Online Profiles

University of Colorado Denver - 2016

print entire profile


Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department


Faculty, staff and students in Bioengineering conduct research at the intersection of medical science, biology and engineering. Our main areas of research are (1) cardiovascular biomechanics and hemodynamics, (2) diabetes, (3) imaging and biophotonics, (4) tissue engineering, (5) neuroscience engineering, (6) ophthalmology, (7) orthopedic biomechanics, and (8) surgery and urological sciences.

Examples of research in cardiovascular biomechanics and hemodynamics include development of novel structural models of vascular mechanics, evaluation of structure-function relationships in extracellular matrix, myocardial mechanics in heart failure, role of blood flow in changes in vascular cell expression, role of flow factors in bicuspid aortic valves, hemodynamics of congenital heart disease, and computational measurement in mechanical ventilation.

Research in the area of diabetes includes the biology and biophysics of insulin secretion, metabolic imagining of insulin action, pancreatic islet transplantation and understanding diabetic complications, particularly in children with Type I diabetes. We collaborate with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

Our imaging research includes development of new transducers and instrumentation, analysis of clinical imaging data from MRI, PET, SPECT, angiography, ultrasound modalities, development of next-generation post-processing tools, coupling of 3D imaging with patient-specific computational modeling, and development of advanced optical imaging techniques for live tissue histopathology.

Faculty working in tissue engineering engineer reparative heart tissue using stem cells found in amniotic fluid grown on novel multilayered biomaterials. These tissues are designed to fix heart defects in infants, eliminating the need for heart transplants or multiple and complex surgeries.
Neuroscience research topics include evaluation of neuromuscular disorders, diagnosis of neural processes using functional MRI, and development of next-generation brain telemetry systems.

Research in ophthalmology and bioengineering revolves around new imaging techniques for high-resolution optical imaging, development of new devices to treat glaucoma, development of new surgical instruments for corneal transplant surgery, and evaluation of eye mechanics.

Research in the area of orthopedic biomechanics includes evaluation of gait in children with congenital diseases, examination of neuromuscular control, knee and spine biomechanics, and rehabilitation engineering.

Through strong ties with the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado Denver, several projects are underway on new designs for artificial hearts, novel robots for in vivo biomechanical assessment, minimally invasive surgical methods, next-generation methods to diagnose and treat urinary incontinence, and assessment of aortic valve mechanics.

Civil Engineering

The Structures Group at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver completes various aspects of experimental and computational research. Current research interest includes infrastructure assessment and rehabilitation, advanced composite materials for structural applications, bridge engineering, soil-structure interaction, non-metallic load-bearing systems, fire-structure interaction, multi-material mechanics, and science-based structural engineering. These research activities are sponsored externally by federal, state, and local agencies such as the US Department of Transportation, Transportation Research Board, Colorado Department of Transportation, and City and County of Denver. The Structures Laboratory houses four universal testing machines (20 kip to 1000 kip capacity) with data acquisition systems. Facilities for concrete-related research include a 5cf capacity concrete mixer, water-lime tanks for moisture curing, and a large temperature controlled curing room.

The Hydrology and Hydraulics Graduate Program has been working on various research projects focusing on the areas of surface water drainage improvements using best management practices, groundwater hydrology focusing on plume spreading and clogging effects, flood mitigation using low-impact approaches, floodplain management using structural and non-structural methods, and improvements on highway drainage designs and maintenance. The hydraulic and environmental laboratory has been equipped with measurement devices for water infiltration tests, clogging tests on filtering media, and flumes for Type C and D model inlet tests. This laboratory is also equipped to perform water quality measurements. The on-campus stormwater test site was constructed in 2010 with a mini weather station for rain and wind gages, flow loggers to measure inflows and outflows through a detention basin, and water sample collectors for water quality tests through filtering process in the basin. These research activities are sponsored externally by federal, state, and local agencies, and results are routinely published in top-tier peer-reviewed journalsâ€"often with student coauthors. The Hydrology and Hydraulics program has also established student internship programs with the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District and with Denver Water Department for senior and graduate student placement and on-job training.

The transportation group is currently focusing its research on topics of transportation safety and sustainability. Current topics include: (1) child safety awareness and risk near open spaces, (2) ride sourcing impacts on mode choice and vehicle travel, (3) effects of canopy coverage on crash frequencies, (4) dooring collisions as affected by bike lane design, and (5) helmet effectiveness in crashes by motorcyclists and bicyclists. Our research projects also involve students in planning, public affairs, and public health doing research on many aspects of sustainable transportation and urban design. Those activities can be seen at the website Dr. Wesley Marshall directs the CU Denver affiliation with the Mountain Plains Consortium, which is a regional University Transportation Center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, he also directs the CU Denver Transportation Research Center (TRC), which is one point of contact for that affiliation.

The Geotechnical Engineering Graduate Program devotes its research activity in the following areas: 1) GRS/MSB earth retaining structures and bridge abutment, 2) earthquake-induced soil liquefaction, 3) constitutive modeling of liquefiable soils, 4) liquefaction resistance of soils with fines, 5) large scale geotechnical model tests of GRS/MSB Integrated Bridge System, Pile Bend Static Load Tests, Truncated GRS/MSB Wall Base Bearing Pressures Evaluation, and GRS/MSB Wall Earth Pressure Coefficients evaluation using a stiff steel cage with dimensions of 4 ft wide x 6 ft high and 12 ft long, named Tiger Cage, 6) deep foundation performance (drilled shafts and driven piles) under sequential multi-directional loads (vertical, torsional and lateral) using ÂĽ inch steel Goliath Pipe (GP) of dimensions, 6 ft 6 inches (or 78 inches) in diameter and 13 ft in height and laboratory evaluations of various retaining wall backfills and geotextiles. The measured performances of all large scale model tests are used as a calibrator for the numerical computation codes. When validated, the computer codes are then used to compute full-scale performance of the above-mentioned geo-structures and to formulate design codes.

Construction Engineering and Management is a graduate program with Masters and Ph.D. students within the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver. Current construction related research focuses on developing theories, methods, and tools for multidisciplinary systems thinking in high-performance building and infrastructure. Examples include optimal selection of building upgrade measures for existing building, maximizing thermal comfort of building occupants, and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution of business commute systems. Projects are externally funded by a variety of agencies including Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Mountain Plains Consortium (MPC) and the Rexel Foundation.
The Geomatics Engineering and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) graduate program at the University of Colorado Denver provides broad-based expertise and cutting-edge skills that span the growing geospatial field, and helps alleviate the shortage of well-educated geospatial professionals. The Geomatics and GIS program is intended for engineers and other geospatial, environmental and urban infrastructure professionals seeking skills in using and managing rapidly developing geospatial data technologies.

Computer Science and Engineering

The Department has three laboratories that it uses for its research: the DECENT lab, a Graphics lab and Parallel Distributed lab. The DECENT lab is dedicated to the research and development of high-performance distributed computing and computer networking techniques. The Computer Graphics lab is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to the development of interactive computer graphics and scientific visualization techniques. The Parallel Distributed Systems lab houses a 192 core cluster computers to support teaching and research in all areas of parallel and distributed computing: advanced computer architectures, operating systems, parallel programming languages, applications and high-performance computing and networking.

Electrical Engineering

Faculty of Electrical Engineering department conduct research in the areas of electromagnetics, bioengineering, energy and powers systems, controls, communications, signal processing, computer engineering, nanotechnology and microelectronics. The emphasis of electromagnetics research is propagation of electromagnetic waves in the ionosphere. Research in bioengineering is focused on biomedical imaging, and photonics. Bioengineering research faculties have tight cooperation with faculty from the University of Colorado Medical School. Department has power systems laboratory where faculty and students conduct research in smart grids and energy storage systems.

Mechanical Engineering

3D and 4D Printing of active polymers: After 3D printing (or additive manufacturing), active polymers (such as SMPs, liquid crystal elastomers and hydrogels) can transform into new shapes upon activation. This technique is referred as 4D printing with time being the 4th dimension of shape formation. Our research in this area focuses on the spontaneous and sequential shape changing of printed active polymers. By using simulation based design, we aim to fabricate superior functional devices that can be widely applied in microsystem actuation components, as well as biomedical devices and aerospace deployable structures.

Stimuli-Sensitive and Smart Materials: Synthesis, experimental characterization, and constitutive modeling of stimuli-sensitive and active materials. This includes shape-memory polymers, liquid-crystalline elastomers, and aromatic ultra-polymers. The fundamental understanding of these materials are applied towards the development of real-world applications, such the design of novel biomedical devices.

Image-Based Finite Element Analysis: Using digital images, including those obtained using computed tomography and confocal microscopy, 3D computer models are used to perform finite element analysis. The mechanical effects of exercise, drugs, and implanted medical devices on skeletal tissues can then be evaluated on a patient-specific basis. Ongoing projects in the department are investigating the effects of two different exercise programs on the strength of the femur and lumbar spine, the effects of age and kidney disease on bone micro-structure, and the mechanical interactions between bone and implants made of porous polymers.

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Center for Bioengineering

Bioengineering research and education at the University of Colorado Denver focuses on the application of engineering principles in the design, analysis, construction, and manipulation of biological systems and biomedical technologies, and on the discovery and application of new engineering principles and technologies inspired by the properties of biological systems. Current areas of research and teaching emphasis include biomedical devices, biomechanics, medical imaging and diagnostics and cell and tissue engineering. Emerging areas include synthetic biology, systems biology, biomedical computation and modeling, biomedical nano-and microscale systems and fabrication, and environmental bioengineering.

The impact of the Center for Bioengineering lies in the creation of new research opportunities at the interface between engineering/physical sciences and medicine/biomedical science. Such opportunities have translated into significant new research funding for UC Denver, primarily within the CU School of Medicine, and this success is projected to continue and accelerate as additional bioengineering faculty, researchers and graduate students join the Department. Additional impact continues around the creation of start-up companies from technologies created by inter-disciplinary teams of engineers and clinicians, around the submission of new training grant applications, development of a highly reputable bioengineering research and training program in Colorado, and the creation of new jobs in the University and State of Colorado.

The SOM Center for Bioengineering is thus well positioned to become the premier research and training program for Bioengineering in the Rocky Mountain Region, and to serve as one of the catalysts for economic growth in the Denver-Metro area. The robust research opportunities on a medical school campus engage students in from day one of their training.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Advancing Cognitive Technologies (RERC-ACT)

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Advancing Cognitive Technologies (RERC-ACT) is the nation’s first center to conduct research and development of assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities. The RERC-ACT includes research and development projects, training activities, and the dissemination of informational materials. Twelve universities and private companies throughout the United States are involved in projects that will improve the lives of people with cognitive disabilities such as traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities, and dementia.

Research Projects:

Influence of Technology Design on the Usability of Thirty Assistive and Mainstream Commercial Devices Used by Working Age Adults with Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) â€" This research project is centered on our Product Testing Lab and the critical need to perform usability tests with the myriad of technologies used by persons with cognitive disabilities in order to improve individual consumer selection of the "right" technology as well as improving the design and development of existing, emerging and new technologies. Over the past five years, our population of interest was persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). For this round, our target population is working age adults with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This will begin to enable us to understand more fully what, if any, differences might be present in usability issues across different populations of persons with cognitive disabilities.

Identifying User Interface (UI) Design Features Most Likely to Promote Technology Adoption and Effective Use by Working Age Adults (18-64) With Mild to Moderate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Using a Tablet-based Simulation to Model â€" This research project represents an outgrowth of the Formative Review of our RERC-ACT conducted by NIDRR in 2012. This highly innovative and exciting research project is focused on a simulator we developed enabling us to test, in a very controlled manner, specific User Interface (UI) features with specific populations. This has never been done before and it represents an opportunity to extend and improve the way technologies are designed and used.

Measuring the Effectiveness of an Interactive Non-Linear Context-Aware Platform Prompting System (IPPS) Designed for Working Age Adults with Cognitive Disabilities Use in a Warehouse Environment: A Cross-Sectional Study â€" This research project is directly related to the Center’s development work and involved conducting an applied clinical trial of the Non-Linear Context-Aware Interactive Prompting Platform (IPP); an enterprise solution that has three major development components.