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Research

Biomaterials Applications of Memphis (BAM)

The Biomaterials research group consists of faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in the Joint Biomedical Engineering Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UT) and the University of Memphis (UM). Current research has focused on materials used for tissue engineering and implantology, with specific applications in dentistry and orthopedic surgery. Expertise within the group includes synthesis, materials characterization, and the evaluation of materials in vitro and in vivo. Listed below are some of the materials that are currently being investigated by this group:

  • Titanium and titanium alloy
  • Zirconia
  • Cobalt –Chromium and Stainless Steel Implant alloys
  • Hydroxyapatite and other calcium phosphate
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Chitosan
  • Biodegradable polymers such as PLA and PGA
  • Electrospun tissue engineering scaffolds and products

In general, materials are used for the following research within the group:

  • Drug release
  • Coatings
  • 3-Dimensional scaffolds
  • Materials enhancements and modifications
  • Dental reconstruction
  • Bone regeneration
  • Cartilage repair
  • Vascular surgery
  • Wound healing
  • Hemostasis (controlling voluminous bleeding)
  • Delivery of biological factors.

The ability of these materials to induce osteogenesis, angiogenesis, and hard soft tissue repair, has been the main interests within this group. As such, these materials are evaluated by:

- Material characterization techniques

  • Electron microscopy
  • X-ray diffraction spectroscopy
  • Differential scanning calorimetery
  • Contact surface area
  • Gel Permeation Chromatography/High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph
  • Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical corrosion

- Biological response (In-Vitro)

  • Bone cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts)
  • Stem cells
  • Endothelial cells
  • Function specific fibroblasts
  • Macrophage cells
  • Co-cultures

- Biological response (In-Vitro)

  • Dental Implant model
  • Osteoinductivity model
  • Cortical – cancellous bone defect model
  • Osteointegration model

Our facilities include multiple tissue culture laboratories and animal study units at both UM and UT. The collaborative effort of the BAM group allows the post-docs and graduate students enhanced availability and breadth of equipment to conduct research on challenging and cutting edge clinical problems.

For additional information visit theUniversity of Memphis Research page or contact the following faculty: 

Joel Bumgardner (UoM)
Warren Haggard (UoM)
Gary Bowlin (UoM)
Amber Jennings (UoM)
Richard Smith (UTHSC) 

This research area involves the development of electrochemical and optical sensors for clinical diagnostics and for measurements of ions (sodium, potassium, lead etc.) as well as small and large molecules (proteins, etc.) in a variety of biological matrices (serum, plasma, whole blood, urine, tear fluid etc.). The development of chemical and biosensors include basic studies on material properties and transport, the design, optimization and testing of microfabricated sensors and sensor arrays for both in vitro and in vivo use.  Studies also include the feasibility of utilizing inherently conductive polymers as solid contacts in ion- sensors for in vitro diagnostics and the measurement of urine to reduce severe sepsis mortality and the development of the next generation of optical pH sensors based on dye loaded porous nano capsules.

For additional information, contact the following faculty:
Erno Lindner (UM),
Brad Pendley (UM)
Amy L de Jongh Curry  (UM) 

Electrophysiology (EP) is the biomedical field dealing with the study of electrical activity resulting from the flow of ions in biologic tissues. EP research in the Joint Program consists of physiologic studies in animal models of heart disease and computational models of electrical activity in cardiac cells and neurons, cardiac tissue, and the whole heart.

Our research focus areas are:

  • Pathologic mechanisms of life-threatening arrhythmias
  • Optimizing defibrillation using a computational model of the human torso as well as large animal in-vivo studies
  • Mathematical simulations of the electrical activity and the excitation-contraction coupling in cardiac cells
  • Mechanisms of ‘ischemia’-induced arrhythmias in pacemaker cells isolated from sinoatrial node
  • Bursting activity in neostriatal cholinergic interneurons
  • Development, age and gender dependent ionic mechanisms in cardiac cells

Our facilities include multi-processor Sun workstations, radio-telemetry system for monitoring ECG in small animals, multi-channel mapping system for recording epicardial electrical activity in small animals, and virtual instrumentation software.

For additional information, contact the following faculty:
Eugene Eckstein (UM), 
Amy L de Jongh Curry  (UM) 

This study area focuses on mechanobiology and acute lung injury. Patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are placed on mechanical ventilators to improve oxygenation, but the ventilator may cause additional injury to the lungs due to either overdistention or airway collapse and reopening.  The lung is a mechanically dynamic organ, and cells in the lung are subjected to shear stress due to fluid flow, tensile and compressive forces due to respiratory motion, and normal forces due to vascular or airway pressure.  High tidal volume mechanical ventilation in injured lungs induces mechanical stresses that increase injury to the lung epithelium, stimulate inflammatory responses, and decrease repair mechanisms.  We are focusing on the mechanisms by which mechanical forces contribute to lung injury, inhibit wound healing of lung epithelial cells, and stimulate inflammation.  We are examining cell migration and wound healing, Rho GTPase signaling, cytoskeletal remodeling, stimulation of reactive oxygen species, cytokine secretion, and regional variations in cellular tension.  In addition we are examining lung injury in vivo and the effects of exposure to high levels of oxygen (hyperoxia).  The research seeks to identify the levels of mechanical forces and the types of lung injury that cells experience in vivo, to develop in vitro models to evaluate cellular responses, and to identify mechanisms by which mechanical forces are transduced into biological signals.

For additional information you may contact the following faculty:
Chris Waters (UTHSC)
Esra Roan (UoM)

Last Published: Dec 18, 2019