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Biomedical EngineeringResearch and Facilities

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Affiliated Research Labs, Institutes, and Centers


Applied Research Center

Director: Hani Elsayed-Ali

Old Dominion University's Applied Research Center consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers working on scientific and technological problems in the areas of thin films, laser and plasma applications, materials technology, and the emerging fields of nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, sensor science and technology, and MEMS. Projects at the Center are sponsored by federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and various industries and national labs.

Applied Research Center website


Biomechanics Laboratory

Directors: Stacie Ringleb and Sebastion Bawab

The focus of the Biomedical Laboratories is comprised of two dry lab areas sharing a common wet lab for cadaveric clinical research. The total area of the labs is approximately 2,070 square feet. (ESB2104) is currently equipped with eight desks, computer workstations, and displays. It will also be equipped with a Geomagic Phantom haptic device and a large screen 3D display for haptic rendering and visualization. ESB2106 has a biomechanical application where the research is mostly focused on musculoskeletal research ranging from knee, hind foot, and shoulder. The lab is equipped with 4 computers, 6 infrared high speed cameras, Motion Monitor System, Pliance Kinetic Joint Measurement, and various apparatuses that support the biomechanical research.

Biomechanics Laboratory website


Biomachina Laboratory

Director: Willy Wriggers

The lab is currently equipped with eight desks, computer workstations, and displays. It will also be equipped with a Geomagic Phantom haptic device and a large screen 3D display for haptic rendering and visualization. The facilities have electrical power, gas, and wet lab capabilities, as well as locked storage space and overhead service trays to provide a larger work area. The group also takes advantage of ODU's shared high performance computing facilities (Turing cluster).

Biomachina Laboratory website


Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory

Director: Christian Zemlin

The Cardiac Electrophysiology lab is equipped to perform experiments that image the electrical activity of an isolated, live heart. It also contains computers and software to evaluate experimental data and to perform simulations of cardiac electric activity. In particular, the lab is equipped with a fast, ultrasensitive CCD camera, a computer-controlled life-support system for mammalian hearts that creates an environment in which the hearts can survive for many hours, lasers for fluorescence imaging, a wetlab, a GPU/CPU workstation with 24 CPU cores and 450 GPU cores, 5 personal computers, standard Windows and Linux software as well as custom-written software for experimental data acquisition and evaluation.

Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory website


Cell Physiology & Biophysics Lab

Director: Andrei Pakhomov

The research is focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms of biological effects of nanosecond-duration electric pulses (nsEP), which include excitation in nerve fibers, nerve and cardiac cells; Ca2+ mobilization in excitable and non-excitable cells; opening of stable nanopores in the cell membrane and internal cell structures; modulation of ion channel activities; alterations of cell metabolism and function; activation of membrane repair; and initiation of diverse cell death pathways. These effects are analyzed by live cell microscopy (broad field, confocal fluorescence, and total internal reflection fluorescence techniques), single-cell electrophysiology (patch clamp), and a variety of biochemical, molecular biology, and pharmacological approaches. Many research directions highlight the impact of bipolar cancellation, a phenomenon a phenomenon that challenges existing electroporation paradigms and may enable targeted remote biostimulation. These basic research studies have broad relevance to human health topics, with prospective applications in cancer ablation, deep tissue stimulation to treat neurodegenerative disorders, and defibrillation.

Cellular Mechanobiology Laboratory

Director: Venkat Maruthamuthu

We are interested in understanding the fundamental role played by mechanical forces and physical constraints in cell function. In particular, we are interested in how mechanical factors influence, and are influenced by, cell adhesion to their micro-environment. Knowledge of this relationship is essential to understand cell function from survival to differentiation in various physiological contexts. Major equipment: Motorized inverted fluorescence microscope, Mammalian cell culture incubator for culturing cells, Biosafety cabinet (Class II, A2) for cell culture, Liquid nitrogen cryopreservation system for storing frozen cells, UVO cleaner for micropatterning applications, Ultra-low temperature freezer for storing frozen bioreagents. Minor equipment: pH meter, Centrifuge, Weighing scale. Shared equipment: Tuning fork Atomic Force Microscope for micro/nano imaging and mechanical characterization.

Cellular Mechanobiology Laboratory website


Center for Brain Research and Rehabilitation

Director: Steven Morrison

This facility is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment for the measurement of various movement behaviors. Our current infrastructure includes a ten camera VICON motion capture system, four AMTI force platforms and two portable Bertec balance platforms, two platinum 20 ft GAITRite pressure sensitive walking surfaces and an instrumented h/p/Cosmos treadmill fitted with the Zebris pressure measuring system.

Our primary research focus relates to the neurophysiological and biomechanical basis of human movement with particular interest as to the effects of normal aging, disease/disorders and injury on movement performance. This research laboratory is designed for multidisciplinary use by faculty and graduate students in Physical Therapy, Human Movement Sciences (HMS), and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Collaboration with the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and the Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center (VMASC) further allows us to participate in exciting research projects exploring new technology in the assessment of movement and rehabilitation.

Center for Brain Research and Rehabilitation website


Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics

Director: Richard Heller

The mission of the Center is to increase scientific knowledge and understanding of how intense, pulsed electromagnetic fields and cold ionized gases interact with biological systems and to apply this knowledge to the development of medical diagnostics and therapeutics as well as environmental decontamination. Our researchers strive to engage in scholarly research at the forefront of biomedical engineering.

Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics website


Medical Imaging, Diagnosis and Analysis (MIDA) Laboratory

Directors: Jiang Li and Rick Mckenzie

The Medical Imaging, Diagnosis, and Analysis (MIDA) lab at ODU has the technical expertise to address many aspects of medical imaging, modeling, visualization, and analysis. The facility is designed to conduct research and development in medical imaging and scientific visualization. The laboratory is equipped with high resolution digital optical microscopes as well as variety of computing equipment with high performance graphics hardware and software to capture, display, and analyze medical images.


Medical Simulations Laboratory

Directors: Michel Audette and Rick McKenzie

This lab is equipped for medical image analysis, surgical image guidance, surgery simulation, visualization, computational geometry, haptics, and robotics. It contains several haptic devices, including a 7 degree-of-freedom MBP Freedom device; several workstations, several 3D visualization machines, including a zSpace machine with stereo visualization, several 3D-ready monitors, several sets of NVidia glasses, a Micron Tracker for surgical navigation, and two 3D printers. It also has a Cave that is compatible with binocular viewing.


Micro-Devices & Micromechanics Laboratory

Director: Julie Hao

The MicroDevices & Micromechanics Laboratory focuses on developing MEMS-based and micro-devices for various applications, such as gyroscopes and distributed-load detection and analytical and experimental study of micromechanics critical for the ultimate performance of micro-devices.

MEMS Lab website


Microfluids Laboratory

Director: Shizhi Qian

The focus of the Bio-Microfluidics Laboratory is to conduct fundamental and applied research in micro-and nano-scale mass, momentum and energy transport phenomena. The experimental programs, supported by the micro-fabrication and characterization facilities, focus on colloidal microfluidic systems, interfacial interactions in complex fluids using optical and atomic force microscopy techniques, patterning and preparation of thin films using various techniques including self-organization, electrokinetics, and magneto-hydrodynamics; and point-of-care microfluidic devices.


Nanoscale Bioelectrical Physics Laboratory

We concentrate on the effects of very short (nanosecond), intense (megavolt-per-meter) pulsed electric fields on cells and tissues, combining experimental observations with molecular simulations. The focus of our recent work is the delineation and characterization of the biophysical mechanisms that govern electric field-driven, nondestructive perturbations of biological membranes, and comparisons with cellular responses to sublethal chemical (oxidative), metabolic (starvation), and thermal stress.

Plasma Engineering and Medicine Institute (PEMI)

Director: Mounir Laroussi

The Plasma Engineering & Medicine Institute (PEMI) is a research facility focused on conducting fundamental investigations of low temperature plasmas and their applications in biology, medicine and bioengineering. PMI will be a leading national and international research institute that will play an instrumental role in advancing cutting edge biomedical applications of low temperature plasmas. Equipment: High voltage power supplies, High voltage pulse generators, Low voltage power supplies, Lock-in amplifiers, Imaging Spectrometer, Ocean Optics Spectrometer, Spectrum Analyzer, Residual gas analyzer, Wide band oscilloscopes, RF sources, A variety of vacuum chambers for plasma sources, Optical tables, Centrifuge - Table top, Micro centrifuge, Real-Time PCR system, Biosafety Cabinet Hood (BSL2), Two Autoclaves, CO2 Incubator, Small Incubator, Shaking Incubator, Compound Microscope, Microscope, Spectrophotometer, Gel Imager Camera, Ultrapure Water System, Ultra-low temperature freezer, pH Meter, Refrigerator/Freezer, Agarose Gel Electrophoresis, Liquid Nitrogen Storage Tank.

Plasma Engineering and Medicine Institute (PEMI) website


Systems Analysis of Metabolic Physiology and Exercise (SAMPE) Laboratory

Director: Nicola Lai

The research of the group of Systems Analysis of Metabolic Physiology and Exercise (SAMPE) combines mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and in vivo/vitro experimentation to quantify relationships between cellular metabolism and physiological responses of tissue-organ systems and the whole body. The laboratory has three dedicated areas to: a) study physiological and metabolic responses to exercise in rats and mice; b) perform bioenergetic assays and enzyme kinetic activity determinations to evaluate mitochondrial function; c) to design, develop, implement and conduct simulations based on the mathematical models. Computational and experimental approaches are combined to gain quantitative understanding of the extent to which biophysical and biochemical processes affect the regulation of muscle energy metabolism in vivo. A shared common wet lab is equipped to store biological samples and perform experimental procedure within a fume hood.

SAMPE Lab website


Virginia Institute for Imaging and Vision Analysis (VIIVA)

Director: Khan Iftekharuddin

The Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory (Vision Lab) is configured to support the development of advanced techniques for detection, tracking and recognition of objects in complex lighting and environmental conditions. The laboratory is equipped with several desktop computers, data capture devices, display devices, printers, scanner, projector, and state of the art software packages for the development, implementation and testing of algorithms and methodologies. All the computers are equipped with MATLAB, Visual Studio and OpenCV software resources.

Vision Lab website


Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC)

Director: John Sokolowski

VMASC is a university-wide multidisciplinary research center that emphasizes modeling, simulation, and visualization (MS&V) research, development and education. It is one of the world's leading research centers for computer modeling, simulation, and visualization. The mission of the Center is to conduct collaborative MS&V research and development, provide expertise to government agencies and industry, and to promote Old Dominion University, Hampton Roads and Virginia as a center of MS&V activities. Working with more than one hundred industry, government, and academic members, VMASC furthers the development and applications of modeling, simulation and visualization as enterprise decision-making tools to promote economic, business, and academic development.

Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) website


Xu Lab

Director: Nancy Xu

Research lies at the interface of Chemistry, Biology and Engineering. The central theme of our research program is the development and application of cutting-edge bio- and nano- technologies and ultrasensitive analytical methodologies to address fundamental and practical questions in chemical, biochemical and biomedical sciences. In particular, the primary goal of our research program is to study chemical reactions and cellular pathways in single live cells in real-time at the single-molecule level. Equipment includes nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, single nanoparticle imaging, nanoscale analysis, characterization, and separation, single-molecule/single cell microscopy and spectroscopy, and cell culture operation. Other modern clinical facilities including large autoclave facilities, animal research facilities (AAALAC Full Accreditation), walk-in cell culture facilities, for handling clinical samples and wastes at the university, and human tissue banks at nearby Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) are accessible to our research group. The PI's group has 34 computers with instrumentation interfaces, and 14 computers for data analysis and modeling and simulation.

Xu Lab website