2014 Biomedical Engineering

Updates for Summer 2015 coming soon

Many details currently appearing on this site are still for Summer 2014. By mid-November we'll have our Summer 2015 updates in place, ready for you to browse and apply!

REU: Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Devices

Design and innovate with novel biomedical device technologies!


Biomedical scholars

2014 Dates and Stipend

Start: June 2, 2014
End: August 6, 2014
Stipend: $4,500

Contact Info

Dr. Carl Nelson
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Who Should Apply

Related majors and areas

  • Any Engineering
  • Physics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Most other science majors


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree
For more information, refer to the eligibility page.

This program encourages applications from students with junior or senior standing.

How to Apply

Steps and Required Items

To apply, follow these application steps to submit the following materials.

Application Timeline

  • Fri., Nov. 15, 2013 — Application opens
  • Sat., Feb. 1, 2014 — Priority deadline
  • Mon., Feb. 17, 2014 — Application deadline
  • Sat., Mar. 15, 2014 — Decisions complete
See more timeline information.

Events and Benefits

Program Events

  • Campus and department orientation
  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium


  • Competitive stipend
  • Double-occupancy room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access
Learn more about academic and financial benefits.

Research and Mentors

Biomedical lab work

The Biomedical Engineering REU is designed to provide independent research experience for undergraduate students, broaden participant knowledge of opportunities in academia, industry and national laboratories, and introduce participants to interdisciplinary research in biomedical devices.

The goal of every medical practitioner is to improve quality of life for patients. Biomedical technology and devices are instrumental in achieving this. The primary focus in each summer research project is biomedical devices designed to enhance medical care through science and engineering, with emphasis in three areas: (1) devices for surgical intervention, (2) devices for diagnostics, and (3) devices for implantation.

All projects are designed to be completed during the 10 week program and are a part of a faculty mentor's current research. This allows the student to be involved in many aspects of research, including design, analysis, simulation, and implementation of a biomedical device.

Students are also extensively involved in lab activities, such as weekly lab meetings. Research results are presented during lab meetings throughout the summer and at the end-of-summer in the Summer Research Symposium poster session. Lab members, especially graduate students and postdoctoral associates, are active with summer program research.

2014 Mentors and Projects

Biological Systems Engineering
Injury Diagnosis via Ultrasound Elastography
Implement a novel ultrasound-based elastography imaging technique and test its diagnostic effectiveness for characterization of soft tissue injuries.Read more about this project
Biological Systems Engineering
Measuring Cerebral Blood Flow Changes from Sensory Stimuli using Ultrasound
Investigate the extent to which visual, aural, and other stimuli affect blood flow in the brain.Read more about this project
Mechanical Engineering
Miniature Robots for Surgery
Create image-guided in vivo mini-robots that enable many abdominal surgeries to be converted to the less invasive natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery approach.Read more about this project
Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Properties of Mouse Abdominal Aortas
Inflation tests or/and indentation tests will be conducted on abdominal aortas of mice with and without diseases. The indentor tip will be designed and fabricated to fit for existing uniaxial tissue testing machine. The elastic and viscoelastic properties of the sample will be obtained through curve fitting. The REU participant will gain design experience in material testing at sub-mm range, modifying testing apparatus and will become familiar with current research questions in tissue testing. They will learn to use biomechanical test equipment and software and will also be exposed to data processing techniques used in biomedical engineering. The scholar will learn to process and analyze data to obtain constitutive equations.
Mechanical Engineering
Characterizing the microstructure of the artery
Using a microscope, the REU scholar will inspect the collagen and elastin content and configurations within artery slices. The student will then design and fabricate a large scale model to capture the arterial microstructure and demonstrate the role of each component within the artery. The effectiveness of the design will be assessed using a design matrix. It is expected that the student will learn and apply principles of solid mechanics to evaluate the performance of fabricated mock arterial structures.
Jeff Hawks, Ph.D.
Mechanical Engineering
Noninvasive Intracranial Pressure Monitoring
Identify in-flight diagnostic tools to measure changes in ocular structure,function, and/or ICP related to Visual Impairment Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) syndrome. Such a device would be a major contribution for the understanding of VIIP and the development of countermeasures. The methodology to estimate ICP using ocular blood flow velocities must be demonstrated as reliable, safe, and accurate. Our goal is to verify this methodology so as to construct such a prototype device.Read more about this project
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Engineering In situ Breast Cancer Model
In this project, we will be engineering in vitro co-culture model of breast cancer cells and MSCs to recreate the cell-cell interaction in play in the cancer progression. An understanding of this interactions will provide insight into how to combat the tumor promoting behavior of the microenvironment and uncover possible novel therapeutic targets for cancer treatment.Read more about this project
Mechanical Engineering
Robotic Technology for Natural-Orifice or Single-Incision-Constrained Surgical Workspace
Develop new robotic tools to increase functionality in medical interventions while respecting the associated surgical workspace constraints.Read more about this project
Biological Systems Engineering
Cartilage Tissue Engineering in a MR-Compatible Incubator
This study will evaluate a procedure for reliably developing cartilage tissue constructs. Researchers have yet to develop a method for producing tissue that mimics the native environment. Researchers have made advancements in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, but have not found a universal procedure that physicians and medical practitioners can use as a reliable treatment. We hope by adapting the mini-incubator to mimic such environment.Read more about this project
Biological Systems Engineering
Patterning Hydrogels by Fiber-Templating for Cardiac Applications
Develop methods to align multiple layers of fibers within hydrogel for use in tissue engineering, and determine the maximum number of conduits that will not negatively affect overall bulk properties of the hydrogel.Read more about this project
Biological Systems Engineering
Non-viral Gene Delivery
Many polymers have been used for non-viral gene delivery, but all fall short of successfully delivering DNA and subsequently expressing the protein encoded at an efficient amount for therapeutic use. Zein, a storage protein from corn, has unique biological and physical properties that make it a promising new polymer for gene delivery. We are investigating the use of zein and its interaction with DNA in two forms, nanospheres and films
Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Swallowable Microrobotic Capsule for Smart Connected Health
The near-term research objectives of this project are to: 1) Refine the development of a novel swallowable micro-robotic capsule (MRC) that transports and deploys a sensor to the lining of the GI; and 2) Develop a biocompatible temperature sensor and radio frequency transmitter payload to be deployed to the lining of the GI small intestine by the MRC. Successful completion of these objectives will enable for the first time non-invasive, long-term, ambulatory, in vivo, physiological measurements. A participant in this project will assist in the design, fabrication, integration and testing of these miniature robots.Read more about this project