Biology and Biomedical Engineering Faculty Projects

Developing Brain-Computer Interface Demonstrations

Professor Alan Chiu

The explosion of information in the field of neuroscience has tremendously increased our understanding in the structure and functions of the brain. This emerging knowledge has enabled novel treatment options for many neurological diseases and disabilities. Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is an integrated product of engineering and neuroscience. BCI can assist people limited by neurological damage by giving them the opportunity to interact with the external world and potentially control devices in their daily lives. In additional to neuroprosthetic rehabilitation, BCI can also be used in the development of consumer electronics, entertainment devices, and military applications. To help support the Bioinstrumentation track in the Biomedical Engineering program, student researcher(s) will integrate existing electroencephalogram (EEG) recording and signal processing capability in my laboratory to different devices for mobility (Wheelchair), entertainment (Humanoid robot), and military (Drone helicopter) applications. Students will be involved in developing data acquisition protocol for imagined motor movement tasks, building software virtual instruments and electronic interfaces that process information from EEG electrodes and other sensors, as well as creating demonstration modules for BE courses.

An examination of virus species and their zoonotic transmission among wild amphibian and bee populations

Professor Jennifer O'Connor

In recent years, many viruses (such as Hantaviruses and SARS coronavirus) have emerged in the human population. The emergence of these new viruses has focused much attention on the monitoring of viruses and their diseases.   Even with all this focus, the scientific community is unable to predict when and if a new virus will emerge.  The focus of this research is to employ the techniques of molecular biology to probe for viruses in nature and to examine their patterns of emergence.  Amphibians and bees both serve as good models to study the emergence of viruses because the amphibian and bee populations have been declining globally and at least one family of viruses, the iridoviruses, has been implicated in mass die-offs worldwide in both populations.  It is important to search for other potential viral disease threats prior to their emergence in these populations.  This study seeks to investigate the emergence of viral diseases in amphibians and bees by tracking the prevalence and transmission of viruses in these populations.  Specifically, iridoviruses are monitored using PCR-based methods in local (Vigo County, IN) amphibian and bee populations.  In addition, we seek viruses that have yet to be discovered in the same populations using a PCR-based method using degenerative primers.

Visual Tracking and Interception of Flyballs

Professor Jameel Ahmed
Coach Jeff Jenkins
Professor John Rickert

How does a baseball player catch a flyball? Several theoretical models describing how people track flyballs exist, but experimental data is sparse. Digital imaging technology can be used to gather real-world data from people at several skill levels applying different techniques. The images can be processed, analyzed, and compared to proposed models.

Identification of a potentially novel phytoplasmic species in variegated White Trillium

Applied Biology 250px

Professor J. Peter Coppinger

A population of Trillium grandiflorum (White Trillium) in southeast Michigan exhibit symptoms typical of infection by a plant pathogen belonging to an enigmatic group of bacteria called phytoplasma.  While normal White Trillium has large white showy flowers, the flowers of infected plants have green petals.  While it has long been speculated that green-flowered White Trillium is infected by a species of phytoplasma, it has never been confirmed. Since no published information could be obtained concerning the identification of the infectious agent in White Trillium, the primary focus of this on-going research is to determine if a phytoplasmic species is associated with the symptoms.

Our preliminary results suggest that this phytoplasma species may be a heretofore undescribed species or subspecies.  Using a modified method of DNA extraction, cloning, 16S rDNA sequencing, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), this research aims to confirm the presence of a phytoplasma associated with infected petals of White Trillium.

JRSI Orthopaedic Biomedical Engineering Laboratory

Various Faculty, contact Scott Small x8633;

The JRSI orthopaedic laboratory is a collaborative research effort between the Rose-Hulman ABBE department and the Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana Research Foundation based out of the Center for Hip and Knee Surgery in Mooresville, Indiana. Projects conducted in the laboratory are joint partnerships between students, faculty, research staff, orthopaedic surgeons, and industry. The research program places an emphasis on the evaluation of surgical techniques and device design in total knee arthroplasty, partial knee arthroplasty, and total hip arthroplasty procedures. Investigative techniques include materials testing, digital image correlation, strain gage analysis, medical imaging and computational modeling. Recent projects presented by students at national engineering conferences have included: "A Biomechanical Analysis of Implant-Induced Cup Deformation in Acetabular Cup Designs", "Factors Influencing Tibial Loading Following Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Finite Element Study", and "Biomechanical Assessment of Tibial Component Slope in Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty". Additional information can be found at

Postural control following total joint replacement

Professor Renee Rogge

Pressure-sensitive platforms are powerful tools for assessing the load distribution on the feet during locomotion.  This low-profile device also captures barefoot plantar pressures that can be used to analyze high-pressure spots, locate the center of pressure, estimate the net vertical ground reaction force, and analyze postural sway.

The student researcher(s) involved with this project will investigate the effect of total joint replacement (knee and/or hip) on the postural control of total joint replacement recipients.

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