Bioengineering receives $2.5 million for imaging
UT Arlington received a $2.5 million appropriation in December to fund a state-of-the-art optical medical imaging center. The center, a joint initiative with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, will conduct research using engineering and medical techniques to dramatically improve patient care.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, presented the funding at an event attended by Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and several city, county and Chamber of Commerce officials. Barton told attendees that Congress has a responsibility to plan and that health care is a critical issue.
“I had six meetings before I left to come here today; five of them dealt with health care,” he said. “We have to plan for the future of medical care, and that’s what this program is all about.”
Optical medical imaging uses light to diagnose disease, evaluate the efficacy of treatment, better understand human physiology and explore cellular function. The techniques have virtually no side effects, and the devices used are less expensive to develop and deploy than other imaging equipment. This makes optical imaging more readily available to clinicians and helps reduce health care costs.
Four Department of Bioengineering faculty members—Khosrow Behbehani, Digant Davé, Hanli Liu and Karel Zuzak—are at the forefront of this technology.
Their research includes developing optical imaging devices that can improve surgical procedures for implanting deep brain stimulators and determine potency of peripheral vasculature. Current projects include detection of prostate, breast and oral cancer, prevention of diabetic amputations and assessment of sickle cell disease treatment.
The funding will allow the investigators to acquire equipment to help them design and develop new, more reliable and higher-resolution optical medical imaging devices. The professors will test and evaluate the devices in laboratory and clinical settings.
The funding was part of the FY 2006 energy appropriations bill.
— Sue Stevens