November 12, 2007

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Better understanding of how a mouse’s heart works and how freezing tissue destroys cancerous cells might lead to better diagnosis and surgery methods in humans, according to research presented by two Bucknell University students who gave research presentations at the Biomedical Engineering Society national meeting in Los Angeles this past month.

Three members of the Bucknell biomedical engineering faculty also attended the national meeting, "Engineering the Future of Biology and Medicine," and two faculty members participated in open forum national level panels.

"This is the third straight year Bucknell students have been invited to present at the meeting," said Dan Cavanagh, associate professor of biomedical and chemical engineering and chair of Bucknell's Department of Biomedical Engineering, who notes that six other Bucknell students attended the meeting.

"For a program that began only four years ago, with our first class of biomedical engineering majors graduating last year, this is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to the quality and work ethic of the students in addition to the dedication of the faculty to involve undergraduates in our research," he said.

Student presentations
Bucknell junior Elizabeth Banerjee gave the peer-reviewed poster presentation, "A First Step Toward an Understanding of the Unique Characteristics of the Mouse Electrocardiogram." Her advisor was Joseph Tranquillo. Banerjee's research created a spatial map of monophasic action potentials (MAPs) in the mouse heart to map out the shapes and timing of MAPs, which are used as a method of diagnosing and treating human heart conditions.

Bucknell senior Qiushui Liang gave the platform presentation, "Numerical Modeling of Ice Ball Formation During Cryosurgery using COMSOL Multiphysics." Cryosurgery destroys the cancerous tissue by means of freezing it at extreme low temperatures. The goal of this summer research was to establish an educational tool for the better understanding of the thermodynamics involved in cryosurgery. The research was advised by James Baish and was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Urology at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Other Bucknell students at the conference were seniors Stacey Kang, Adhira Sunkara, Michael Ambrosi, Sarah Henderson and Andrew Inglis, and junior Robert Littlefield.

Faculty participation
Tranquillo, assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering, gave the platform presentation, "Stand-up and Think: Kinesthetic Learning During Lecture;" the poster presentation, "A Novel Mechanisms for the Initiation and Evolution of Cardiac Fibrillation;" and the BME-IDEA workshop presentation, "A First Experience with External Senior Design Mentors." He also was a member of the "BME-IDEA Invited Focus Group on Innovative Design."

Co-organizer of the BME Undergraduate Sessions at this year's conference, Tranquillo was named the sole organizer for these sessions at next year's conference. He also served as advisor for the research presented by Pasha Hosseinbor, "Classification of Cardiac Arrhythmias using Nonlinear Analysis of Electrograms," as part of the Bucknell Physics REU summer program.

James Baish, professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, was an invited panelist in the "Engineering the Future of Your Biomedical Program" panel presentation hosted by BSA LifeStructures. This panel, which also included faculty from the University of California, San Diego, and Washington University in St. Louis, was formed to explore the challenges in developing and maintaining biomedical engineering programs.

Biomedical engineers apply engineering tools to meet the technological needs of the health care industry, including medical devices. Bucknell's program focuses on providing students with a strong, hands-on exposure to the fundamental areas of biomedical engineering with additional emphasis on issues in biotransport, such as artificial organs, blood flow, dialysis, cancer treatment, and drug delivery. For more information, visit

Biomedical engineering students and faculty attended the national BME meeting in Los Angeles.   

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Nov. 12, 2007


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