The BME Capstone Symposium is May 5, 2022


Session A 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Dinner 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Session B 8:00 - 9:30 pm

Location: MR5 Building

  • Session A: Orthopaedic Devices & Therapies

    Orthopaedic Devices & Therapies

    Session A

    5:30 PM

    MR5 1005

    Protecting Pilots: Designing a Variable Cervical Neck Brace to Mitigate Ejection Injuries

    Seth Berry, Brian Gilday, Kathryn Ward

    Advised by: Robert Salzar (Center for Applied Biomechanics)

    Our team set out to design an adjustable cervical neck brace that mitigates the acute cervical trauma associated with pilot ejections from fighter jet aircraft, in addition to providing a safety device that optimally protects a wide range of pilot anthropometries. To accomplish this goal, the team created a computational model of the spine that could be applied to a vertical loading scenario, developed a prototype model for a neck brace, and outlined an experimental plan that would enable acquisition of appropriate materials and iterative testing of the neck brace in a laboratory setting. The brace itself is a three-tiered airbag worn around the pilot’s neck with variable pressure settings that can be adjusted on the basis of the pilot’s anthropometry and activated by an external triggering mechanism. Future steps for this project include validation of the computational modeling and brace prototype design through biofidelic testing.

     

    Session A

    5:45 PM

    MR5 1005

    Double-Barreled Syringe Device for Ultrasound-Guided Injections

    Michael Burns, Teodor Calin, Rohan Chandra, Grace Park

    Advised by: Jeremy Kent (Family Medicine)

    We are working with Dr. Kent of UVA Family Medicine and the UVA Athletics Department to design a double-barreled syringe device to aid in ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections. Many athletes receive steroid injections, such as cortisone shots, which also involve injecting anesthetic medication and ultrasound assistance to accurately perform injections. For these injections, the physician must unscrew and reattach a new syringe to a needle within the patient all with one hand because the other is holding the ultrasound machine. Our design aims to decrease patient pain and increase physician efficiency by combining two syringes into one that allows disparate fluids to be injected from a single device. 

     

    Session A

    6:00 PM

    MR5 1005

    Development of a Dynamic Tensioning Ankle Brace for Chronic Ankle Instability

    Ben Scire, Daniel Carrier, Drew Quigley, Evan Wendell

    Advised by: Dave Johnson (Icarus Medical Innovations), Timothy Allen (Biomedical Engineering), Shannon Barker (Biomedical Engineering)

    Our Capstone project encompasses the design and development of a dynamic tensioning ankle brace aimed to generate both stability and comfort for patients with chronic ankle instability. Through the use of biometric scanning technology and 3D printing, we are addressing a current gap in custom ankle-foot orthotics. Our presentation will detail the pre-production research, iterative prototyping process, testing protocol development, as well as additional steps taken during the development of a Class 1 medical device.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-carrier-a50246205/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/evan-wendell-47135a1a2/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-quigley-0a3a51189

    www.linkedin.com/in/benjamin-scire-baab40152

     

    Session A

    6:15 PM

    MR5 1005

    SurePace Walker

    Gabrielle Fuller, Albert Roldan

    Advised by: Gene Parker (Barron Associates), Merrick Furman (Barron Associates)

    The SurePace walker is an intelligent, powered posterior walker designed for use by children with cerebral palsy. Using a gait learning algorithm, the walker provides power selectively to each wheel to assist the user as they walk.

     

    Session A

    6:30 PM

    MR5 1005

    Design and Implementation of Power Walker Related Experimentation

    Taylor Kagie

    Advised by: Shawn Russell (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

    Walking is a natural activity to most people, but it is not always available for children with cerebral palsy (CP) to the degree that children without CP would experience. The longitudinal goal of this project is to provide a motorized walker for children with CP to minimize energy expenditure from pushing around a walker. This project specifically explores a method of experimentation that will encompass just a portion of this massive endeavor. From pulleys to load cells, this project designs and implements a laboratory set-up that will provide a forward force to a person walking across the floor which will be used to test if providing a certain percentage of a person’s body weight as a forward force will reduce energy expenditure. If a force value can be confirmed, then the walker will be programmed to provide that force to the children to reduce their energy expenditure in day-to-day life.

     

    Session A

    6:45 PM

    MR5 1005

    Optimizing Surgical Planning to Treat Patellar Instability

    Matthew Lim, Lucas Sarantos

    Advised by: Silvia Blemker (Biomedical Engineering), David Diduch (Orthopedic Surgery), Joseph Hart (UNC Orthopedic Surgery)

    Current orthopedic surgical planning relies on medical imaging and the experience of the acting physician, which creates a subjective surgical plan. Our group is designing computational biomechanical models that are personalized to the patient's native anatomy, in an attempt to aid surgical planning. Using MR imaging and open software we can create these models, run kinematic simulations and simulate surgery, in which the acting physician can use to create an objective surgical plan.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-sarantos-98080b186/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-lim-747442194/

  • Session A: Molecular/Cellular Therapies & Diagnostics

    Molecular/Cellular Therapies & Diagnostics

    Session A

    5:30 PM

    MR5 1041

    Natural & Synthetic Supporting Structures for the Facilitated Perfusion of Granular Hydrogel Constructs

    Bao Nguyen, Andres Armenta

    Advised by: Christopher Highley (Biomedical Engineering)

    This project will develop a convenient process to manufacture PDMS perfusion devices, and use an innovative approach to integrate decellularized matrices with hydrogel materials to produce suturable hybrid constructs. The success of this study will produce invaluable research tools for the perfusion of vascularized hydrogel constructs and provide a method to physically conjugate biological tissues with hydrogels to aid in tissue engineering anastomosis.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R6WzUhyG8wX5G2SmJ8YJXKfJt4-8Vv0qYTBT6WUyJZM/edit?usp=sharing

     

    Session A

    5:45 PM

    MR5 1041

    A Diagnostic Assay for IL-33 and sST2 as Biomarkers for Acute Kidney Disease

    Autumn Blackshear, Ashwin Swaminathan

    Advised by: Rahul Sharma (Nephrology)

    Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common condition among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. The current procedure for diagnosing AKI includes measuring the creatinine levels in the blood and urine. However, creatinine tests lack the specificity and sensitivity to detect AKI in the early stages. In an effort to discover better strategies for AKI diagnosis, previous studies have suggested Interleukin 33 (IL-33) and soluble Suppressor of Tumorigenicity (sST2) are potential biomarkers for AKI. The goal of this project is to confirm IL-33 and sST2 as AKI biomarkers and develop an assay that can detect these biomarkers in urine samples of cardiac surgery patients.

     

    Session A

    6:00 PM

    MR5 1041

    Design of a novel ex vivo murine brain slice model for analysis of pericyte morphology in diabetes

    Garrett Johannsen, Connor McKechnie, Stephen Muzyka

    Advised by: Shayn Pierce-Cottler (Biomedical Engineering)

    This Capstone project focuses on the design of a novel ex vivo murine brain slice protocol to observe pericyte morphology in diabetic environments. Pericytes are outerlying cells of capillaries that control blood vessel constriction through paracrine signaling. In diabetic individuals, chronic high levels of glucose in the bloodstream (hyperglycemia) impair pericyte function and lead to microvascular complications such as diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy. The effect of chronic hyperglycemia on brain micro vessels is not well studied. This protocol enables researchers to continue to explore alternative treatments to microvascular complications of diabetes.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-muzyka-643b16144

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/garrettjohannsen-bmeatuva

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/connor-mckechnie-938b1b191

     

    Session A

    6:15 PM

    MR5 1041

    Designing an Approach to Fluorescently Image MDSCs in vivo

    Sophia Kerns

    Advised by: Tim Bullock (Pathology), Richard Price (Biomedical Engineering), Natasha Sheybani (Biomedical Engineering)

    This project is aiming to design a fluorescent probe that targets granulocytic MDSCs in vivo in mouse models. MDSCs are an extremely important cell type to study because they have severe adverse effects on the body's ability to fight cancer. This sort of approach can help provide researchers in the cancer immunology space better understand how this particular immune cell subtype is moving and changing throughout treatments.

     

    Session A

    6:30 PM

    MR5 1041

    Electro-spun Poly-4-Hydroxybutyrate(P4HB) for Hernia Repair

    Alexa Pass, John Mead

    Advised by: George Christ (Biomedical Engineering), Sakib Elahi (Becton Dickinson and Co.), Mark Colasurdo (Becton Dickinson), Darya Asheghali (Becton Dickinson), Asli Unal (Becton Dickinson)

    This Capstone Design Project, completed in conjunction with Dr. George Christ of the UVA BME department, and Becton, Dickinson, and Co., featured initial feasibility testing of an electro-spun Poly-4-Hydroxybutyrate hernia mesh. The current standard of care for hernia repair involves a surgical operation using a knitted mesh. The use of an electro-spun mesh may, in theory, facilitate greater muscle cell infiltration and therefore provide better recovery outcomes than a traditional knitted hernia mesh. A C2C12 immortalized mouse cell line was used for seeding to determine how well the material may support cell life and infiltration. Additionally, a testing protocol was developed to support future studies of the interaction between the material and myocytes. 

     

    Session A

    6:45 PM

    MR5 1041

    Automated counting method for analyzing the results of T. gondii invasion assays

    Radhika Pande, Emma Wolcott

    Advised by: Brian Helmke (Biomedical Engineering)

    Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. The molecular and signaling mechanisms of the parasite are not known, but one way to investigate them is through invasion assays. We hypothesize that T. gondii invades by pulling itself against the host cell cytoskeleton, and we know that cytoskeletal morphology changes on substrates of different stiffnesses. Therefore, we performed invasion assays using fibroblasts as host cells and polyacrylamide gel substrates of different stiffnesses to look at changes in invasion rates of wild type and mutant parasites. We designed an image analysis pipeline using CellProfiler to accurately and efficiently analyze the results of the invasion assays.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-wolcott-6974371b4/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/radhika-pande-374a28187

  • Session A: Imaging & Interventional Radiology

    Imaging & Interventional Radiology

    Session A

    5:30 PM

    MR5 2005

    Development of a Reliable Drive System for Medical Ultrasound Imaging

    Shipra Trivedi, Aarthee Baskaran, Sarah Abourakty, Sarah Ames

    Advised by: Zachary Leonard (Rivanna Medical Inc.)

    Rivanna Medical, Inc. is dedicated to improving global healthcare through the development of world-first, imaging-based medical technologies including Accuro, which provides automated, real-time ultrasound image guidance for epidural injections. The goal of this capstone project was to develop a reliable electromechanical drive system for a new medical ultrasound imaging device. The project scope included the development and implementation of test protocols to evaluate the reliability of the drive system. Additionally, the team designed and assembled test fixtures and a proof-of-concept design alternative for a flex circuit management system. Rivanna Medical will use the results of this project to guide the design and improve the reliability of new products.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/aarthee-baskaran-a423651b8/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-abourakty/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/shipra-trivedi-88023b191/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-ames/

     

    Session A

    5:45 PM

    MR5 2005

    ML-based derivation of blood input function for human brain FDG-dPET

    Gabe Hyman, Colton Bogucki

    Advised by: Bijoy Kundu (Radiology and Medical Imaging)

    To facilitate quantitative analysis of dynamic fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (dFDG-PET) in human brain, researchers are currently required to perform time-consuming and imprecise manual annotations on the scan in order to localize the carotid arteries. This work aims to demonstrate the ability to automate this annotation process and successfully develop a Machine Learning (ML) based model to correctly recognize and segment out these regions of interest automatically.

     

    Session A

    6:00 PM

    MR5 2005

    Computational Flow Dynamics Analysis of Pelvic and Abdominal Veins Using CT, Venography, and Duplex Imaging

    Jessica Cornthwaite, Katherine Byrd, Katherine Dunn

    Advised by: John Angle (Interventional Radiology), Haibo Dong (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

    The goal of this project is to analyze data from CT, duplex ultrasound, venography, intravascular ultrasound, and pressure measurements from patients with DVT to develop a CFD model of the lower extremity venous anatomy and to understand the contribution of flow rates and patterns on the formation of DVT. In order to accomplish this goal, we will be reconstructing CT data of the iliac vein with volume rendering to create a 3D model. This model will then be used to run simulations of blood flow. To run these simulations, we must identify the appropriate and most significant parameters to consider. We will then verify our model with clinical data as well as analyze blood flow in patients with DVT and healthy patients. Modeling individual patient anatomy of patients will potentially allow us to determine why stent stenosis occurs more frequently in the lesser curve of the iliac vein.

    www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-cornthwaite

    www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-byrd

    www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-dunn-80370621a

     

    Session A

    6:15 PM

    MR5 2005

    Evaluation of Caffeic Acid Transport in an In Vitro 3D Model of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

    Caroline Doyle, Ella Frazier, Lillian Way

    Advised by: Luke Wilkins (Vascular & Interventional Radiology), David Brautigan (Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology)

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common tumor world-wide, and cases continue to rise creating a pressing need for a more effective treatment. Previous research by our advisors has shown that the phytochemical, caffeic acid (CA), when paired with a traditional transarterial embolization (TAE) procedure, causes more extensive reduction in HCC tumor volume when compared to a TAE procedure alone. However, the transport and distribution of CA within an HCC tumor is currently difficult to determine in vivo. In this project, we designed an in vitro 3D Transwell model of HCC to assay for transport of solutes that include a tracking dye, labeled protein, and different formulations of CA. The results will serve as a tool for the optimization of improved TAE procedures for future animal and human clinical trials.

     

    Session A

    6:30 PM

    MR5 2005

    Assessment of Hydrogels to Aid in Point of Care Ultrasound Barrier Reduction at the University of Virginia

    Arghya Shetty, Deborah Wood

    Advised by: Masahiro Morikawa (Family Medicine)

    Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) describes the practice of trained physicians obtaining and interpreting ultrasound images on a patient to diagnose medical problems at the bedside. Though emergency medicine physicians widely use POCUS, primary care physicians can use this practice as an alternative to the stethoscope to provide more timely diagnoses. However, many institutional barriers exist for POCUS at UVA, such as the lack of machines, funding, and a governing body to oversee ultrasound image storage. Our project focused on how physicians can efficiently implement POCUS to incentivize addressing these barriers.

    Since ultrasound gel is messy and single-use, we assessed how well reusable accessible hydrogels behave as replacement acoustic couplants.

     

    Session A

    6:45 PM

    MR5 2005

    Developing Preliminary Point-of-Care-Ultrasound Competency Guidelines for Internal Medicine

    Andrew Porter, Emma Stiglitz

    Advised by: Masahiro Morikawa (Family Medicine)

    Point-of-care-ultrasound (POCUS) technology, including handheld models, are portable ultrasound devices that are cost-effective and similarly capable to traditional models. However, they have failed to be adopted into regular clinical practice in Internal Medicine due in part to a lack of standard training guidelines from the professional societies. This project aims to design preliminary guidelines, in the form of a handbook, that includes set modules and checkpoints for physicians to follow. This collection of essential skills can be used to develop a more robust and standardized certification curriculum. Thus, eliminating the gray area that currently exists around the current qualification standards necessary for using POCUS in practice.

  • Session A: Synethic Biology & Genetic Engineering

    Synethic Biology & Genetic Engineering

    Session A

    5:30 PM

    MR5 2019

    Maximizing Acetyl-CoA Output by Genetically Engineering E. coli for the Overall Output of the Bioplastic PHB

    Hannah Towler, Julia Yao, Sam Park, Xin Chen, Tammy Tran, Thomas Nguyen

    Advised by: Keith Kozminski (Biology and Cell Biology), Mark Kester (Pharmacology)

    Building off of our company sponsor Transfoam's proprietary biotechnology (engineered bacteria capable of converting waste into PHB bioplastic), our team used genetic engineering to increase intracellular concentration of acetyl-CoA, the direct precursor metabolite for PHB bioplastic production. A genome-scale metabolic model (GEM) was build concurrently to accurately represent the edits within the bacteria and set a foundation to investigate other potential gene knockouts. The acetate switch pathway within our bacteria (encoded by the genes pta-acka) was chosen to be deleted to prevent acetyl-CoA from being converted into acetate and thus increasing the available acetyl-CoA pool within the cells.

    www.linkedin.com/in/tammy-tran-2515651b0

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/xin-chen-84387119a/

     https://www.linkedin.com/in/julia-y-a20793212/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/sanghoonio/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasnguyen001/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-towler-550250205/

     

    Session A

    5:45 PM

    MR5 2019

    Design and Verification of a Modified Ichip to Incorporate Coculturing of Soil Microbes

    Jack Stalfort, Gabrielle Costlow

    Advised by: Jason Papin (Biomedical Engineering)

    The vast majority of microbes remain unculturable, meaning they won't grow on artificial media in a laboratory. To address this problem, researchers developed the ichip: a device that allows microbes access to small molecules found in their natural environment. Using this device as a starting point, we underwent design iterations in Fusion 360 to make a modified ichip that would allow for coculturing. Additionally, we verified that microbes can not move into, out of, or within our device by inoculating it with non-pathogenic E. coli and correctly detecting growth where we predicted after incubation.

     

    Session A

    6:00 PM

    MR5 2019

    A Computational Model Driven Design of a Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Targeting Klebsiella pneumoniae

    Mary Dickenson

    Advised by: Jason Papin (Biomedical Engineering), Matt Jenior (Biomedical Engineering)

    Infections due to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae have recently emerged as one of the most urgent threats to hospitalized patients within the United States and Europe, with one of the most common etiological agents of these infections being Klebsiella pneumoniae. To to work towards combatting this, the overarching goal of this capstone project is to first develop and then experimentally validate a computational model driven design of a novel therapeutic strategy for targeting Klebsiella pneumoniae infections. To accomplish this goal, I levered a genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction (GENRE) of K. pneumoniae, in conjunction with previously published biological data, to identify portions of metabolism which may be used as novel therapeutic options for these infections. I then proposed and conducted a series of in vitro experiments to develop genetically engineered bacterial mutants, and subsequently validate the potential therapeutic targets identified via the metabolic model analyses. Positive results from this study may aid in future development of a novel therapeutic strategy for treating K. pneumoniae infections, and the pipeline presented here may be used in the future to identify and verify novel therapeutic options for other types of infectious bacteria.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-dickenson-1a26731ba/

     

    Session A

    6:15 PM

    MR5 2019

    The Design of Lipid Nanoparticles for Delivery of RNA Therapeutics as a Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

    Colin Haws

    Advised by: Anuradha Illendula (Pharmacology), Mark Kester (Pharmacology), Luke Vass (Pharmacology), Kallesh Danappa Jayappa (Pharmacology)

    Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rare disease characterized by the overproduction of white blood cells which leads to a five-year survival rate of 26%. Prolonged chemotherapy treatments, the current standard of care, induce cell mechanisms of resistance which contribute to this poor survival and introduce the need for better short term treatment options. The proposed design directly addresses this issue of ‘chemoresistance’ through the formulation of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) encapsulating small interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNAs) for knockdown of the known chemo resistant transcription factor, nuclear related factor 2 (NRF2). Exploration of this method is justified by its scalability and clinical translation as portrayed by the success of similar medicines including the coronavirus-19 vaccine and Onpattro (an siRNA-based treatment vector for amyloidosis). An effective combinatorial treatment pairing chemotherapy treatment with an siRNA-LNP vector has the potential to extend the life expectancy for patients suffering from AML.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/colin-haws-5b8835179/

     

    Session A

    6:30 PM

    MR5 2019

    Sugaway: Using Synthetic Biology to Treat Diabetes

    Promotto Islam

    Advised by: Keith Kozminski (Biology)

    Insulin treatment is the current benchmark for treating diabetic patients. However, increasing prices of insulin have made the treatment inaccessible to many, indicating a need for a new supplemental treatment. To this end, we designed a bacterium that converts glucose to glycogen in the digestive track,  to mimic the effects of insulin.  To demonstrate proof-of-principle, we tested our design with E. coli and found an increase in glucose to glycogen conversion. This biological device is a prototype for a less expensive probiotic treatment which can reduce the reliance on insulin treatment.

     

    Session A

    6:45 PM

    MR5 2019

    Engineer Cilia Length via Pharmacological Inhibition of CILK-1 to Modulate Signaling

    Elena Wang

    Advised by: Zheng Fu (Pharmacology)

    Primary cilium, a microtubule-based structure in cells, is critical in transducing environmental signals to regulate cell signaling pathways, many (e.g. Hedgehog and Wnt pathways) are related to the development of drug resistance of various cancer cells. This capstone project focuses on a protein named Ciliogenesis Associated Kinase 1 (CILK1) and its capability of engineering the primary cilium structure, formation, and length. We hypothesize that changes in CILK1 activity via the use of a kinase inhibitor Alvocidib are effective in altering the dynamic structures of primary cilia and ciliary signaling events.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/elena-wang-ba24aa1a5/

  • Session A: Medical Devices: Mechanics

    Medical Devices: Mechanics

    Session A

    5:30 PM

    MR5 3005

    Hemostatic Ring to Minimize Excessive Bleeding Events

    Roan Back, Piper O'Donnell

    Advised by: William Guilford (Biomedical Engineering), Mark Russell ( Dermatology)

    In Mohs Micrographic Surgery, a procedure commonly used for skin cancer removal, excessive bleeding has been found to comprise approximately 45% of complications. Our project entails the design of a device that allows a clinician to minimize excessive bleeding events in Mohs Micrographic Surgery and other similar procedures. We have chosen to produce two stainless steel models, to accommodate for clinician preference. Both designs consist of two different sized rings attached to either end of a handle. Clinicians are able to hold the handle of the device and manually apply pressure so that the ring pushes down on the skin, where such pressure cinches blood vessels directly beneath the contact point between the ring and the skin and hemostasis is induced.

     

    Session A

    5:45 PM

    MR5 3005

    Improving Cervical Insufficiency Diagnostics: Designing a Device to Measure Uterine Cervical Stiffness

    Emily Boland, Madeleine Hoang

    Advised by: Will Guilford (Biomedical Engineering), Donald Dudley (Maternal Fetal Medicine), Christopher Ennen (Maternal Fetal Medicine)

    Cervical insufficiency, wherein the uterine cervix cannot mechanically withstand the forces exerted by a growing fetus in utero, occurs in 1/100 pregnancies, resulting in miscarriage or spontaneous preterm birth. Interventions exist to extend the gestational period, but current diagnostic methods often struggle to identify patients who may benefit. This struggle is unsurprising given that methods to assess the cervix have gone largely unchanged for 2,000 years, other than the introduction of transvaginal ultrasound to measure cervical length in 1996. Although studies suggest stiffness may be a better predictor of cervical insufficiency than length, there is no clinically approved way to quantify cervical stiffness. We’ve designed two low-cost devices to accurately and reliably measure cervical stiffness, which aim to inform interventions to decrease miscarriage and preterm birth due to cervical insufficiency.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-boland-a317041a4/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/madeleine-hoang-b3ba05207/

     

    Session A

    6:00 PM

    MR5 3005

    Redesigning the Medical Examination Table

    Clara Bosworth, Lauren Louw, Sarah Cobb, Victoria Harvey

    Advised by: Masahiro Morikawa (Family Medicine)

    Our capstone project aims at redesigning the medical examination table to make it more accessible to a wide range of patient demographics, specifically elderly, obese, and mobility limited patients. Input from our technical advisor, Dr. Morikawa, MD, and research from literature detailing issues with current designs of the medical examination table guided the team through an iterative design process to transform the medical examination table as we know it.  A final virtual model with functional moving components was developed in Autodesk Fusion CAD, and a materials analysis was performed to guide future students who may wish to bring this table to life in a clinical setting. Our hope is that this project will be continued by future students who can see our model through to manufacturing and patient testing so that a more diverse range of patient demographics may be served in general practitioners' offices.

     

    Session A

    6:15 PM

    MR5 3005

    Design of a Novel Head Fixation Device for Focused Ultrasound Blood-Brain-Barrier-Opening Procedures

    Isha Bhatia, Rithika Kormath Anand

    Advised by: Jason Sheehan (Neurological Surgery), Lauren Powlovich (Focused Ultrasound Foundation), David Schlesinger (Radiation Oncology), John Snell (Focused Ultrasound Foundation)

    We are working towards developing a novel head fixation device for focused ultrasound applications. Current fixation devices are used for radiosurgery (e.g. Gamma Knife), and such devices are suboptimal for focused ultrasound applications. With our fixation device, we hope to increase treatment area in the context of blood brain barrier opening (BBBO). Additionally, the objective of this project is also to make the head fixation device as non-invasive as possible; ideally, we hope to avoid the use of pins that currently are used to drill into the patient's skull. To design this frame, we are using the current gamma knife frame as a reference and improving upon the design in a software application known as Fusion 360.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/isha-b-29b6081a0

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/rithika-kormath-anand-573189176

     

    Session A

    6:30 PM

    MR5 3005

    Design of an Alternative Method to Create Custom Ocular Prosthetics

    Raina Mourad, Jaden Stanford

    Dr. William Guilford, UVA BME

    We are utilizing photogrammetry and 3D modeling to redesign the process of creating a custom ocular prosthesis. While an ocular prosthesis will not give patients their sight back, it will restore their facial appearance and protect their socket from foreign bodies. There are many flaws with the fabrication process that is currently in use including its high financial cost, excessive waste of resources, and use of impression materials, which is painful for patients. Our method seeks to address these issues by using photogrammetry, which is a non-contact, safe, and effective 3D scanning tool, to obtain topographical information about the socket, combined with affordable 3D modeling software to ultimately 3D print a custom ocular prosthesis. We have been able to verify the effectiveness of our method by testing it on 3D printed CGI models with artificially enucleated (surgically removed eye) sockets and obtained accurate results.

  • Session B: Data-Driven Healthcare Innovations

    Data-Driven Healthcare Innovations

    Session B

    8:00 PM

    MR5 1005

    Moral Distress Mobile Application

    George Miroulis, Keegan Pezzella, Taylor Brooks

    Advised by: Vanessa Amos (School of Nusrsing), Elizabeth Epstein (Nursing)

    Developing a mobile application that allows nurses to assess their levels of moral distress. This application will provide a storage center that will compile data from the responses and be made accessible to the current consulting service at UVA.

     

    Session B

    8:15 PM

    MR5 1005

    Engineering a Resilient Regional Healthcare System: Improving Stroke Care in Shelby County, TN

    Erica Cassidy, Megan Everett, John Quezada

    Advised by: Nathan Edwards (The MITRE Corporation)

    Current healthcare delivery models have a focus on utilizing fixed care facilities, which limits flexibility in high strain scenarios such as a pandemic. When under strain, these healthcare systems often experience bottlenecks and are unable to deliver proper healthcare to everyone. If healthcare resources were reconfigured into an optimized model, patient outcomes could be greatly improved even when the system is under strain. This project seeks to improve the continuum of care specifically for strokes in Shelby County, TN through the design and optimization of an agent-based model in NetLogo.

     

    Session B

    8:30 PM

    MR5 1005

    Engineering a Resilient Healthcare System

    Ketki Morabkar, Kayla Perkins, Emily Pham, Sophie Fossett

    Advised by: Nathan Edwards (MITRE)

    This project focuses on healthcare systems for cardiovascular patients in Indiana. We used agent based simulation to create a visualization of the hospital flow for heart attack patients by using data from a representative sample from 3 hospital types in Indiana. We also found alternatives for hospital operations and applied them to the function to improve hospital efficiency under stress. The overall goal of this project is to improve the healthcare system in Indiana through the use of algorithms that will identify efficacy for proposed alternatives.

    www.linkedin.com/in/kayla-perkins-27413b202, linkedin.com/in/emilylpham, linkedin.com/in/sophie-fossett-3ab2b9202, linkedin.com/in/ketki-morabkar

     

    Session B

    8:45 PM

    MR5 1005

    Healthcare Delivery Systems

    Patricia Edouard

    Advised by: Matt Henchey (MITRE Corp), Deborah Ercolini (MITRE Corp)

    Healthcare systems need to adapt to changing demands quickly to incorporate new services, new delivery mechanisms for existing services, and potentially increased capacity requirements to meet patient demand. The overall goal of the project is to select a use case where the supply of a specific existing healthcare service does not align with patient demand and/or new delivery mechanisms are being considered that may help to improve patient experience and outcomes. The chosen test case for this project aims to access  increasing diverse participation in clinical trials. This project will primarily be focused on developing a model that will aid clinical trial designers in maximizing diversity in clinical trials by evaluating and recommending new recruitment strategies based on previous trials and strategy effectiveness, as well as accounting for the clinical sites, demographics of the surrounding areas, and prevalence of the condition across those demographic groups.

     

    Session B

    9:00 PM

    MR5 1005

    Pulse Wave Analysis Device for Cardiovascular Disease

    Lauren Orr, Rebecca Woodhouse

    Advised by: Sula Mazimba (Cardiovascular Medicine), John Hossack (Biomedical Engineering)

    Each time the heart beats, a pressure waveform is transmitted through the central arteries toward the peripheral vessels. The shape of this waveform is impacted by arterial stiffness, and can be indicative of cardiovascular health using a technique called pulse wave analysis (PWA). In this project, we sought to create a device that uses PWA to non-invasively measure the pulse waveform from the finger with a pulse oximeter in order to quantify cardiovascular health. This project consisted of three major components: we conducted a research study to collect patient data at the UVA Hospital, we used machine learning algorithms to analyze this data to apply it to new waveforms, and we refined the prototype of the device to include a touch screen user interface on the device in order to facilitate use. The ultimate goal of this device is to create a more accessible and accurate cardiovascular screening tool in order to encourage preventative healthcare and early treatment.

     

    Session B

    9:15 PM

    MR5 1005

    A Retrospective Analysis of Emergency Department Patients who Leave Without Being Seen (LWBS) and Design and Simulation of a Rapid Medical Evaluation Framework

    Matthew Ehlers

    Advised by: Mary Murray (Emergency Medicine)

    Emergency department (ED) overcrowding has become an increasingly common problem over the last couple of decades, resulting in longer patient waiting times and patients choosing to leave without being seen (LWBS) by a physician. The LWBS population has been identified as a high-risk and vulnerable population, motivating the need for a data analysis algorithm to perform a retrospective analysis on LWBS patients who returned to the UVA ED for the same complaint within 48 hours to evaluate whether their acuity (i.e., severity) of condition worsened for having waited. Using the analysis, a framework for a rapid medical evaluation (RME) area of the ED was designed with the goal of reducing the LWBS rate. A simulation for this framework was subsequently designed and executed in MATLAB to evaluate its potential efficacy prior to proposing it to the ED administration as a pilot trial candidate for reducing LWBS.

  • Session B: Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials

    Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials

    Session B

    8:00 PM

    MR5 1041

    A Novel Electromechanical Bioreactor for Skeletal Muscle Tissue Engineering

    Benedict Albergo, Curtis Creech, Aparna Kola, Caroline Roden

    Advised by: Steven Caliari (Chemical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering)

    Our team is designing and fabricating a bioreactor to electromechanically stimulate a tissue engineered scaffold in a novel approach to treat volumetric muscle loss. The collagen-glycosaminoglycan polypyrrole scaffold, developed by the Caliari Lab, will be seeded with muscle derived and neural stem cells and is three dimensional, anisotropically aligned, and electrically conductive. We have specifically focused on the development of a bioreactor system with mechanical and electrical components optimized for function, sterility, and manufacturing. We have also developed an electromechanical circuit to control uniaxial strain and biphasic electrical pulsing including multiple LCD touchscreens for an enhanced graphical user interface.

     

    Session B

    8:15 PM

    MR5 1041

    Design of a Uniform and Tunable Light Source for Photolysis-based Expansion of 3D Cultured Mesenchymal Stem Cells

    Hannah Bolen, Golnar Mostashari, Alexandra Rashid

    Advised by: Donald Griffin (Biomedical Engineering)

    The passaging of cells cultured in 3D hydrogel scaffolds using proteolytic enzymes is inherently damaging to cell-generated local ECM and cell surface proteins, which is detrimental to expedited cell passaging and contributes to post-seeding lag times in cell expansion. An alternative to enzymolysis of scaffolds is to work with light-sensitive MAP hydrogel that can be degraded upon exposure to specific wavelengths of light. To enable the design and study of such cutting-edge cell culture approaches requires the employ of a well-characterized and tunable light source that can be used in a tissue culture system. This project involved the concept design of such a light source “platform” that can be used in a humidified tissue culture hood with standard tissue culture consumables, the creation and characterization of the concept device, and eventual work with graduate researchers to validate the device using the photoactive MAP hydrogel scaffold.

     

    Session B

    8:30 PM

    MR5 1041

    Gas and Liquid Gradient Bioreactor to Mimic Tumor Microenvironment

    Emma Lunn, Elizabeth Wood, Evan Clark

    Advised by: Thomas Genetta (Radiation Oncology)

    The goal of our project was to develop and validate a novel bioreactor that will allow for more accurate in vitro simulation of the dynamic tumor microenvironment. We combined two distinct, gradient-generating technologies into a single device which enables the delivery of simultaneous gradients of both gas and liquid solutes to cultured cells. We used stereolithography to print the bioreactor, cultured cancer cells on a PDMS membrane within the bioreactor, and exposed the cells to a gradient of cell media and oxygen to validate the design. We believe this tool will allow future researchers to learn more about cancer biology and improve efficiency of testing of anti-cancer therapeutics.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-wood-8ab8b0197/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-lunn-66125618a/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/evan-clark-3a0253223/

     

    Session B

    8:45 PM

    MR5 1041

    Encapsulation of Dissociated Beta Cells in Microporous Annealed Particle Hydrogel for Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

    Jonathan Daniel, Alessia Randazzo

    Advised by: Donald Griffin (Biomedical Engineering)

    The project goal is to develop a novel islet cell transplant treatment as an alternative to insulin injections for individuals faced with Type 1 Diabetes. Although insulin is effective in restoring insulin levels exogenously,  the high cost of these treatments make them unaffordable for many individuals. Therefore, our treatment solves this concern by developing a cell transplant of insulin producing cells that will restore insulin endogenously. This will be done by encapsulating dissociated beta cells within microporous annealed particle (MAP) gel and injected into the body. The MAP gel will serve as a bioinert scaffold that will promote integration into the body and protection against an inflammatory response.

    www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-daniel-14a496212

     

    Session B

    9:00 PM

    MR5 1041

    Manufacture and Validation of Cell Culture Inserts with Electrospun Nanofiber Membranes

    Sania Saeed, Meredith Davis,  Eric Donohue, Sarah Grasmeder

    Advised by: Lauren Costella (Luna Labs USA, George Christ (Biomedical Engineering, Orthopaedic Surgery)

    Our project is the optimization, manufacture, and validation of electrospun biodegradable nanofiber membranes used in cell culture inserts for advanced cell culture applications. We partnered with Dr. George Christ and Lauren Costella to build off the previous work done on Luna Labs’ RESORB cell culture insert project. Using mammalian cell culture protocols and electrospinning methods, we conducted a series of trials to optimize a staining protocol to characterize cell viability. Based on this protocol, we tested the effects of plasma treating on cell viability and experimentally evaluated four different membrane chemistries for compatibility with myoblast cell culture.

     

    Session B

    9:15 PM

    MR5 1041

    Device for automated selection and placement of cell clusters within biofabricated tissue constructs

    Garrett McQuain, Matthew Runyan, Timothy Luu

    Advised by: Christopher Highley (Biomedical Engineering)

    Our project seeks to design a low-cost micromanipulator capable of aspirating cell clusters 500 microns in diameter. This project will employ open source assemblies and code to design a semi-automated micromanipulator. The objective of this project is to accelerate bioprinting research.

  • Session B: Medical Devices: Electrical/Systems

    Medical Devices: Electrical/Systems

    Session B

    8:00 PM

    MR5 2005

    Voice Restoration Device Using Machine Learning of Acoustic and Visual Output During Electrolarynx Use

    Sameer Agrawal, Surabhi Ghatti, Medhini Rachamallu, Katherine Taylor

    Advised by: James J. Daniero (Otolaryngology), Haibo Dong (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Rachel Jonas (Otolaryngology)

    After patients undergo a total laryngectomy, alternate methods of speech are necessary to facilitate normal communication. One non-invasive voice restoration method is the electrolarynx, which has fewer complications than other forms of voice restoration therapy but results in a lower quality of speech. The proposed solution to this dilemma is the creation of a dual-pipeline deep neural network (DNN) to translate lip movements and audio output from electrolarynx use into intelligible speech. The DNN was trained using lip movements and electrolarynx output extracted from recordings of the Rainbow Passage as input with the expected speech phoneme as the associated output; it was tested on snippets of conversational speech to test the accuracy of the predicted phonemes. This DNN is intended to be eventually implemented in an application that translates lip movements to coherent speech, allowing laryngectomees to enjoy easier communication and an improved quality of life.

    https://github.com/ghattisurabhi/Electrolarynx-Capstone.git

     

    Session B

    8:15 PM

    MR5 2005

    Differentiating Acute Otitis Media (AOM) from Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) Using Autofluorescence of NADPH in Neutrophils

    Abigail Boitnott, Megan Talarek

    Advised by: William Guilford (Biomedical Engineering)

    Physicians visually differentiate between otitis media types (AOM and OME) using an otoscope. Type of otoscope, eyesight of the physician, temperament of the patient, and severity of the fluid buildup make these diagnoses unreliable about 27% of the time. About 2.2 million cases of AOM occur annually among children, amounting to a direct cost of $4 billion per year due to the unnecessary removal of adenoids or tonsils, over-prescription of antibiotics, and loss of hearing. In infected effusion, it is logical that there is a corresponding immune response and therefore neutrophils present. NADPH is present in neutrophils responding to infection; therefore, the goal of this project is to develop a successful proof of concept for detecting NADPH as a surrogate measure of neutrophils in the middle ear, thereby indicating if infected fluid is in the space and enabling a physician to make a correct diagnosis.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/abigail-boitnott-8b11481ba/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/megantalarek/

     

    Session B

    8:30 PM

    MR5 2005

    Patient Augmented Reality and Vibratory Array (PARVA)

    Kathryn Costanzo, Lauren Gonzalez, Marissa Marine

    Advised by: Zoe Roecker (School of Medicine), Claudia Gutierrez (Otolaryngology), James Daniero (Otolaryngology)

    The goal of this project is to reduce discomfort during in-office laryngology procedures to improve the patient experience and to reduce the conversion rate of procedures to the operating room, saving patient’s both time and money. This will be accomplished by using both vibratory stimulation in conjunction with augmented reality to distract patients from pain sensation. The team designed a vibrational device to be worn on the neck during procedures in conjunction with playing a simple augmented reality game. This prototype will be used in an IRB-approved study by the UVA Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery to assess its effectiveness in the clinical setting. This project was funded by the UVA Department of Otolaryngology Subinoy Das OtoRhinoLaryngology Innovation Grant.

     

    Session B

    8:45 PM

    MR5 2005

    Redesigning the Incentive Spirometer

    Isabelle Talicuran, Paul Miranda, Theodore Vu

    Advised by: Masahiro Morikawa (Family Medicine)

    The incentive spirometer is a plastic, non-electrical device that patients regularly use alone to practice fully inflating their lungs and help with lung recovery. Patients are instructed to inhale slowly and deeply into the device for 15 minutes, and this procedure can occur every two hours.  However, our advisor Dr. Morikawa has observed concern about patient adherence with the incentive spirometer due to the nature of it being unengaging and sometimes confusing to use.  This causes patients to not use the device without monitoring, resulting in slower respiratory recovery.  Therefore, the goal of this capstone project is to combat these problems by developing a gamified version of the incentive spirometer to improve patient adherence.

     

    Session B

    9:00 PM

    MR5 2005

    Design of a Sensor-Enabled Testing Device for the TrueClot Tourniquet Application Trainer

    Nahom Endashaw, Josephine Johannes, Molly Luckinbill

    Advised by: Brad Day (Luna Labs USA)

    Luna Labs USA organized a capstone project to validate that their TrueClot® Tourniquet Application Trainer realistically simulates the pressure required to occlude the brachial artery when a tourniquet is applied to a mock patient. When in use, the trainer is secured over the mock patient’s left shoulder, and simulated blood is pumped through its tubing and out of a simulated wound at the base of the trainer. An individual then practices applying a tourniquet around the outside of the trainer on the patient’s upper arm. The design of a sensor-enabled testing device allows for the pressure applied to the trainer by the tourniquet to be measured and compared to the amount of pressure clinically required for full occlusion of the brachial artery. The comparisons between the expected and observed occlusion pressures will inform Luna Labs of the clinical relevance of the training resulting from the use of their product.

  • Session B: Systems Biology & Biomedical Data Science

    Systems Biology & Biomedical Data Science

    Session B

    8:00 PM

    MR5 3005

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Compare Mechanisms of Smooth Muscle Cell Plasticity in Quiescent and Proliferative States in Coronary Artery Disease

    Diana Albarracin

    Advised by: Mete Civelek (Biomedical Engineering), Noah Perry (Biomedical Engineering)

    Cardiovascular diseases represent 31% of all deaths, making them the leading cause of death globally. Current therapies for coronary artery disease (CAD) target its risk factors, such as blood lipid levels and blood pressure. We are trying to design a computational method that will allow us to identify disease susceptibility mechanisms that function in the vessel wall where the disease develops. To this end, this project aims to combine previously used methods to interrogate CAD and mechanisms associated with, specifically by investigating dysregulated gene co-expression networks between healthy and atherogenic smooth muscle cells.

     

    Session B

    8:15 PM

    MR5 3005

    Image Processing Tool for Quantifying Immunostained Sections of Fibrotic Cardiac Tissue

    Jakub Lipowski

    Advised by: Shayn Peirce-Cottler (Biomedical Engineering)

    The days following a heart attack are comprised of complex intercellular interactions. With images of infarcted cardiac tissue from rats, we can begin to understand the dynamics between cell populations during the healing process following a heart attack. This capstone project deliverable is an image processing software that quantifies these cell populations across entire tissue sections and within the vicinity of key structures such as a blood vessels. Aimed at streamlining the data collection process, the software significantly reduces the amount of time researchers have to spend on gathering accurate data from images.

    www.linkedin.com/in/jakub-lipowski

     

    Session B

    8:30 PM

    MR5 3005

    Genetic Regulation of Circular RNA Expression in Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells and Vascular Traits

    Dillon Lue

    Advised by: Mete Civelek (Biomedical Engineering, Center for Public Health Genomics), Redouane Aherrahrou (Center for Public Health Genomics)

    We employ a systems genetics approach to identify circRNA transcripts at a genome wide level and their relevance in cardiovascular traits. We quantified circRNA expression across 151 quiescent and proliferative human aortic SMCs from multiethnic donors. To characterize the genetic regulation of circRNA expression, we associated the genotypes of 6.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with circRNA abundance and found 96 circRNAs which were associated with genetic loci. To identify the relevance of circRNAs in cardiovascular disease, we overlapped genetic loci associated with circRNA expression with vascular disease related GWAS loci. Overall, our results provide mechanistic insight into the the genetic basis of vascular disease traits mediated by circRNA expression.

     

    Session B

    8:45 PM

    MR5 3005

    Designing a hybrid multiscale computational model to explore multicell spatial patterning driven by signaling-induced differential adhesion

    Nikita Sivakumar

    Advised by: Shayn Peirce-Cottler (Biomedical Engineering)

    Several critical biological processes, including embryogenesis and tumorigenesis, rely on the ability of individual cells to collectively form multicell patterns. In these heterogeneous multicell systems, cell-cell signaling induces differential adhesion between individual cells and the resulting behavior of cells preferentially adhering to each other drives tissue-level patterning. However, the relative contributions of and interdependency between signaling and differential adhesion processes in pattern formation still remains unclear. We designed and validated a multiscale computational model of how cell-cell signaling induced differential adhesion drives multicell patterning. Systematic exploration of our model maps combinations of signaling and adhesion parameters to distinct multicell patterns, such as core/pole, core/shell, striped, bull's eye, and soccer ball patterns.

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.05.455232v2

    https://github.com/nikita-sivakumar/multicell

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikita-sivakumar-147a91190/

     

    Session B

    9:00 PM

    MR5 3005

    Characterization of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Through Cell Death Pathway Construction and Analysis

    Aubrey Winger

    Advised by: Kate Owen (AMPEL Biosolutions)

    The goal of this Capstone project is to understand how four major cell death pathways

    contribute to the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and how the individual and combined effect of these pathways influences disease progression and/or the development of clinical manifestations. These four cell death pathways (ferroptosis, pyroptosis, necroptosis, and apoptosis) are characterized by unique gene signatures, which were validated and analyzed through the generation of enrichment scores in individual patients using gene set variation analysis (GSVA). Additionally, a novel gene module was completed characterizing phagocytosis, which is implicated in the dysregulation of cell debris cleanup. Machine learning models were implemented to determine the cell death pathways with the most predictive value for disease status using a gene module importance score.

    www.linkedin.com/in/aubrey-winger-2569561ab

     

    Session B

    9:15 PM

    MR5 3005

    Creating Computational Models of the Cardiomyocyte Cell Cycle and DREAM Complex to Understand the Dynamics of Cardiomyocyte Renewal

    Michelle Wu, Catherine Zhao

    Advised by: Jeff Saucerman (Biomedical Engineering), Bryana Harris (Biomedical Engineering)

    We have developed computational models using logic-based ordinary differential equations that show the dynamics of both the cardiomyocyte (CM) cell cycle and the DREAM complex. The CM cell cycle model estimates the reaction rate constants, which regulate the movement of cells between the cell cycle phases, allowing us to make predictions on the relative concentrations of cells in each phase when researching cardiomyocyte renewal dynamics. The DREAM complex has shown great promise in adult cardiomyocyte renewal after myocardial infarction, and knockdown and overexpression of regulators can reveal important interactions within the signaling pathway. These models can be used to predict and develop future targeted therapies for CM regeneration post-heart attack. We have also used Python to recreate Netflux, the Saucerman Lab's MATLAB-based software for developing dynamic computational models that represent biological networks.

    https://github.com/saucermanlab

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-wu-a677831b8/

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-zhao1/

     

    Session B

    9:30 PM

    MR5 3005

    Designing Explainable Machine Learning Methods for RNA-Sequencing Analysis of Atherosclerosis

    Jainam Modh

    Advised by: Andrew Warren (UVA Biocomplexity Institute), Chunhong Mao (UVA Biocomplexity Institute)

    Atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (CAD) account for at least 30% of all deaths globally. The primary goal of this project is to identify and understand the relationship between different feature selection and machine learning methods which differentiate between early and late stages of atherosclerosis and the biological features for which they select. A successful pipeline was developed for the implementation and analysis of an explainable machine learning classifer for muli-cell RNA-seq data. Different feature selection methods were analyzed and compared for their classification performance and biological relevance to atherosclerosis.

    linkedin.com/in/jainam-modh/

    https://github.com/ModhJainam/GPAA_Capstone