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Research Spotlight:

Susan Margulies

Translational Research:
From Bench to Bedside and Back Again in Pediatric Brain Injury

Susan Margulies and her colleagues used to study a brain or lung injury in vivo in the lab and only record what happened.  If an animal stopped breathing, they observed.  If its blood pressure fell, they waited.  But clinicians who are integral members of Margulies’s research teams have changed all that. Learn more...

Bioengineering Research Areas

Research within the Department of Bioengineering transcends many disciplines and includes faculty and resources that span the entire University including the medical and veterinary schools, the School of Arts and Sciences, and colleagues in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.  Projects involve observing and manipulating living systems over many length scales, from the small (molecular) to the large (physiome), and are aimed at creating new knowledge and technology to better understand fundamental biological processes and improve clinical practice and patient care.  Much of the research capitalizes on our unique ties with clinicians, enabling the translation from bench to bedside.  Bioengineering research at Penn falls broadly into 16 main categories.  The Bioengineering Graduate Group faculty members involved in each research area are listed with each description below.

Molecular Engineering

Molecular engineering involves manipulating genes, RNA, proteins, enzymes and small molecules to better understand their structure-function relationship, introduce new functionality, improve function and/or impair function. Applications include designing better therapies; manipulating the operation of molecular networks and consequently cellular behavior, generating molecular devices for use in synthetic biology, and developing new molecular imaging agents that can be used to report cell processes.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Charles R. Bridges, MD, ScD
David M. Chenoweth, PhD
Lewis Chodosh, MD, PhD
Brian Chow, PhD
John Crocker, PhD
William F. Degrado, PhD
Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, DSc
David Issadore, PhD
Wenquin Luo, MD, PhD
John Isaac Murray, PhD
Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, PhD
Daniel Rader, MD
Ravi Radhakrishnan, PhD
Arjun Raj, PhD
Harvey Rubin, MD, PhD
H. Lee Sweeney, PhD
Andrew Tsourkas, PhD

Cellular Engineering

Cell EngineeringCellular  engineering involves applying the principles and methods of the physical and biological sciences to study and manipulate cellular systems. Research directions within cellular engineering include cell mechanics, mechanotransduction, cell-cell interactions, cell-matrix interactions, and cell differentiation.  Faculty are also working to engineer cells with enhanced metabolic function (e.g., liver), using cells as a vehicle for cell-based gene delivery, stimulating and/or differentiating cells to better recognize and fight disease, and many additional applications where cells are being harnessed to treat disease.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Richard Assoian, PhD
Mortimor M. Civan, MD
John Crocker, PhD
William F. Degrado, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Yale E. Goldman, MD, PhD
Mark Goulian, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, DSc
Dongeun (Dan) Huh, PhD
David Issadore, PhD
Paul A. Janmey, PhD
Matthew Lazzara, PhD
Wenquin Luo, MD, PhD
Kenneth B. Margulies, MD
David F. Meaney, PhD
John Isaac Murray, PhD
Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, PhD
Daniel Rader, MD
Ravi Radhakrishnan, PhD
Phong Tran, PhD
Rebecca Wells, MD
Rong Zhou, PhD

Tissue Engineering

Tissue EngineeringTissue engineering refers to the engineering of synthetic and/or biological samples for use as tissue implants, to support tissue growth, or as platforms for therapeutic applications. Tissue engineering has resulted in both clinically used and experimental therapies for structural tissue repair (e.g., skin, bone, cartilage, tendon, muscle, and blood vessel) and replacement. Tissue engineering constructs have also been used to deliver drugs and/or provide a platform for cell-based therapies.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Jason Burdick, PhD
Paul Ducheyne, PhD
Robert C. Gorman, MD
Kurt Hankenson, DVM, PhD
Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, DSc
Dongeun (Dan) Huh, PhD
Kenneth B. Margulies, MD
Robert Mauck, PhD
Lachlan J. Smith, PhD
Louis J. Soslowsky, PhD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD
Rebecca Wells, MD

Bioengineered Therapeutics, Devices and Drug Delivery

Drug and Gene DeliveryThe development of drug and gene delivery systems involves the synthesis of novel materials, the preparation of micro- and nanoplatforms, innovations in targeting, controllable drug release, and biodegradation and the mathematical modeling of these systems.  Applications associated with drug and gene delivery systems include controlling stem-cell differentiation, treating disease, modulating organ function, and/or controlling the immune system.  Optimization of drug delivery systems can involve mathematical modeling of nanoparticle targeting, modeling normal and diseased human tissue microenvironment, and studying drug uptake and processing.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Daniel Bogen, MD, PhD
Jason Burdick, PhD
Alejandro Carabe-Fernandez, PhD
David M. Chenoweth, PhD
Lewis Chodosh, MD, PhD
Michael Chorny, PhD
Brian Chow, PhD
Artur Cideciyan, PhD
David P. Cormode, PhD
William F. Degrado, PhD
Scott Diamond, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Paul Ducheyne, PhD
Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
David M. Eckmann, MD, PhD
Victor Ferrari, MD
Mark A. Fogel, MD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, DSc
Dongeun (Dan) Huh, PhD
Paul A. Janmey, PhD
Katherine Kuchenbecker, PhD
Daeyeon Lee, PhD
Robert J. Levy, MD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Vladimir Muzykantov, MD, PhD
Warren Pear, MD, PhD
Daniel Rader, MD
Arjun Raj, PhD
Harvey Rubin, MD, PhD
Steven Siegel, MD, PhD
Lachlan J. Smith, PhD
H. Lee Sweeney, PhD
Andrew Tsourkas, PhD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD
Rong Zhou, PhD

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Cell and Tissue Mechanics

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Cell and Tissue MechanicsCardiovascular and pulmonary cell and tissue mechanics include how endothelial, epithelial, and myocardial cells interact with their environment, and use this knowledge to control cell function and understand disease.  Specific areas of interest include understanding the relationship between mechanical forces and biochemical signaling and the role of gene transcription factors in lung and heart development and disease, myocardial remodeling, utilizing cardiopulmonary bypass to optimize gene delivery, and designing microfluidic devices to study the flux of pro-coagulant molecules to investigate the stability of thrombi.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Richard Assoian, PhD
Charles R. Bridges, MD, ScD
Peter F. Davies, PhD
Scott Diamond, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Victor Ferrari, MD
Mark A. Fogel, MD
James C. Gee, PhD
Robert C. Gorman, MD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Paul A. Janmey, PhD
Peter Loyd Jones, PhD
Robert J. Levy, MD
Edward J. Macarak, PhD
Kenneth B. Margulies, MD
Susan S. Margulies, PhD
Daniel Rader, MD
Chandra Sehgal, PhD
H. Lee Sweeney, PhD

Orthopaedic Bioengineering

Orthopaedic BioengineeringOrthopaedic Bioengineering employs biomechanics, biomaterials, and cell and tissue engineering to the study of injury, degeneration, repair, and regeneration of orthopaedic tissues such as bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and intervertebral discs. At the University of Pennsylvania, our program encompasses all levels of orthopaedic research from joints, to tissues, to cells and molecules.

 

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Kristy Arbogast, PhD
Jason Burdick, PhD
Paul Ducheyne, PhD
James C. Gee, PhD
Kurt Hankenson, DVM, PhD
Tejvir S. Khurana, MD, PhD
Xiaowei Sherry Liu, PhD
Robert Mauck, PhD
Ravinder Reddy, PhD
Lachlan J. Smith, PhD
Hee Kwon Song, PhD
Louis J. Soslowsky, PhD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD
Felix W. Wehrli, PhD
Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD

Injury Biomechanics

Injury BiomechanicsInjury Biomechanics is the study of how cells and tissues respond when exposed to mechanical forces, with a focus on the complex relationships between early and long-term changes in structure and function. With this knowledge, new intervention strategies are being developed to improve cell and tissue recovery from injury. In addition, the investigators measure tissue mechanical properties and injury thresholds, and develop computational models to generalize the cell and tissue results to a macroscopic level and determine injury mechanisms.  These studies parallel clinical investigations regarding the treatment and detection of traumatic injury. Applications of current work are in the areas of traumatic brain and spine injury in adults and children, and ventilator-induced lung injury.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Kristy Arbogast, PhD
Richard Assoian, PhD
Akiva Cohen, PhD
D. Kacy Cullen, PhD
M. Sean Grady, MD
Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, PhD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Susan S. Margulies, PhD
David F. Meaney, PhD
Douglas H. Smith, MD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD
Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD

Cell Mechanics

The field of cell mechanics, a subset of cellular engineering, seeks to understand how cells interact mechanically with their environment and to use this knowledge to control cell function and understand disease and repair processes. Faculty research spans molecular and cell biophysics and polymer engineering, the regulation of angiogenesis and stem cell biology, the stress response in medical and psychiatric disorders, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of traumatic brain injury, and the mechanical factors in liver fibrosis.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Richard Assoian, PhD
Sheryl Beck, PhD
Akiva Cohen, PhD
John Crocker, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Yale E. Goldman, MD, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Paul A. Janmey, PhD
Kenneth B. Margulies, MD
David F. Meaney, PhD
Phong Tran, PhD
Rebecca Wells, MD

Biomaterials

BiomaterialsBiomaterials are being developed that are biocompatible, degradable, support tissue formation, encourage/discourage cell attachment, growth, and differentiation, provide platforms for the controlled release of growth factors, cytokines, drugs or antibiotics, and promote the formation of extracellular matrix.  Further, a wide range of processing techniques are used and/or developed to fabricate scaffolds and particles with the desired nano-,  micro-, and macroscopic structures.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Danielle Bassett, PhD
Dawn Bonnell, PhD
Jason Burdick, PhD
David M. Chenoweth, PhD
Michael Chorny, PhD
Russell J. Composto, PhD
David P. Cormode, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Paul Ducheyne, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Daeyeon Lee, PhD
Robert J. Levy, MD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Robert Mauck, PhD
Vladimir Muzykantov, MD, PhD
Andrew Tsourkas, PhD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD

Systems and Synthetic Bioengineering

Systems and Synthetic BioengineeringThe new field of systems and synthetic bioengineering focuses on understanding how molecular and cellular processes interact to produce function at the cellular and organism level.  This understanding is used to engineer cells to perform specific functions and to develop new synthetic diagnostic methods and therapeutics to treat diseases from cancer to diabetes.  Using both experimental and computational methods, applications include neuroscience, cell signaling, protein engineering, and developmental biology.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Danielle Bassett, PhD
Brian Chow, PhD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
John Isaac Murray, PhD
Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, PhD
Arjun Raj, PhD
Robert G. Smith, PhD

Computational Neuroengineering

Computational NeuroscienceComputational Neuroengineering is the study of neural function through the use of computer simulation, hardware-based modeling, and mathematical analysis, in concert with physiological and psychophysical experiments. The goal is to use engineering analysis to uncover the principles of neural function in health, disease, and degeneration.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Danielle Bassett, PhD
David Brainard, PhD
Gershon Buchsbaum, PhD
Yale Cohen, PhD
Douglas Coulter, PhD
Steven J. Eliades MD, PhD
Christopher Fang-Yen, PhD
James C. Gee, PhD
Maria Geffen, PhD
Michael Kahana, PhD
Brian Litt, MD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Javier Medina, PhD
Timothy Roberts, PhD
Robert G. Smith, PhD
Alan A. Stocker, PhD

Experimental Neuroengineering

Experimental NeuroscienceExperimental neuroscience investigates fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie traumatic brain and neck injuries, epilepsy, neurodegeneration, and stroke; and the role of injury mechanics in the physiology of pain.  Bioengineering applications include designing neuronal networks encoding of peripheral sensor input, implantable neurodevices, optical imaging of blood flow and oxygen, and computational tools to track and modulate brain function.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Danielle Bassett, PhD
Gordon Baltuch, MD, PhD
Sheryl Beck, PhD
Brian Chow, PhD
Akiva Cohen, PhD
Yale Cohen, PhD
Diego Contreras, MD, PhD
Douglas Coulter, PhD
D. Kacy Cullen, PhD
Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
James Eberwine, PhD
Steven J. Eliades MD, PhD
Nader Engheta, PhD
Christopher Fang-Yen, PhD
Maria Geffen, PhD
Yale E. Goldman, MD, PhD
M. Sean Grady, MD
Joel H. Greenberg, PhD
Paul A. Janmey, PhD
Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, PhD
Brian Litt, MD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Susan S. Margulies, PhD
David F. Meaney, PhD
Javier Medina, PhD
Virginia M. Richards, PhD
Steven Siegel, MD, PhD
Douglas H. Smith, MD
Alan A. Stocker, PhD
Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD

Medical Imaging and Imaging Instrumentation

Medical Imaging and Imaging InstrumentationResearch in Biomedical Imaging focuses on the development of new methodology for image acquisition and processing, with the goal of establishing new procedures for clinical diagnosis and therapy response monitoring. The core technologies comprise magnetic resonance (MR), computed tomography (CT), X-ray imaging, nuclear medicine imaging, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), optical imaging, and ultrasound.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Danielle Bassett, PhD
Peter Bloch, PhD
Ari Borthakur, PhD
Artur Cideciyan, PhD
David P. Cormode, PhD
Christos Davatzikos, PhD
E. Jim Delikatny, PhD
Larry Dougherty, PhD
Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
Christopher Fang-Yen, PhD
Victor Ferrari, MD
Mark A. Fogel, MD
James C. Gee, PhD
Jerry Glickson, PhD
Murray Grossman, MD, EdD
Despina Kontos, PhD
Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD
Jongho Lee, PhD
Robert M. Lewitt, PhD
Xiaowei Sherry Liu, PhD
Timothy H. Lucas, MD, PhD
Andrew Maidment, PhD
Kilian Pohl, PhD
Ravinder Reddy, PhD
Rahim Rizi, PhD
Timothy Roberts, PhD
Mitch Schnall, MD, PhD
Chandra Sehgal, PhD
Hee Kwon Song, PhD
Jayaram K. Udupa, PhD
Felix W. Wehrli, PhD
Arjun Yodh, PhD

Imaging Theory and Analysis

Imaging Theory and AnalysisThe development of computer-based imaging theory and analysis methods has given rise to applications in a wide variety of clinical research studies, including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, cardiac diseases, brain cancer, and bone diseases.  Methodologies that are being developed include image registration, segmentation, population-based statistical analysis, biophysical modeling of anatomical deformation, nano- and micro-structural tissue organization, high-dimensional pattern classification, mophometry, and diffusion tensor image processing.  Other novel approaches include pulse sequence development to exploit quadrupolar spin-dynamics, polarization transfer, multiple quantum coherences, and indirect detection and spin locking for studying molecular dynamics in biological tissues in vivo to impart novel contrast in various tissue types.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Vijay Balasubramanian, PhD
Danielle Bassett, PhD
Ari Borthakur, PhD
Artur Cideciyan, PhD
Christos Davatzikos, PhD
E. Jim Delikatny, PhD
Larry Dougherty, PhD
Nader Engheta, PhD
Charles Epstein, PhD
Victor Ferrari, MD
James C. Gee, PhD
Despina Kontos, PhD
Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD
Jongho Lee, PhD
Robert M. Lewitt, PhD
Xiaowei Sherry Liu, PhD
Andrew Maidment, PhD
Vadim Markel, PhD
John Isaac Murray, PhD
Kilian Pohl, PhD
Ravinder Reddy, PhD
Timothy Roberts, PhD
Mitch Schnall, MD, PhD
Chandra Sehgal, PhD
Hee Kwon Song, PhD
Jayaram K. Udupa, PhD
Lyle H. Ungar, PhD
Ragini Verma, PhD
Arjun Yodh, PhD
Paul Yushkevich, PhD
Timothy Zhu, PhD

Cellular and Molecular Imaging

Cellular and Molecular ImagingMolecular imaging sets forth to probe the molecular abnormalities of disease rather than image the end effects of these molecular alterations.  Topics of research being pursued include the development of contrast agents, the preparation of biodegradable micro- and nanoplatforms, bioconjugate techniques, and the development of new targeting strategies.  Cellular imaging involves the non-invasive tracking of cells populations in living subjects.  These techniques are being developed and employed to monitor cell-based therapies, to monitor the cellullar immune response following mechanical insults, infection, or disease, and to track the efficacy of various therapeutics.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Sheryl Beck, PhD
Alejandro Carabe-Fernandez, PhD
David M. Chenoweth, PhD
Akiva Cohen, PhD
David P. Cormode, PhD
Douglas Coulter, PhD
E. Jim Delikatny, PhD
Joshua Dunaief, MD, PhD
Victor Ferrari, MD
Jerry Glickson, PhD
Mark Goulian, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
David Issadore, PhD
Peter Loyd Jones, PhD
Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, PhD
Edward J. Macarak, PhD
John Isaac Murray, PhD
Arjun Raj, PhD
Phong Tran, PhD
Andrew Tsourkas, PhD
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD
Rong Zhou, PhD

Theoretical and Computational Bioengineering

Theoretical and Computational BioengineeringTheoretical and Computational Bioengineering aims to employ concepts from applied mathematics, physics, and chemistry, infrastructure from computer science and broad-based principles from engineering to gain insight into complex biological systems.  Projects involve the study of biological systems across the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue and system scales. Hence the field of theoretical and computational bioengineering is inherently interdisciplinary and very diverse in its scope.

Affiliated Graduate Group Faculty:

Norman Badler, PhD
Danielle Bassett, PhD
David Brainard, PhD
Alejandro Carabe-Fernandez, PhD
Christos Davatzikos, PhD
Scott Diamond, PhD
Dennis E. Discher, PhD
Nader Engheta, PhD
Charles Epstein, PhD
Kenneth R. Foster, PhD
James C. Gee, PhD
Maria Geffen, PhD
Robert C. Gorman, MD
Mark Goulian, PhD
Daniel A. Hammer, PhD
Despina Kontos, PhD
Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhD
Daniel Lee, PhD
Javier Medina, PhD
Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, PhD
Ravi Radhakrishnan, PhD
Arjun Raj, PhD
Timothy Roberts, PhD
David Roos, PhD
Robert G. Smith, PhD
Alan A. Stocker, PhD
Christian Stoeckert, PhD
Jayaram K. Udupa, PhD
Lyle H. Ungar, PhD
Paul Yushkevich, PhD