University of Texas at El Paso
Biomedical Engineering Conference April 18-20, 2008

Paolo BonatoPaolo Bonato received the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy (1989), and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy (1995). He serves as Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA, he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, and he is member of the Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Dr. Bonato is IEEE Senior Member, IEEE EMBS AdCom elected member, and VP of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology. He serves as Chair of the IEEE EMBS Technical Committee on Wearable Biomedical Sensors and Systems.

Dr. Bonato is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Journal on Neuro-Engineering and Rehabilitation and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering and IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine. He served as conference chair for the 3rd IEEE-EMBS International Summer School and Symposium on Medical Devices and Biosensors (2006) and program co-chair for the 4th IEEE-EMBS International Summer School and Symposium on Medical Devices and Biosensors (2007) entitled “From Terahertz Imaging to Telehealth Technologies”.

Dr. Bonato has co-authored about 40 research papers and 130 conference proceedings. His research work is focused on wearable technology and its applications in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He has developed intelligent signal processing tools and artificial intelligence methods for the analysis of data recorded using wearable sensors with application to numerous clinical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, epilepsy, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

Wearable Technology at the Point-of-Care

Paolo Bonato, PhD

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School

The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology

Significant progress in computer technologies, solid-state micro sensors, and telecommunication has advanced the possibilities for individual health monitoring systems. A variety of compact, unobtrusive sensors are available today and it is expected that more will be available in the near future. This talk will discuss this rapidly evolving technology and how to use it in order to develop wearable systems to monitor patients undergoing rehabilitation. System configurations consisting of wireless miniature sensors or a sensor suit that relies on e-textile solutions will be presented in the perspective of using such tools to measure motor functions and systemic responses during the accomplishment of motor activities. Measuring motor functions and associated systemic responses is key in physical medicine and rehabilitation to effectively plan and adapt clinical interventions as a function of the observed response on a patient-by-patient basis. Data collection and storing are key elements of these systems.

Wearable systems often rely on PDA’s and similar data-logging devices, i.e. means to temporarily store physiological signals before uploading them to a server located in a clinical center. Data uploading may occur via a wireless local network installed in the inpatient unit or the patient’s home, which allows communication with a clinical server via an access point. Alternatively, cell phone technology can be used when immediate access to the clinical data is an important consideration of the system design.

Data processing and analysis will be discussed as a key issue to make progress toward the clinical application of wearable systems. Procedures can rely on advanced signal processing and data mining methods to identify features of the recorded data that capture the desired clinical information. Development of data processing and analysis procedures will be discussed in the context of integrating laboratory and clinical assessments with data gathered in the field for the purpose of designing clinical interventions aimed at enhancing mobility in individuals with cardio-pulmonary, musculo-skeletal, and/or neurological conditions. Three examples will be shortly discussed: predicting exacerbation episodes in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease undergoing pulmonary rehabilitation, adjusting medications in patients with late stage Parkinson’s disease, and enhancing gait retraining in post-stroke individuals via next generation wearable robotic devices.

Through development of innovative, reliable, and unobtrusive means to monitor the health status of individuals in the field, researchers are expected to provide clinicians with information complementary to that typically gathered in clinical settings. This would enable clinicians to more precisely tailor their rehabilitative strategies to the daily lifestyle of the patient, and to remotely track and quantify the patient's progression toward recovery.





Lawrence MurrLawrence Murr is Mr. & Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Professor and Chairman of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Ph.D. Program Director in the Materials Research & Technology Institute at The University of Texas at El Paso. 

Dr. Murr received his B.Sc. in physical science from Albright College, and his B.S.E.E. in electronics, his M.S. in engineering mechanics, and his Ph.D. in solid-state science, all from the Pennsylvania State University.  Dr. Murr has taught at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Southern California, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology.  He was Director of the John D. Sullivan Center for In-Situ Mining Research, President of the New Mexico Tech Research Foundation, and Professor and Head of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. 

He was a past Chairman of the New Mexico Joint Center for Materials Science and served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research and Director of the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Oregon Graduate Institute, where he was also Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.  Dr. Murr has published 20 books, over 700 scientific and technical articles in a wide range of research areas in materials science and engineering, environmental science and engineering, manufacturing science and engineering, and biological science and engineering. 

Recent honors include the 2001 Buehler Technical Paper Merit Award for Excellence (IMS), the TMS 2007 Educator Award the 2007 John S. Rinehart Award (a TMS Symposium award), and the 2008 Henry Clifton Sorby Award presented by the International Metallographic Society (IMS) for recognition of lifetime achievement in the field of metallurgy.  Professor Murr is also a Fellow of ASM International.


Health Effects of Nanoparticulate Materials

Lawrence Murr, PhD

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968 USA

Over a period of at least 2000 years, chrysotile (serpentine) asbestos ((Mg3Si2O5) (OH)4 nanotubes with ~30 nm diameters and features similar to carbon nanotubes) has found at least 2000 applications ranging from toothpaste to roofing tiles to chlorine manufacture; a viable and preferred process even today. 

But despite its continued versatility, chrysotile asbestos has killed tens of thousands over more than 2 millennia (nearly 10,000 between 1987 and 1996 alone; of which half were malignant neoplasms of the pleura).  Today, after serious health awareness costing billions of dollars in the U.S. in the decade of the 1990’s, nearly 1 million metric tons continue to be utilized.  The multifunctionality of asbestos is currently predicted for multiwall carbon nanotubes, but we find them to be cytotoxic to human lung cells. 

Furthermore, they are ubiquitous in the air, both indoor and outdoor.  In fact, amongst a wide range of carbon nanoparticle species-natural gas soots, candle soot, tire soot, wood soot, diesel soot, etc., optimally burning natural gas emissions in a kitchen (which consist of complex nanospheres composing soot as well as multiwall carbon nanotubes) are particularly cytotoxic.  Many other common nanoparticles characteristic of natural minerals (such as hematite, Fe2O3) in the environment are also cytotoxic, and many of these nanoparticulate materials are used in numerous commercial products. 

These issues and the collection and observation of nanoparticulate materials will be described in this presentation.





Subrata SahaSubrata Saha is presently the Director of Musculoskeletal Research and Research Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Dr. Saha received a BS in Civil Engineering from Calcutta University in 1963, an MS in Engineering Mechanics in 1969 from Tennessee Technological University, and Engineering and PhD degrees in Applied Mechanics from Stanford University in 1972 and 1974, respectively. He has been a faculty member at Yale University, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Loma Linda University, Clemson University, and Alfred University.

Dr. Saha has received many awards from professional societies, including Orthopedic Implant Award, Dr. C. P. Sharma Award, Researcher of the Year Award, C. William Hall Research Award in Biomedical Engineering, Award for Faculty Excellence, Research Career Development Award from NIH, and Engineering Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

He has received numerous research grants from federal agencies (NIH and NSF), foundations, and industry. Dr. Saha is the founder of the Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference Series. He also started the International Conference on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Saha has published over 90 papers in journals, 35 book chapters and edited volumes, 347 papers in conference proceedings, and 84 abstracts. His research interests are bone mechanics, biomaterials, orthopedic and dental implants, drug delivery systems, rehabilitation engineering, and bioethics.

Dr. Saha is presently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Medical Implants & Devices and was an Associate Editor of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering and Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs. He has been a Member of the Editorial Boards of many journals, including Journal of Biomedical Materials Research; Medical Engineering and Physics; Journal of Applied Biomaterials; Medical Design and Material; Biomaterials, Artificial Cells, and Immobilization Biotechnology; Biomaterials, Medical Device and Artificial Organs; Journal of Bioengineering, Biotelemetry and Patient Monitoring; Journal of Basic & Applied Biomedicine and TM Journal.


Ethics and Biomedical Engineering Research

Subrata Saha, PhD

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Brooklyn, New York 11203

During the last fifty years, the field of biomedical engineering has been largely responsible for the dramatic advances in modern medicine.  These includes advanced therapeutic and diagnostic techniques (e.g. total joint replacements, heart-lung machines, artificial heart, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) and that in turn has significantly improved the life span and quality of life of our patients.  However, biomedical technology has also contributed to new ethical dilemmas and has challenged some of our moral values. 

These include clinical trials of new devices and implants, confidentiality, conflict of interest issues, animal experimentation, university-industry relationships, genetic engineering and challenges associated with nanotechnology.  To face these and other emerging ethical challenges, biomedical engineers need training and education in ethics. 

These issues and the need for a universal Code of Ethics for bioengineering will be discussed.




Ryan WickerRyan Wicker is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director and Founder of the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation at the University of Texas at El Paso where he also holds the endowed Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Chair I in Engineering.  Dr. Wicker attended the University of Texas at Austin between 1983 and 1987, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with Highest Honors in 1987. 

Upon graduation, Dr. Wicker worked for two years as an Engineering Thermodynamic Analyst with General Dynamics Fort Worth Division before going to Stanford in 1989 where he earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering.  After receiving his Ph.D. in 1994, Dr. Wicker joined the faculty at UTEP and returned to El Paso where his children are now the fifth generation of his family calling El Paso home.

In 2000, Dr. Wicker founded a new layered manufacturing laboratory with the purchase of a single commercial additive layered manufacturing machine.  The laboratory, now named the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation (Keck Center) as a result of a $1 million grant received in 2002 from the W.M. Keck Foundation, now occupies over 6,100 square feet of floor space, has more than $4.5 million in research infrastructure, and represents the premier University facility of its kind in the world.  Researchers in the Keck Center have access to combined facilities for advanced manufacturing; reverse engineering, metrology & inspection; materials characterization & testing; experimental fluid mechanics (cardiovascular flows); and tissue engineering (including scaffold fabrication, polymer synthesis and cell culture capabilities). 

Much of the research within the Center relies on the development and creative use of additive layered manufacturing technologies for producing functional end-use devices, and the Center’s commercial layered manufacturing capabilities have grown from 1 machine in 2000 to 21 machines today (9 stereolithography, 5 fused deposition modeling, 1 selective laser sintering, 3 3D printer, 1 electron beam melting, and 2 patent pending technologies, including a multiple material stereolithography machine and an integrated manufacturing environment where a 3-axis direct write fluid dispensing system is combined with a stereolithography machine). 

These technologies are being used to manufacture patient-specific anatomical shapes for use in pre-surgical planning, surgery, medical device development, cardiovascular flow research, tissue engineering, and more.


Biomedical Frontiers in Additive Layered Manufacturing

Ryan Wicker, PhD

Director, W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, Mechanical Engineering

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Texas 79968

Additive layered manufacturing technologies also known as rapid prototyping, direct digital manufacturing, solid freeform fabrication, and other names are technologies that allow for fabrication of complex three-dimensional (3D) shapes by successively manufacturing thin slices of a desired object and stacking them together one layer at a time.  Commercial additive layered manufacturing (LM) systems, originally introduced in the mid 1980s, have been traditionally used for prototyping in the automotive, medical device, aerospace, space, toy and other industries.  Since their introduction, considerable advancements in processing speed, accuracy, and capacity have been achieved and the materials available for use with LM technologies have expanded a great deal, enabling customized end-use products to be directly manufactured on LM machines in a wide range of applications. 

In parallel, researchers have used and developed new LM technologies to take advantage of the layer-based manufacturing method and access to individual layers during fabrication to manufacture unique, multi-material 3D devices.  Using these technologies, there are enumerable opportunities for improving medicine through pre-surgical modeling, custom surgical instrumentation, tissue engineered implants, and a variety of fundamental research applications, and it is these opportunities that motivate the biomedical engineering focus of the multi-disciplinary research pursued within the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation (Keck Center) at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

The Keck Center represents the premier facility of its kind in the world occupying over 6,100-square-feet with combined facilities for advanced manufacturing, cardiovascular hemodynamics (experimental fluid mechanics), and tissue engineering (including polymer synthesis, scaffold fabrication and cell culture capabilities).  This Center provides examples of how multi-disciplinary work expands horizons and presents new opportunities for diverse biomedical research, teaching, outreach, and entrepreneurship.  LM technologies are being used to fabricate patient-specific anatomical shapes for use in pre-surgical planning, surgery, medical device development, cardiovascular flow research, tissue engineering, and more.  The opportunities for LM in biomedical and other applications continue to expand as the achievable features sizes that can be fabricated continue to decrease, the number of materials available for use increases, and new strategies for integrating LM technologies with other manufacturing technologies in custom applications are successfully demonstrated.  This presentation will provide an overview of the exciting activities underway and technologies used within the Keck Center directed at biomedical research and improving patient outcomes.