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News Archive 2001 - 2010

UT Arlington Researcher Receives Prestigious NSF Award

November 28, 2007

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Bumsoo Han at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering has been awarded a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to study how biological tissues respond to freezing. This knowledge will ultimately help to design successful cryomedical applications for a wide variety of tissues.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards support of the early career-development activities of teacher/scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. The National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award, CAREER awards recognize outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge.

The freezing of skin cells and simple tissues is an established practice in procedures such as removing warts, treating certain types of cancer, or preserving embryos. However, little is clearly known about the specific interactions of the cell, the extracellular matrix and intercellular fluids during freezing and thawing of complex tissues. So, identical macro-scale freezing/thawing protocols can result in either success or failure, depending on what kinds of tissues are involved.

In this project, Dr. Han will measure and characterize interactions at the meso/micro/nano-scales using a newly-developed quantum dot-mediated, multi-modal measurement technique. Thus, the thermal, mechanical and biological interactions during freezing and thawing of biological tissues will be quantitatively understood. The outcomes of this research will build a framework of understanding of freeze/thaw-induced cell-fluid-matrix interactions, improving the outcomes of applications such as cryotherapies for cancers and cardiovascular disease, and the cryopreservation of transplant tissues.

Dr. Han will also institute educational features in addition to the research component of the CAREER grant. In the spring 2008 semester, he will teach an interdisciplinary “Introduction to Biotransport Phenomena” course designed for mechanical engineering and bioengineering students. Later in the year, he will develop and conduct an outreach program for middle school students in an effort to increase their interests in pursuing careers in engineering, biology and medicine.