Our Connections

When you become a student at Mason bioengineering, you will have the chance to collaborate with top experts at engineering and biotech companies, national and international universities, and government agencies and national laboratories.

Our Researchers Partner with Impressive Collaborators

Biomedical Imaging and Devices

Siddhartha Sikdar works on novel imaging methods to understand interactions between sensorimotor, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems, with applications in a number of clinical conditions of major public health significance, such as chronic pain, stroke, spinal cord injury, and amputation. Sikdar has ongoing funded projects with Brajesh Lal at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore, Nitin Sharma at the University of Pittsburgh, and Alexander Dromerick at the National Rehabilitation Hospital. He has active collaborations with investigators at a number of other institutions including the National Institutes of Health.

Parag Chitnis uses ultrasound, light, and nanoparticles to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic applications, such as photoacoustic sensing of brain activity and wireless control of implantable hydrogel devices for localized drug delivery. Chitnis collaborates with researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, Yale University, Boston University, University at Oxford, and University of Virginia on a variety of projects involving noninvasive imaging, thermal therapy, and drug delivery.

Computational Biomedicine

Juan Raul Cebral uses image-based patient-specific computational modeling to study cerebral aneurysms and stroke with the objective of improving the management of patients with these diseases, as well as improving medical devices and procedures used to treat these patients. Cebral collaborates with researchers with the University of Pittsburgh, Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, Mayo Clinic, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Massachussetts, Clinica ENERI in Argentina, University of Antioquia in Colombia, and Barcelona Supercomputing Center in Spain.

Qi Wei works on novel and realistic biomechanical models of the oculomotor system and musculoskeletal system. She closely works with clinicians in developing clinical data-driven models, hoping the research outcomes will shed light on clinically important problems. Wei works with Joseph Demer at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA on biomechanical simulation of strabismus. She also collaborates with Abbas Shobeiri at Inova on ultrasound imaging and biomechanical modeling of pelvic floor dysfunctions, and Matthew Tresch at Northwestern University on the computational modeling of rat hindlimb biomechanics.

Vicky Ikonomidou works with image and video processing for remote vital sign detection and evaluation, as well as MRI-based diagnostics. Her lab focuses on developing novel algorithms for characterizing changes in vital signs and diagnostic images over time. Ikonomidou collaborates with Vanderbilt University on image processing for MRI and has an active collaboration with the Night Vision Lab on the development of techniques for remote detection of vital signs.

Neurotechnology and Computational Neuroscience

Kim “Avrama” Blackwell is a world leader in computational modeling of neuronal signaling pathways. Her lab develops open source software for computationally efficient simulation of reaction diffusion systems and creates biologically realistic models of the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity and memory storage. Blackwell works with scientists at the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, University of Iowa, College de France, French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, and Institut du Fer a Moulin on investigations into mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity and addiction.

Giorgio Ascoli is a leading pioneer in neuroinformatics and computational neuroanatomy. His lab is collecting and organizing massive amounts of experimental data in order to create biologically realistic, cellular level, real-scale simulations of entire portions of the mammalian brain. Ascoli collaborates with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia, the Allen Institute, University of Southern California, University of California, Irvine, and Northrop Grumman on projects ranging from a comprehensive map of all neuron types in the mammalian nervous system to the design of brain-inspired algorithms for artificial intelligence.

Nathalia Peixoto works with neural interfaces and assistive technology. Her lab focuses on applying engineering principles to neurobiological problems. Peixoto has collaborations with the electrical engineering and biology departments at Old Dominion University on brain computer interfaces and stem cell electrophysiology and with Ethan Cohen's lab at the Food and Drug Administration on the safety of retinal implants.

Biomaterials and Nanomedicine

Michael Buschmann is developing mRNA delivery vehicles by designing and synthesizing ionizable lipids with Prof Mikell Paige in the Chemistry department at Mason and formulating them into lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) containing the mRNA . He collaborates with Prof Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania who designs and produces the mRNA sequences and assesses immunogenicity of mRNA LNPs in mice models. Vaccine candidates where the mRNA in LNPs encodes for an immunogen such as the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 are tested with Prof Narayanan at Mason’s Biomedical Research Laboratory. Research Physicist Tom Cleveland at the National institute of Standards and Technology performs cryoelectron microscopy, x-ray scattering and neutron scattering on our mRNA LNPs in order to understand how their structure determines efficacy, for example as a vaccine.

Caroline Hoemann is developing new tissue engineering models to study innate immune responses in sterile and non-sterile inflammation. Her lab is using transcriptomics and big data computational approaches to identify inflammatory response patterns in blood cells that are associated with severe COVID-19 disease, in collaboration with Dr. Virginia Espina at George Mason University, Dr. Dr. Allan Doctor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Prof. Kylene Kehn-Hall at Virginia Tech. She is also investigating, with Dr. Robert McCormack at the University of British Columbia, how inflammatory cytokines coax synovial cells from injured knees to produce higher levels of hyaluronic acid, a chondroprotective sugar polymer that is naturally occurring in the joint fluid.

Remi Veneziano has designed a new class of 3D DNA-based nanoparticles which can be used to precisely control nanoscale organization of biomolecules. His lab is using this technology to develop new vaccine platforms for infectious diseases and novel biomaterials to control cell behaviors. Veneziano collaborates with the BRL at Mason, Children's National, and Johns Hopkins University.

Other research expertise

Laurence Bray specializes in engineering education and has expertise in the fundamentals of neuroscience using computational, experimental, and behavioral approaches. Bray collaborates with clinicians at Fairfax INOVA Health System on a variety of educational and research initiatives.

Shani Ross is an instructional faculty in the department whose interests are in neural modulation, neural interfaces, and undergraduate education. Ross has a collaboration with Mason's Department of Global and Community Health.

Eugene Kim is an instructional faculty member in the department whose interests are in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research, specifically in team-based learning and engineering self-efficacy. Kim's engineering research expertise is in the production of protein-based biomaterials using synthetic biology. He collaborates with other engineering instructors and experts in pedagogy and educational development around the country to provide students with the best possible education in the classroom and in research through evidence-based teaching practices.

To partner with us, contact Michael Buschmann, chair of the Bioengineering Department.