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Electrical & Computer Engineering

Biomedical Systems

Medical Component Design Laboratory (MCDL) 

Dr. Steve Warren directs the K-State ECE Medical Component Design Laboratory (MCDL). The primary mission of the MCDL is to support work in interoperable component design for medical systems, which includes plug-and-play hardware/software elements that can be assembled rapidly to create care systems matched to patient needs. Interoperability standards, wireless devices, wearable sensors and light-based devices play important roles in this research, which targets physiologic monitoring for humans and animals. Quality of life issues (e.g., successful aging and technology applications for the disabled) are important drivers for the pervasive care environments addressed by these projects. This laboratory also plays an important role in engineering education via the delivery of research products into the classroom and grant-sponsored research that focuses on how students learn as well as how they transfer and retain knowledge over multiple semesters. Primary collaborators in 2010 included Heartspring (Wichita, Kansas), East Carolina University, the K-State department of computer science, the K-State department of anatomy and physiology, the KSU Electronics Design Laboratory, the K-State mathematics department, the K-State physics department, the K-State kinesiology department, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the University of Pennsylvania. Project funding was received from the National Science Foundation (CCLI/TUES, CNS, CRI and REESE), NASA and the K-State Targeted Excellence program.

Biomedical Computing and Devices Lab

The Biomedical Computing and Devices Lab is interested in developing devices and systems capable of controlled energy delivery for targeted thermal therapy of cancer and benign disease. Energy sources of interest include RF currents, microwaves, and ultrasound. Intense heat may be used to ablate (destroy) tissue for minimally invasive treatment of tumors or cardiac arrhythmias. Moderate heat may be used to trigger drug release from nanoparticles or to augment radio/chemotherapy. Some examples of research areas include the following:

  • Device development and evaluation 
    We design and build systems (energy sources, applicators consisting of antennas/electrodes/transducers, feedback control algorithms) for targeted energy delivery to the body. Our goal is to design devices capable of adequately heating targeted tissue with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. We fabricate prototypes and evaluate them on the electrical lab bench and in appropriate tissue models.
  • Computer modeling 
    We develop computer models of energy propagation through tissue and bioheat transfer to design devices and control algorithms for specific applications. We perform experiments to validate computer models and measure physical properties of tissue.
  • Optimizing treatment delivery on patient-specific anatomies 
    Treatment plans employ computer models and optimization techniques to determine suitable device insertion paths and positions, optimal energy levels, and heating patterns. We are interested in techniques for rapid computation and 3D visualization of treatment plans to aid physicians in customizing therapy of patient-specific anatomies.
  • Thermally triggered targeted drug delivery 
    We are interested in designing methods and systems for targeted heating with nanoparticles, which preferentially migrate into tumors and may be used to deliver therapeutic drugs via a thermal trigger.

We are also interested in applying these techniques to the design of other therapeutic medical devices.

NetSE Group

The NetSE group provides resources to analyze, build and simulate mathematical models for spreading phenomena in complex networks.

One of the main goals of our group is to design real-time flexible tools for the analysis of epidemiological outbreaks; whether such an outbreak occurs in humans, animals, plants or computers. Very little disrupts society and causes economic loss as severely as an out-of-control epidemic. Such an epidemic may result in human deaths, disposal of herds, destruction of crops, inability to communicate over the Internet, or significant economic losses, and be the result of terrorist attacks or natural causes. As a matter of fact, more deaths are due to infectious diseases worldwide than those caused by any other threat, such as famine, war, and terrorism. 

NetSE group members develop mathematical models, algorithms, and software for network simulation and topology analysis with mobile agents that allow dynamic environmental inputs. Using these models, we perform realistic simulations of epidemic spreading, and test the efficacy of possible mitigation strategies.

Research performed spans different disciplines, namely agriculture, veterinary, biology, medicine, social sciences, and engineering. We collaborate with researchers who have interest in applying complex network approaches to different spreading and diffusion phenomena in many diverse contexts, combining biological applications with core mathematical competencies. We have applied our tools to prediction and mitigation of Ebola, Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and seasonal Influenza.