Photo Tim Whitehead and a student in the lab.

Expanded research in this area is a top priority of the college. There are several groups on which we will base our growth: nanomedicine for diagnosis and treatment, as well as for drug development; identification of critical paths in selected proteomic processes (e.g., renal, cardiovascular), using a system biology approach; and device development (e.g., telemedicine for breast examinations, non-invasive diagnosis of cardio- and other critical functions, ultrasound and microwave imaging and therapy, tissue engineering, neuroprosthetics, and new sensor development).

In the News

Commercializing biosensor technology

THE NEXT PHASE: Commercialization of biosensor technology

R. Mark Worden is using his expertise to adapt his patented biosensor technology so it can be used in portable, low-cost, hand-held sensors similar to the personal glucose meters used by diabetics.Millions of Americans with diabetes use a variety of meters to check their blood glucose levels and manage the disease. This concept is spurring Michigan State University (MSU) AgBioResearch scientist R. Mark Worden to commercialize a biosensor system that would have widespread applications in other venues, such as food processing facilities or clinical laboratories that assess high volume samples from many sources.

Worden, a professor in the MSU Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CHEMS), began working in oxidation-reduction reactions, also known as redox, in the late 1990s. These chemical reactions are important in a number of areas, including biofuel production. As the research progressed, Worden developed expertise in nanotechnology and biocatalysts, which are often used to perform chemical transformations on organic compounds.

Over the years, various stages of this project received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations. In looking at various aspects of these reactions and trying to exploit their economic benefits, Worden developed a biosensor system that was recently patented by MSU.

Now Worden is collaborating on a new NSF project with Paul Satoh, MSU adjunct professor in engineering and food science and former vice president of research at Neogen, a Lansing-based company that develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety.

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Water sensor research is inspired by natureMatt Mutka is collaborating on a water sensor that will jump and stride across contaminated water to aid environmental monitoring.

When an oil pipeline burst near Kalamazoo in the summer of 2010, an estimated one million gallons of crude leaked into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Contaminants snaked along in sinuous patterns, eventually winding through 35 miles of waterways during one of the costliest spills in the country’s history.

More than 30 households were evacuated and scores of others were warned about the quality of drinking water in the region. 

What was needed was a network of cost-efficient environmental sensors that could have been deployed quickly and networked for data collection as the pollution meandered into residential and recreational areas.

That’s the project goal for a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant that began in October in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The research is a collaboration of Matt Mutka, professor and chair of computer science and engineering; Li Xiao, associate professor of computer science and engineering; and Ning Xi, University Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering.

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Retired professor inducted into Hall of fame

Robert Hubbard helped convince a slow-to-adapt motor sports industry that the HANS device was a valuable piece of equipment.

Robert Hubbard, a retired Michigan State University professor who developed a safety device that is credited with saving the lives of countless racecar drivers, is now part of the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame.

Hubbard and Jim Downing, a driver himself and Hubbard’s brother-in-law, developed the Head and Neck Support device, or HANS, in the mid-1980s, following the death of a racer friend who died as a result of a skull fracture.

Hubbard and Downing recognized that racers were being killed because their torsos were restrained but their heads were not. Although unknown at the time, this has been the mechanism of basilar skull fractures, the most common cause of racers' deaths.

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 Peter Lillehoj wins NSF CAREER Award

As the country braces for another wintery flu season, how cool would it be if your undershirt or socks not only kept you warm but also warned you about an oncoming infection, too?

A $400,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award granted to Peter Lillehoj, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, may soon make that a reality.Peter Lillehoj is working to advance wearable sensor technology.

Lillehoj will spend the next five years advancing research on innovative wearable biosensors that can be used to detect illnesses and monitor health. Funding began Jan. 1, 2014.

"This technology will lead to lightweight and unobtrusive sensing systems that can be directly integrated onto fabrics and garments,” said Lillehoj.

One of Lillehoj’s overall goals for this project is to advance wearable sensor technology which is currently limited to measuring physiological parameters, such as heart and respiratory rates, and blood pressure.

“Little has been done to create wearable sensors for biomolecular detection. This research is aimed at developing wearable sensing systems that can detect biomarkers in secreted body fluids, such as sweat or urine.”

Lillehoj will also focus on developing textile batteries that are activated by body fluids for on-demand electricity generation. Based on this approach, the same fluids that are being detected could also power the device, minimizing its overall size and weight.

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