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Editorial: The Case for Entrepreneurship in Biomedical Engineering Education (Dr. Mansoor Nasir)

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Entrepreneurship_in_BME

Read it all here: Austin J Biomed Eng. 2014;1(2): 1.

WJR Interview (Dr. Eric Meyer and Dr. Mansoor Nasir)

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Dr. Meyer  Eric Meyer talkes to WJR

Click Here to listen to the WJR Interview: Eric Meyer


Dr. Mansoor Nasir talks about the Biomedical Engineering Senior Projects and the collaboration between Industrial Sponsor (Gorden Maniere – Advanced Amputee Solutions) and the Biomedical Engineering students.

Listen to this WJR interview: Mansoor Nasir

 

 

 

 

 

 

More interviews from Lawrence Tech BME Students featured on WJR:

Click Here:  Lindsay Petku  

Click Here:  Akaram Alsamarae

 

Of Biosensors: Telling Your POCs from LOCs and EIS from EC by Dr. Mansoor Nasir

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Dr. Mansoor Nasir

Dr. Mansoor Nasir

“Medical device” is a catch-all term that can include anything and everything from prosthetics and diagnostic instruments to imaging and therapeutic devices. Sometimes, these are also referred to as “biosensors.” However, the

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term biosensor is more commonly used for specific devices or techniques that can qualitatively and quantitatively detect targets of interest. The targets include pathogens, DNA or some other specific protein, or a molecule. Examples of some of the most widely used medical devices that also qualify as biosensors are pregnancy tests, glucose sensors, and environmental sensors.

Of the aforementioned example, pregnancy tests and glucose sensors also qualify as Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostic devices. POCs are all the rage these days. To many, they espouse images of Tricorders and other instruments that might show up in an episode of Star Trek (Trekkie here) in the hands of Dr. McCoy. However, to a ‘serious’ BME student, they represent medical devices that can do the testing and analyze and present the data onsite were patient is located. This could be under supervision of a medical practitioner but certainly, one of the reasons for the success of pregnancy tests and glucose sensors is their ease of use and easy interpretation of results by layfolk.

In the research community, another term that is commonly used for a type of biosensor is a Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) device (also called Micro Total Analysis System or mTAS). While similar in concept to POCs, LOCs are more sophisticated in their architecture and sensing capabilities. The might include fluidic conduits (sometimes referred to as microfluidics) and a variety of sensing modalities, such as optical, electrical, electrochemical, or acoustic, to

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name a few. Some may also include instrumentation and signal conditioning components. The holy grail in LOCs is a complete platform that can take a raw sample, filter and separate it into constituents, and then selectively identify and/or analyze the target, all on a device no bigger than a credit card.

Figure 1. (Left) First commercially available Glucose Biosensor (YSI 23A)*. (Right) A 3mm-long glucose sensor under development at Lawrence Technological University in Dr. Kandaswamy’s lab. Notice the drive toward miniaturization.

Figure 1. (Left) First commercially available Glucose Biosensor (YSI 23A)*. (Right) A 3mm-long glucose sensor under development at Lawrence Technological University in Dr. Kandaswamy’s lab. Notice the drive toward miniaturization.

LOC devices are attractive in part because they can work with extremely small sample volumes and have very fast detection times. Integrating so many functionalities on a single platform is tremendously challenging and many such devices still require bulky pumps and instrumentation and the end result is almost never the size of a credit card.

This is nowhere truer than in the case of biosensors based on fluorescent tagging. While fluorescent sensors set the bar for high sensitivity for bio/molecular detection, they require bulky measurement setup. Perhaps more importantly, these sensors require the need to label the target with fluorescent molecules. This introduces a host of new issues, such as selectivity and non-specific binding, which can introduce error in measured signal. In many cases, the required reagents are also temperature or light sensitive. The result is that fluorescent biosensors are not cost effective and also not easily miniaturized. Here electrical biosensors have an advantage as they rely solely on the measurement of voltages or currents for detection. The main advantage for studying impedance biosensors is their ability to perform label-free detection. While there are many variations of electrical sensors, the mostly commonly used techniques measure change in impedance or conductivity in the presence of the target. Further information about the target can be elicited if the frequency is also varied while holding the amplitude of the electrical stimulus constant. This technique is called Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS).

Figure 2. The figure shows an example of an impedance-based sensor made by using a micromachined Plexiglas flow channel that interfaces with a glass slide with microfabricated gold electrodes. There are two inlets and one outlet. The flow-rate ratio between sheath (faster) and sample (slower) fluids controls the sensitivity of this sensor.

Figure 2. The figure shows an example of an impedance-based sensor made by using a micromachined Plexiglas flow channel that interfaces with a glass slide with microfabricated gold electrodes. There are two inlets and one outlet. The flow-rate ratio between sheath (faster) and sample (slower) fluids controls the sensitivity of this sensor.

My research interests lie in the area of EIS but combine it with microfluidic sensor technology with the goal of rapid identification of chemical and biological threats. By using microchannels with different architectures as well as changing the flow rates of laminar fluid streams, impedance sensors with tunable sensitivity can be achieved. Working on such projects requires expertise from a multidisciplinary team with expertise in surface modification, microfabrication, and bioinstrumentation. Future research efforts will focus on extending the detection to a multielectrode system for impedance-based imaging systems.

There is considerable potential for incorporating such ideas in classroom teaching. A new BME course (BME4093), offered in Spring 2013, will focus on with various medical device technologies, including commercialized products such as the glucose sensor. EIS research includes elements of circuit design, electrochemical (EC) response of electrodes in electrolytic solutions, as well as bioinstrumentation for signal amplification and filtering. Students in the Bioelectrical Engineering Physics course (BME 4503) offered this semester learned about the theory behind EIS. In short, impedance biosensors have the potential for not only the development of simple, label-free detection of biosensors but can also be valuable tools in teaching students about some fundamental principles of biosensing platforms based on electrical measurements.

 

Quantified-Self (QS) Roadshow – Bucknell Edition

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QS Roadshow 11/6/15Dr. Mansoor Nasir and Dr. Eric Meyer traveled to Bucknell University in beautiful Lewisburg, PA for the second QS Roadshow event on Nov. 6th, 2015. The workshop was attended by 9 faculty members from Lawrence Tech, Western New England (WNE)  and Bucknell Universities. The roadshow is part of a KEEN Topical Network Grant (PI: Dr. Mansoor Nasir) that is being leveraged to disseminate classroom resources for EML and student engagement around the QS theme. LTU is taking the lead in building the network of faculty and is sharing resources at a dedicated website qsl4eml.ltu.edu.

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Dr. Nasir and Dr. Meyer introduced the learning modules focusing on Entrepreneurial Mindset  Learning (EML) from various engineering and science fields to the attending faculty.

 

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The Dean of College of Engineering at Bucknell, Dr. Keith Buffinton, talked about entrepreneurship at Bucknell and the many opportunities available to the students to bring their ideas to fruition. Dr. Michael Rust, an Associate Professor from the Biomedical Engineering program at WNE, presented the EML module that he developed for his Sophomore level Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering course.

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The half-day event also included a fabulous presentation by a guest speaker, Michael Levan, who is the founder of a local startup venture, Novipod. He specifically talked about Organ Tracker which is an organ tracking and monitoring application that delivers high precision GPS location, temperature, light, shock, humidity, and pressure sensors to organ procurement organizations, labs, pharmacies, and hospitals. He also shared his experiences about entrepreneurship and in commercializing a new technology.

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The presentation was attended by 20 BME seniors from Bucknell. During the afternoon, the faculty toured the various maker lab facilities available to the Bucknell students.

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The overall reception of the event was extremely positive and will foster future collaborations between the faculty from these universities.

BME-IDEA Conference

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Dr. Nasir presented a snapshot of entrepreneurship-minded learning modules that have been introduced in various courses in the LTU BME program at the BME-IDEA conference on October 7, 2015. The meeting was held at Tampa Marriot Waterside Hotel in conjunction with 2015 Annual BMES conference.

BME-IDEA was started in 2003 when a group of professors who were teaching design in a Biomedical Engineering department or program realized that there were common needs among them that were not being met by current conference offerings. The first BME-IDEA meeting was held in San Francisco in 2003 and the alliance has met annually or bi-annually ever since. Over the past decade BME-IDEA has grown to include over 120 university programs in the U.S. and abroad with a focus on teaching and mentoring of innovation and entrepreneurship in biomedical engineering. These meetings are a chance to share best practices and new ideas with other faculty who lead programs and courses in medical technology design. Many past attendees have indicated that this is their favorite meeting of the year.

 

BMES 2015 Annual Conference in Tampa

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Lawrence Tech faculty, Dr Mansoor Nasir and Dr. Jerry LeCarpentier attended the Annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES 2015) conference from Oct. 7-11 in Tampa, FL.

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Two seniors from the BME department, John Peponis and Fatmah Alhaji also accompanied them. Fatmah Alhaji presented a poster titled “Piezoelectric Actuator for Microfluidic Mixing Applications” that covered the research she did on Dr. Nasir’s seed grant during the summer.

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Lawrence Tech setup a booth in the exhibit to promote the new Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering at LTU and the students also helped out with the booth. Overall it was a great experience for everyone with some excellent talks and panel discussions. The weather in Tampa was also not too shabby

 

Students Attend Coulter College Competition in Coral Gables, FL

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LTU had six BME students attend a conference/competition in Coral Gables Florida. Lawrence Tech was joined by 19 other schools. Coulter College is a training program focused on translation of biomedical innovations. Student design teams are guided by faculty and clinical experts through a highly dynamic process designed to help them better understand how innovations can meet clinical needs, while providing tools and approaches used to evolve identified problems into novel solutions. The program is supported by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

This was the 2nd year in a row that Lawrence Tech applied and was accepted as one of the schools to attend.

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From left to right: Colin Thomson, Nick Denney, Corina Malone, Muntha Issa, Ryan Reed, Brendon Clover and Dr. Mansoor Nasir.

 

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Seattle, WA

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The ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition is the only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education. The conference’s main focus is to promote the exchange of ideas among the different teaching staff on the different teaching methods and curriculum they find best. It is a chance for all to share new ideas and gain knowledge from others. The BME department here at LTU attended the conference.

We had two presentations and a poster:

 

FostIMG_4431ering the entrepreneurial mindset through the development of multidisciplinary learning modules based on the ”Quantified Self” social movement
Dr. Eric G Meyer and Dr. Mansoor Nasir

Quantified Self

Enhancing undergraduate education through research-based learning: a longitudinal case study
Dr. Yawen Li

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Providing Diverse Opportunities for Capstone Projects in Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Mansoor Nasir, Dr. Eric G Meyer and Dr. Yawen Li

                                                    Final_Paper_ASEE2015_MNasir

Quantified-Self (QS) Roadshow – LTU Edition

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Dr. Mansoor Nasir and Dr. Eric Meyer hosted 13 faculty members from Lawrence Tech, Kettering University and Ohio Northern in the first event of the Quantified-Self Roadshow seriesFaculty from the original KEEN Topical Grant on Quantified self (PI: Dr. Eric Meyer) ) shared the modules focusing on Entrepreneurial Mindset  Learning (EML) from various engineering and science fields. The roadshow is part of a KEEN Topical Network Grant (PI: Dr. Mansoor Nasir) that is being leveraged to disseminate classroom resources for EML and student engagement around the QS theme. LTU is taking the lead in building the network of faculty and is sharing resources at a dedicated website qsl4eml.ltu.edu.

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The half-day mini-workshop also included a great presentation by a guest speaker, Dr. Daniel Johnson, who is commercializing a powered exoskeleton for the lumbar spine through a local startup venture, Exodynamics. Student from various departments and workshop faculty attended the presentation where Dr. Johnson shared his experiences about entrepreneurship and in commercializing a new technology.

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KEEN Provides a Grant to Update BME Courses

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Dr. Meyer and Dr. Nasir have been working on updating some key courses of the BME curriculum to give students more real world examples of BME related topics. One of these topics is the improvement and development of quantified self (QS) devices. These devices are a result of the public wanting to keep track of their personal health using hand held devices that monitor their: heart rate, calories burned, speed, steps taken and many other data points that monitor your performance. KEEN has provided a grant to Dr. Meyer and Dr. Nasir to improve the BME curriculum using QS. Students will be exposed to new ideas and technologies throughout their courses at LTU. The professors are trying to get students to look at and solve real world problems with confidence in their early years in the BME program. With help from KEEN, they can now provide the knowledge required to provide new projects in the classroom to better prepare students.

 

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http://qs4eml.ltu.edu/ (QS Project)

http://keennetwork.org/blog/?p=2580 (KEEN Blog Post)

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