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Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing

Our Labs and Groups

Explore our active research labs, groups, centers. Our faculty are leading research in tissue engineering, biomaterials development, computational modeling, biomolecular engineering, biomechanical engineering and more.

Acute Stress Center

The Acute Stress Center's research focuses on characterizing, modeling, and predicting biomarkers associated with stressful situations. Ongoing activities include monitoring psychological responses from clinicians working in hospital ERs to prevent burnout; contactless measurements of changes in physiological response and VOCs for credibility assessment; and automated linguistic feature analysis for interview management. ASC's resources include GC-MS & HPLC, multispectral imaging, EEG biomonitoring, additive manufacturing and teststand, engineering ML and AI embedded Decision Support Systems.

Area: Acute Stress; Credibility Assessment; Physician Burnout; GC-MS; HPLC; Multispectral Imaging; EEG Biomonitoring; NLP; ML & AI; Decision Support Systems
Director: Nicholas Boltin

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Lab

The BTE research group exploits biomimetic principles and developmentally inspired strategies using nature as a guide to rationally design and develop materials and devices to address pressing problems in medicine and biology. The BTE research thrusts include the fundamental and practical aspects in the development of biomaterials and medical devices for stem cell delivery, tissue regeneration, cancer therapy, and protein delivery. Specifically, the BTE research thrusts include the development of multicellular tissue models to understand the effect of physicochemical, biomechanical, and cellular factors in the microenvironment on tissue organization and maintenance.

Area: Biomaterials; Targeted drug delivery; Tissue engineering; Regenerative engineering; Bionanocomposites; Biomaterials with hierarchical structure; Environmentally sustainable biomaterials
Director: Jabbari, Esmaiel

Biosensing and Biomarker Research Laboratory

The mission of the Biosensing and Biomarker Research Laboratory is to focus on advancing the state of knowledge of nanotechnology and biomolecular engineering to develop the next generation of biosensing approaches for basic biochemical studies and medicine. Current research interests include in vitro diagnostics for infectious diseases, next-generation protein sequencing, and nanoscale mapping of biomolecular interactions.

Area: Biosensors; Biomarkers; Nanotechnology; Personalized Diagnostics; Sequencing
Director: Liu, Chang

Cardiovascular Mechanics and Materials Lab

The cardiovascular (CV) system, while multi-faceted and complex, can be functionally understood through biomechanical analyses. In our lab, we focus on characterizing, modeling, and predicting physiological and pathophysiological CV biomechanics, and in doing so seek to advance the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of a variety of disease states. Special emphasis is placed on biomaterial-based interventions, where therapeutic gains are predicated on favorable alteration of CV mechanics. Ongoing research activity integrates theoretical/computational modeling, bench-top experiments, and animal studies.

Area: Biomechanics; Biomaterials; Devices
Director: Shazly, Tarek

Laboratories for Soft Matter Engineering-Biohybrid Materials

Research in Taheri-Qazvini’s group in the Laboratories for Soft Matter Engineering (LSME) focuses on the rational design, synthesis, and structure-property relation of soft materials for healthcare and biomedical applications. Specifically, our lab is interested in harnessing charge-driven self-assembly between biomacromolecules and two-dimensional nanomaterials for designing hybrid soft materials. This covers a broad class of systems in several fields, with problems including biofabrication, biosensing, environmental remediation, and cellular motions.

Area: Soft matter design; Organic-inorganic hybrid biomaterials; Bioprinting
Director: Taheri-Qazvini, Nader

Laboratory for Novel Processing of Biomaterials and Biomolecules

In our lab we focus on low-temperature processes for disinfection and sterilization of biomedical materials and devices, and on decellularization of naturally-derived tissue engineering scaffolds. These processes are enabled by utilizing compressed liquid or supercritical carbon dioxide as the main solvent. Research in this lab requires understanding fundamentals including phase equilibrium thermodynamics, cell microbiology, biochemistry and structureal mechanics of tissues. We collaborate with the UofSC School of Medicine on these projects.

Area: Sterilization; Decellularization; Cleaning; Chemical modification of biomaterials
Director: Matthews, Michael A.

Microfluidics and Bioimaging Laboratory

The Microfluidics and Bioimaging Lab at the University of South Carolina pursues fundamental and applied research in multidisciplinary fields, including micro/nanofluidics, electrokinetics, lab-on-a-chip, far field optical nanoscopy, super-resolution imaging, cancer detection, fluorescence spectroscopy, fluid dynamics, turbulence and mixing.

Area: Micro/nanofluidics; Electrokinetics; Lab-on-a-chip; Far field optical nanoscopy and super-resolution imaging; Cancer detection; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Fluid dynamics; Turbulence and mixing
Director: Wang, Guiren

Protein Aggregation and Neuroinflammation Laboratory

Research interests of the Protein Aggregation and Neuroinflammation Laboratory emphasize the role of amyloid-β aggregation in Alzheimer’s disease On-going research projects focus on investigating how Aβ aggregates elicit inflammation in neuronal and vascular cells, designing therapeutics that may attenuate this inflammation, and utilizing cell response to detect physiological concentrations of aggregates.

Area: Disease detection; Amyloid; Alzheimer’s disease; Drug development; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation; Protein aggregation
Director: Moss, Melissa

TGFβSignalopathy Lab

Area: Transforming growth factor beta ligands; Heart valve disease; Aortic calcification; Aortic aneurysm; Congenital heart disease
Director: Azhar, Mohamad

The Evans Laboratory

How do blood vessels respond when blocked or injured? Can this response be leveraged to treat inflammatory vascular diseases? The Evans Laboratory studies the vascular response to thrombosis with a view to improving treatments for inflammatory vascular diseases including acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Director: Colin Evans

The Laboratory of Vascular Biology (LVB)

The Laboratory of Vascular Biology (LVB) studies the mechanisms associated with the vascular-immune network in hypertension, metabolic syndrome and sepsis.

Area: Physiology and Pharmacology; Cardiovascular Diseases; Endothelium Dysfunction; Vascular Contraction and Remodeling; Inflammation.
Director: Camilla F. Wenceslau

Translational Immunology Laboratory

The major research focus of the Translational Immunology Laboratory is the role of leukocytes in atherosclerosis and cancer, especially how macrophages and dendritic cells modulate atherogenesis and cancer progression and metastasis. A special interest of the laboratory is to develop novel agents to treat atherosclerosis and breast cancer by targeting macrophages and dendritic cells.

Area: Cancer immunology; Innate immunity; Breast cancer; Atherosclerosis
Director: Fan, Daping

Uline Research Group

The Uline Research Group works to understand how complex interactions at interfaces couple to create phenomena observed in chemical and biological systems. We currently focus on molecular modeling of biological interfaces, specifically phase transitions and binding in lipid bilayers and surfactant-driven nematic ordering transitions in liquid-crystal thin films. Other interests include bubble and droplet nucleation theory, molecular dynamics simulations in the isothermal-isobaric ensemble, and effects of multivalent ions on the charge regulation in tethered polyelectrolytes.

Area: Biophysics; Soft matter; Biomaterials; Statistical mechanics; Thermodynamics; Nucleation
Director: Uline, Mark

Vascular and Integrative Physiology (VIP) Laboratory

The Vascular and Integrative Physiology (VIP) Lab studies vascular physiology and cardiovascular disease pathophysiology. Specific research interests at present include autophagy, energy sensing, and ketogenic interventions.

Area: Physiology, cardiovascular diseases, aging, vascular function, endothelium, smooth muscle, metabolism, autophagy, inflammation
Director: Cam McCarthy

Vascular Biomechanics and Failure Lab

Dr. Lessner’s research focuses on biomechanical stress-induced remodeling and failure mechanics of arteries in both normal aging and in multiple pathological conditions, including atherosclerotic plaque rupture, aortic aneurysm, hypertension, and peripheral arterial disease. Research in the Lessner lab aims to understand both biomechanical and biological factors leading to pathological blood vessel failure. We collaborate with several faculty in Mechanical Engineering to identify material parameters of normal and diseased arterial tissue, and to perform computational simulations of vascular remodeling and arterial failure. Dr. Lessner is currently co-investigator on a project that seeks to develop a novel, non-surgical approach to treat calcified vessels in peripheral arterial disease using EDTA-loaded nanoparticles. She also has expertise in analyzing clinical imaging data, focusing in particular on analysis of vascular calcification in computed tomographic angiograms(CTAs). She currently collaborates with several faculty in the Dept. of Surgery on studies aimed to improve risk stratification in patients with peripheral arterial disease.

Area: Biomechanics; Digital image correlation; Aneurysm; Peripheral arterial disease; Plaque rupture
Director: Lessner, Susan

Vascular Pharmacology & Physiology and Exercise

Research interests of the pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological tools for preventing or treating vascular injuries, erectile dysfunction, and bladder complications in animal models of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Area: Vascular dysfunction; Erectile dysfunction; Bladder complications; Innate immune system; Type-2 Diabetes; Obesity; Hypertension; Physical Exercise
Director: Priviero, Fernanda

Vascular physiology in hypertension and sexual dysfunction

The physiology of smooth muscle, with particular emphasis placed on: 1) vascular reactivity in hypertension and diabetes, 2) penile and clitoral erection in sexual dysfunction, 3) mechanisms of bladder dysfunction in diabetes, 4) cellular and subcellular mechanisms of contraction and relaxation of vascular smooth muscle (cell signaling, electrogenic sodium pump, subcellular calcium distribution, monovalent cation movements, nitric oxide, RhoA/Rho kinase, etc.), 5) adrenergic neurotransmission in blood vessels, and 6) intercellular communication between smooth muscle cells.

Area: Innate immune responses, damage-associated molecular patterns, drug development
Director: R. Clinton Webb

Wei Research Laboratory

Dr. Tao Wei's lab focuses on functional materials and biotechnologies using the combination of multi-scale simulations, experiments and machine learning.

Director: Tao Wei



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