University of Minnesota
Institute for Engineering in Medicine

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12/22/16 - IEM Director Bin He and Research Team Made Breakthrough in Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

A first-of-its-kind mind-controlled robotic arm that utilizes technology developed by Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and director of IEM and the Center for Neuroengineering (CNE), was featured by a variety of media including the Wall Street Journal, Star Tribune, Fox News, and KSTP. "This is the first time in the world that people can operate a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in a complex 3-D environment using only their thoughts without a brain implant," says Dr. He. Building upon technology Dr. He developed for mind-controlled drones, the robotic arm system is a big step toward a future of medical applications that could range from rehabilitating stroke patients to helping paralyzed patients regain the ability to perform basic tasks in their everyday lives. The paper was published in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.

09/30/16 - Jerry Vitek and Colleagues Awarded $9 Million Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research

A recently-awarded Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research at the University of Minnesota will be led by IEM member Dr. Jerrold L. Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology. It is one of 9 such centers funded in the U.S., and will be supported with more than $9 Million of NIH funding over 5 years, with its research theme being "Circuit-based deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease." Dr. Vitek, who will serve as the center's Principal Investigator, says that the University of Minnesota has "a world-class multidisciplinary team to treat patients with Parkinson's disease, and because of our significant experience and expertise we are able to take on this complex and often debilitating movement disorder with a goal of improving patient's lives." Legislative support through the MnDRIVE Brain Conditions initiative played a key role in securing the center award for the University, according to Dr. Vitek. Two IEM Seed Group Grants also helped to facilitate the early development of the center's research.

University of Minnesota Named Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research

08/29/16 - David Odde and Colleagues Awarded an $8.2 Million NIH Grant for New Cancer Research Center; IEM Seed Grants Played Early Role

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. David J. Odde, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and his team, have been awarded a 5-year, $8.2 Million NIH Physical Sciences in Oncology Center (PSOC) grant from the National Cancer Institute. The development of the center project was supported by two IEM Group Grants since 2013. Dr. Odde is serving as the Project Leader (contact PI) for this Center for Modeling Tumor Cell Migration Mechanics, which is one of a nationwide network of 10 PSOC's. In addition to Dr. Odde, other key leaders include IEM Member Dr. David A. Largaespada (multiple PI), Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Development Genetics, of the Masonic Cancer Center, IEM Member Dr. Paolo Provenzano (core PI), Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Steven Rosenfeld (multiple PI), of the Cleveland Clinic. The center will include a team of biomedical engineers, cancer biologists, surgeons and oncologists from the University of Minnesota, who will collaborate with both the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic.

While common approaches to fighting cancer involve the attacking of cancer cells, the new center will instead explore how cancer cells can be prevented from migrating and ultimately metastasizing and invading vital organs, which are the primary causes of cancer deaths. The center will perform "integrated modeling and experiments to investigate the molecular mechanics of cell migration and how the tumor microenvironment regulates disease progression as a function of the underlying carcinoma genetics."

NIH Project: Center for Modeling Tumor Cell Migration Mechanics

06/20/16 - IEM Director Dr. He named recipient of the 2017 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award

Dr. Bin He, Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, has been named the recipient of 2017 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award for outstanding contributions to biomedical engineering, in particular in the field of neuroengineering and neuroimaging. IEEE is one of the largest professional organizations in the world with 400,000+ members. This Award is given annually to an individual or a team for exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions which have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and profession. This is the highest IEEE award in biomedical engineering given to a member(s) or non-member(s).

06/29/15 - Bin He Elected Chair-Elect of International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, was recently elected as the Chair-elect of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE) for 2015-2018. IAMBE consists currently of 119 fellows worldwide including 26 members of national academies. The Academy fellowship represents significant recognition of an individual's original scientific contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering. The Academy is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), the umbrella organization of all national societies of biomedical engineering consisting of over 120,000 members worldwide. Dr. Bob Nerem, the Institute Professor Emeritus at Georgia Tech and member of National Academy of Engineering, is the founding Chair of the Academy. Dr. Roger Kamm, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering at MIT and member of the Institute of Medicine, is the Past Chair.

International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering; About IAMBE

04/27/15 - IEM Director wins IEEE EMBS Academic Career Achievement Award

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, received the prestigious Academic Career Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), one of the world’s largest professional societies in bioengineering. This award is given annually to an individual “For outstanding contribution and achievement in the field of Biomedical Engineering as an educator, researcher, developer, or administrator who has had a distinguished career of twenty years or more in the field of biomedical engineering.” Scientific contributions and academic achievements are major criteria for the award, which represents the highest honor for the society to recognize one of its 10,000+ members each year. Past awardees include Bob Langer (MIT; tissue engineering) and Roger Barr (Duke University; bioelectricity), among others. Dr. He was recognized “For significant contributions to neuroengineering research and education.”


03/26/15 - University of Minnesota Selected as National Hub by NIH to Accelerate New Inventions to the Market

The University of Minnesota was recently selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of three sites in the nation to establish a strategic Research and Evaluation Hub (REACH), helping to promote commercialization and technology transfer in life sciences and biomedicine. To develop the hub, NIH will invest $3 million grant with another $3 million in matching U of M funds. The university’s MIN-REACH program will provide commercial expertise and resources needed for the development and commercialization of diagnostics, therapeutics, preventive medicine and medical devices. The program will establish new industry partnerships, strengthen existing partnerships, and provide entrepreneurial, commercial-style education for innovators to accelerate the pace at which innovations reach the marketplace. It will fund between 10-20 research projects each year.

The University’s hub, MIN-REACH, will be led by Dr. Charles Muscoplat (PI), Professor of Food Science and Nutrition. Along with Dr. Muscoplat, multiple members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) are taking lead roles on the project. Dr. Allison Hubel (Co-PI), director of the IEM-affiliated Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Bin He (Co-PI), IEM director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will jointly lead the medical devices side of the program. Dr. Vadim Gurvich, Associate Professor of Pharmacy and associate director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, will co-lead, with Dr. Muscoplat, the pharmaceutical side of the program. In addition to the 4 Co-PIs, several IEM members are participating in the MN-REACH grant, including Dr. Kevin Peterson (Co-I), from the Department of Family and Community Health and director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care, who will provide medical advice.

"MIN-REACH will play a crucial role in providing the coaching, training and expertise needed to focus our research efforts on commercial markets and accelerate the tech transfer process," said Brian Herman, vice president for research at the University of Minnesota.

"MN-REACH is closely related to the mission of IEM for promoting translational research moving basic discoveries to medical devices industry," said Bin He, IEM director. "The IEM has been heavily involved in the planning of this NIH REACH grant from the beginning. This NIH Hub program is another recognition of what we do and will further accelerate the translation of UMN research to industry and clinical practice."

Additional information about MIN-REACH can be found at the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research:
Discover – University of Minnesota selected as hub for NIH program to accelerate new inventions to the market

11/17/14 - IEM co-sponsored IEEE EMBS BRAIN Grand Challenges Conference in Washington DC

IEM successfully co-sponsored the IEEE EMBS BRAIN Grand Challenges Conference which was successfully held in Washington DC from November 13-14, 2014. The Conference had an outstanding line-up of keynote and plenary speakers including Dr. Tom Insel, Director of NIMH/NIH and Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director for Engineering of NSF, with over 340 participants from academia, industry and government. The participants had highly interactive discussions on grand challenges in BRAIN research and education, in mapping neural circuits and brain dynamics, and control and restoring neural functions. Thirteen outstanding young investigators including assistant professors, postdocs and graduate students won the BRAIN Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Bin He, IEM director, chaired the conference.

10/27/14 - Funding Begins for the BRAIN Initiative

Several members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) were recently awarded funds for the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies) initiative to map the brain. Announced by the Obama administration in 2013, the initiative aims to develop new technologies for basic neuroscience, generate ways to classify and analyze the brain’s trillions of connections, and create new ways to map brain circuits, among other goals. In all, over $100M in research grants have been initially awarded across multiple federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Science Foundation (NSF), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

IEM members were awarded three BRAIN projects from NIH and NSF. Dr. Wei Chen, Professor of Radiology and IEM Medical Imaging Theme Chair, will lead an NIH grant to develop MRIs capable of mapping brains at the cellular level. Dr. Mike Garwood and Dr. Tommy Vaughan, Professors of Radiology and IEM Members, will lead an NIH grant for their work to produce high-quality images from a portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine that can be worn like a helmet. Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM director, will lead a NSF BRAIN EAGER grant researching high-resolution imaging of brain activity through multi-modal acousto-electromagnetic technology, in which Drs. Emad Ebbini (Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Wei Chen and Jianping Wang (Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering) are participating.

“There is a tremendous momentum being built up in federal agencies on BRAIN initiative which promises to lead to a better understanding of the brain and enhance US leadership in brain related neurotechnology,” said Dr. Bin He, who serves in the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group, and was recently invited to the White House to discuss the BRAIN initiative.

Wall Street Journal
NSF News

08/28/2013 - IEM Co-Sponsors NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain

The NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain was successfully held August 13-14, 2013 in Arlington, VA, with co-sponsorship from the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine. About 30 invited scholars from various academic institutions participated in the 2-day workshop, together with about 35 government officials from NSF, NIH, DARPA, and other agencies. The Workshop had 12 featured scientific presentations by leaders in brain mapping and neurotechnologies, and highly interactive discussions throughout the 2-day meeting. A number of grand challenges have been identified, and will be summarized in the Workshop Report. Dr. Philip Rubin, Principal Assistant Director for Science of Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, delivered the keynote talk. IEM director Dr. Bin He chaired the Workshop. See below for more information. Visit the website for NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain>

08/17/2013 - IEM researchers awarded major NIH grant on sickle cell disease

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota (UMN) was awarded a major NIH program grant to study the mechanisms, quantification and therapy of pain in sickle cell diseases (SCD) patients. The team of researchers proposes a holistic approach to develop strategies to reduce the suffering of patients with SCD, using 4 focus areas of research: 1) Understand the mechanisms that underlie the processes that lead to difficult to treat pain. 2) Utilize existent therapies such as Cannabis-based treatment to find a ready to use solution to treat pain. 3) Discover newer targets to develop therapeutic strategies for better outcomes of analgesics to treat severe pain in SCD. 4) Develop novel neuroimaging techniques to objectively quantify pain. The program grant was awarded for $9.5 millions over five years starting August 15, 2013, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. “This grant is important because it addresses one of the most delibitating issues, pain responsible for the suffering of SCD patients who happen to be mostly under-represented minority. It brings together scientific approaches of engineering, biology, neuroscience, hematology and integrative medicine to understand pain and its treatment for sickle patients.” Said Kalpna Gupta, the lead PI of the grant, associate professor of medicine and theme co-chair in cellular and molecular bioengineering of IEM. Other PIs are Bin He, PhD (Biomedical Engineering and IEM), Donald Simone, PhD (Diagnostic and Biological Sciences), and Robert Hebbel, MD (Medicine) of UMN, and Donald Abrams, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco. All UMN PIs are IEM members.

08/13/2013 - The Annual IEM Conference and Retreat

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) Conference and Retreat is a yearly public event for UMN community to exchange ideas on engineering solutions to medical and health problems, and for UMN faculty/students to develop collaborations/interactions with other UMN researchers and with MN medical devices industry. The event will open with plenary keynote talks by nationally recognized scientific leaders, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, breakout sessions will be taking place to discuss research collaboration opportunities relating to Cardiovascular Engineering, Neuroengineering, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Medical and Biological Imaging, and Medical Devices. From mid-afternoon, there will be a poster/networking session highlighting research of IEM faculty and their research groups and facilitating interactions.

06/11/2013 - University of Minnesota researchers control flying robot using only the mind

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and professor of biomedical engineering, and his team made a major advancement in brain-computer interface (BCI) research, which demonstrates, for the first time, the ability for human subjects to use their thoughts to steer a flying robot around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring. The technology is completely noninvasive and uses brain waves (EEG) to detect and decode the “intention” of human subjects. The work was published in the Journal of Neural Engineering on June 5, 2013, and supported in part by grants from NSF, NIH and ONR, and in part by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. The noninvasive BCI technology is aimed at helping disabled patients to interact with the world, and may lead to a new generation of prostheses, assistive devices, and devices helping patients with neurodegenerative diseases or mental disorders. The work was featured in Nature, BBC, CNN, CBS, New York Times, Scientific American, US News, among others. Read in detail and view video on the mind controlled flying robot.

06/04/2013 - University of Minnesota opening new state-of-the-art Medical Devices Center

On June 4, 2013 the University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center (MDC) opened its new 8,000 sqft state-of-the-art medical devices laboratory. The new Medical Devices Center, in the heart of the University’s Academic Health Center, will foster even greater collaboration between the University’s College of Science and Engineering, and Academic Health Center units in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine. State-of-the-art equipment and labs are used for designing and testing medical devices. Facilities include a 3D Virtual Design Lab, Imaging Lab, Anatomy and Physiology Lab, Mechanical and Electronic Fabrication Labs, Wet Lab, Brainstorming Rooms, and more. The Medical Devices Center is part of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering and Medicine (IEM) established in July 2007. IEM is an initiative jointly sponsored by the University’s College of Science and Engineering and Academic Health Center. The IEM fosters a wide range of high level, goal-oriented interdisciplinary research, uniting faculty in health sciences and various engineering, science and mathematics departments. Read additional information about the Medical Devices Center>

10/04/2012 – IEM co-sponsors IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference at National Academy of Sciences

IEM co-sponsors the first IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference held at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC. Organized by the IEEE Life Sciences Initiative, and endorsed by the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, this two-day event brings together leading global innovators and thought leaders to identify and explore the grand challenges in engineering, life sciences, and healthcare. The conference, chaired by Dr. Bin He, IEM director, has attracted a number of high profile speakers and participants including Dr. P. A. Sharp, Nobel Laureate and National Medal of Science Laureate, Dr. C. M. Vest, National Medal of Technology Laureate; President of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and Dr. R. Pettigrew, Director of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of NIH. Visit Conference Website>