UTA-UTD Joint Program UT Arlington Texas Health Research Education Institute UT Dallas UNT Health Science Center Texas Instruments

Archive: 2011 Funded Projects

View Current Request for Proposals

View Current Letter of Intent

2011 Funded Projects

Title: A Breakthrough Probe Technology for Translating Near-Infrared Brian Imaging into a Routine Clinical Tool for Assessing Motor Deficits in Children with Cerebral Palsy.

Principal Investigators:  George Alexandrakis (UTA), Duncan MacFarlane (UTD), Mauricio Delgado (TSRHC), Filla Makedon (UTA), and Hanli Liu (UTA).

We propose to advance the state of the art in functional near infrared (fNIR) brain imaging and make a clinical grade system to help guide treatment decisions in children with cerebral palsy (CP). CP is the most common motor deficit in children. It profoundly affects a child’s ability to develop age-typical motor skills and to engage fully in play, exploration and self-help activities. Currently, physicians have no easy way of monitoring functional activity in children with CP and as a result there is little intuition into how each individual child could be helped. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) requires the patients’ complete body confinement and steadiness for a long period of time. Due to this stringent requirement, fMRI has ~50% success rate in normal children and is likely to have substantially lower success rates in children with CP due to the patients’ involuntary movements.

The head probe will be built and retrofitted to our state of the art fNIR brain imaging system. In particular, the head probe will consist of novel optical tips that interface between the conventional NIR fiber probe and the scalp. These tips will aim to eliminate obstruction of the light path due to hair follicles while also providing improved coupling characteristics both on input and collection. In addition to the improved optical hardware, the researchers will also develop improved modulation schemes and the associated digital signal processing for enhanced signal-to-noise, which will enable faster acquisition times and finer spatial resolution. The fNIR system which will map the patient’s cortical activation patterns while a custom made game-like computer interface will prompt the patient to perform a variety of upper extremity motor tasks. This game-like interface will also be developed by our team and will be adjusted to meet the needs of different patient groups. Furthermore, the game-like interface can be made available for children to play with at home as an at-home rehabilitation option.

Title: Wireless Home-based Sleep Apnea Detection and Sleep Quality Monitoring.

Principal Investigators:  Hlaing Minn (UTD), Lakshman Tamil (UTD), Larry Ammann (UTD), Ishfaq Ahmad (UTA), Vassilis Athitsos (UTA), and William Brock (THR).

This project aims to develop a low-cost home-based wireless automatic sleep apnea detection and sleep quality monitoring system. As internet access becomes part of every home’s de facto facility, the system proposed here will be based on internet. This facilitates reaching out to the public and allows flexibility, scalability, adaptability, ease of access, efficient data storage and statistical profiling. The primary signal we will use for apnea detection and sleep quality assessment is onelead electrocardiogram (EKG) signal. EKG contains not only cardio-related information (e.g., heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), abnormalities of the heart) but also respiratory-related information useful in detecting sleep apnea. We will also explore how the audio (snoring, teeth grinding) and passive infra-red (PIR) or video (movement, pose) signals recorded during the sleep can complement and enhance the reliability of the results.

The main objective of this project is to develop a sleep apnea detection system with a cell-phone based internet access. Sensors are wirelessly connected to the cell phone through the Bluetooth system, and the database and computation-intensive processing are handled by a dedicated server via internet.

Title: Microfluidic Assays Embedded with Silicon Nanowire Sensors for Assessment and Prognosis of Prostate Cancer Metastasis.

Principal Investigators:   J.C. Chiao (UTA), Walter Hu (UTD), Sanjay Awasthi (THR), and Jingming Gao (UTD)

In this collaborative proposal, we aim to develop a novel assay that integrates the microfluidic cell migration platform (UTA, Chiao) and ultra sensitive silicon nanowires field-effect transistor biomarker sensors (UTD, Hu and Gao) to study the role of RLIP76 in cancer cell migration associated with prostate cancer metastasis (THR, Awasthi). The outcomes will enable the prediction of metastasis potentials for high-risk cancer patients, prognosis of cancer metastasis, identification of potential metastasis biomarkers, and development of novel anti-metastasis targets.

Three specific aims are proposed:

Specific Aim 1:  Develop high-throughput arrayed microfluidic assays for studying prostate cancer cell migration dynamics with a capacity of assaying individual chemokines (BMP-2, IGF-1, osteonectin, VEGF, CCL2, MCP-1. CXC, TGF-β, IL, and TNF-α) and their combinations, with and without the knockdown of RLIP76, in a parallel and time-lapsed fashion. The goals are to identify specific chemokines and their synergistic or negating combinations influencing prostate cancer cell migration, as well as the roles of RLIP76 protein in them.

Specific Aim 2:  Develop and integrate in-situ nanoelectronic biosensors for label-free and realtime measurements of proteomic biomarker level during cell migration. Combining with results of Aim1, the goal is to use the in-situ ultra sensitive nanowire sensor to validate the hypothesis that temporal and spatial presence of RLIP76 protein correlates to prostate cancer cell migration.

Specific Aim 3:  Determine the feasibility to predict the likelihood for development of metastatic disease in patients by analyzing the migration profiles of prostate cancer cells in the microfluidic assays in response to patients’ sera, and detecting related biomarkers by the nanowire sensors around the cells under migration. Patient sera (50 prostate cancer patients with metastasis and 50 healthy donors as control) will be obtained under IRB approval at THR Arlington Memorial Hospital.

The goal is to examine if men with a higher risk of developing metastatic disease have factors in serum that promote cancer cell migration.

Title: Haptic Guidance for Breast Biopsy System

Principal Investigators: Venkat Devarajan (UTA), B. Prabhakaran (UTD), and Katherine Hall (THR)

The definitive procedure for breast cancer diagnosis is needle biopsy, either using stereotactic x-ray or ultrasound guidance. Each method of guidance has its advantages and disadvantages, and for experienced clinicians both methods can provide an excellent specificity for diagnosis. We recognize however a growing preference for ultrasound-guided biopsy, despite the obvious limitation that ultrasound imaging is operator dependent. Our goal is to minimize the operator-dependence of ultrasound-guided needle biopsy by developing a haptic-interface for the procedure that will provide the clinician with additional guidance in completing the procedure. In addition, we reason that the system will also serve as a trainer and simulator for improving the needle biopsy skills in residents and fellows.

Title: Smart Bed Design for Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Principal Investigators: Mehrdad Nourani (UTD), Alan Bowling (UTA) and Deborah Behan (UTA)

We propose the development of a smart bed that will monitor body pressure and intervene at an early stage to prevent pressure ulcers. It also incorporates passive means for reducing shear stresses in the patient’s skin that contribute to formation of these ulcers. Our proposed system is a large-scale, sensor-actuator network with embedded computation and intelligence.

The deliverable of this proposal will be a portion of a smart bed prototype that proves the automatic reaction of the bed to relieve pressure is possible and effective in preventing ulcer development. Working on the real implementation platform will teach us invaluable lessons in terms of challenges, practicality and effectiveness of our techniques. This proof-of-concept prototype will be a part of larger collaborative project to be submitted to National Institute of Health that includes clinical trials.

Title: Wireless Automated Inpatient Monitoring System (WAIMS)

Principal Investigators: Roozbeh Jafari (UTD), Christopher Ray (UTA), Mike Motes, David Keller (UTA), and John Hart (UTD)

Falls are listed as the third most common cause of unintentional injury and death in all age groups and the leading cause of death in adults over the age of 65 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Injury Center, 2007). Hospital settings can be dangerous, due to factors such as the unfamiliar environment, change in medical conditions and medication side effects. Furthermore, recent mandates have re-emphasized the need to reduce inpatient falls (The Joint Commission, 2007). As hospitals have dedicated research efforts to reduce falls through fall risk assessments and ergonomic changes to the hospital environment, falls continue to represent the largest reported adverse incidents in the inpatient hospital setting (The Joint Commission, 2005a). Currently, inpatient falls occur at a rate of 2.3-7 falls per 1,000 patient days (Halfon et al., 2001; Lane, 1999; Roberts, 1993, Hitcho et al., 2004), with an estimated cost per fall equaling at least $6,437 (Tzeng & Yi Yin, 2008). Circumstances surrounding inpatient falls have been reported to occur in both young and older patients, when the patient is unassisted (79%), in the patients’ room (85%), happen overnight (59%), and were elimination related (50%) (Hitcho et al., 2004). This data clearly identifies the need for innovative approaches to monitor patient’s activity to better alert clinicians when and where their assistance is needed. Additionally, preliminary evidence has suggested that blood pressure changes during upright tilt can be used as a predictor of falls (Heitterachi et al, 2002), although no data exists analyzing cardiovascular responses during postural control challenges. Therefore, it is the goal of this project to refine the Wireless Automated Inpatient Monitoring System (WAIMS) and the development of signal processing to enable the device to simply recognize movements, identify cardiovascular responses and report patient activities to the clinicians in real-time. Additionally, this project will collect pilot data at THRE to power subsequent National Institute of Health (NIH) randomized control trial applications and to ensure consideration of clinical and patient feedback for future iterations of the WAIMS system.

Title: Nanoporous Membrane Based Blood Oxygenator and Monitoring Device

Principal Investigators:  Brian Dennis (UTA), Zeynep Celik-Butler (UTA), Digant Dave (UTA), Richard Billo (UTA), Dinesh Bhatia (UTD), Gary Weinstein (THPD), Teresa Turbeville (THRE), David Fosdick (THPD), and Thomas Russell (THPD)

A novel and powerful method for blood O2 and CO2 exchange in miniaturized membrane oxygenators has been developed. The miniature oxygenator holds the promise of providing extracorporeal life support to patients with cardiovascular disorders that require cardio-pulmonary bypass by providing gas exchange directly to the cardiovascular system, bypassing damaged or blocked alveoli in the natural lung. Rather than a few hours of extracorporeal life support possible with current large oxygenators, the miniature oxygentor will provide indefinite support to the natural lungs for patients that suffer from chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases or that are recovering from open heart surgery. The eventual device can revolutionize the management of obstructive pulmonary diseases and provide continuously monitored solution that allows patient mobility and enhanced quality of life.

Prototype ultrathin membranes have been fabricated with unprecedented pore sizes and densities using micromachining techniques adapted from Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. We have fabricated a test unit consisting of parallel blood-channels interposed with a nanoporous membrane bonded to parallel gas-channels. The fabricated unit mimics the structure of natural alveoli and our characterization of the mechanical strength, gas permeability and pore resistance to water penetration of the fabricated nanoporous membranes have been completed. When tested in a flow loop using water as the fluid, the device has shown superior O2 and CO2 gas exchange.

The project team is proposing four tasks: These include 1) blood oxygenation/toxicity testing; 2) device fabrication; 3) electronic monitoring and controls development; and 4) live animal testing on five pigs. Oxygenation, toxicity testing, and fabrication will be performed by UT Arlington. Development of the electronic monitoring system for device performance and patient monitoring will be performed by UT Dallas. Animal testing will by performed by physicians at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas (THPD)/ Presbyterian Institute for Minimally Invasive Technology (PIMIT).

Back to Top
TxMRC Banner
2011 Copyright, The University of Texas at Arlington | Electronic Research Administration, UT Arlington | erahelpdesk@uta.edu