K. Kirk Shung, professor of biomedical engineering, is the nation's only resource center for the development of ultrasonic transducer/array technology for medical diagnostic procedures.
Ultrasonic research at USC is focused in two areas:
- Developing ultrasonic transducers/arrays in the very high frequency range, beyond 30 MHz, which will be used in opthalmology, dermatology, and vascular surgery.
- Use of new and more efficient materials for these devices to produce clinical images with finer detail than is now possible.
The Zavaleta lab focuses on the development, assessment and clinical translation of new diagnostic strategies that include functional imaging capabilities to help clinicians detect cancers with better sensitivity and specificity.
These tools are directed at:
- Improving early cancer detection during routine screening techniques and
- Helping surgeons identify and resect tumor margins with better sensitivity and specificity.
PI: Cristina Zavaleta - WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Please visit the Zavaleta lab website for more information.
Related USC Sites
The Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California (AMI-USC) is a non-profit corporation engaged in biomedical research and development. The Institute began with the vision of Mr. Alfred E. Mann, Chairman and CEO of MiniMed, Chairman and Founder of several other companies, and prominent entrepreneur in the field of biomedical technology, to establish a university-affiliated organization devoted to research, development, and commercialization of new biomedical technologies to improve human health and well-being.
Visit the AMI-USC website.