Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Winter 2016

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

War Wound

Bubble Trouble

Brain trauma in returning soldiers may be caused by microcavitation 

Michael Cho

Michael Cho

Nearly 300,000 soldiers have returned from service in Afghanistan and Iraq with symptoms of traumatic brain injuries caused by shockwaves from explosions. But since these injuries can go undetected by brain scans, they are often left untreated.

In an attempt to fix that, Michael Cho, chair of the Bioengineering Department, is leading a team to determine the mechanisms that cause these symptoms. Their findings could potentially change the way doctors look for brain injuries in soldiers returning from battle.

Though a soldier may be physically protected from shrapnel in a blast, he or she is not protected from the shockwaves. Scientists suspect that brain injuries could be caused by microcavitation—tiny pressurized bubbles formed in the brain by shockwaves that create tremendous force when they collapse, damaging the brain tissue. Dr. Cho and his team plan to use microcavitation systems and other technologies to monitor responses induced by shockwaves in models of brain tissue and the blood-brain-barrier.

"Microbubbles have been observed in a phantom model of the head, but have yet to be seen in the human brain. Because we developed models that can be monitored in real-time, we can follow the effects of microcavitation and study the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for causing damage to brain cells," explains Cho. "We know the symptoms are there, but they're not being addressed because we don't know the cause. If we can see that the blood-brain-barrier is damaged, we can perhaps begin contemplating clinical strategies to treat the cause."

More articles from this issue

UT Arlington - Office of Research