For information contact
Professor, Biological Systems Engineering
Who should apply
- Biological Sciences
- Any engineering major with interest in medical applications
- Any science major with interest in medical applications
This program encourages applications from students with junior or senior standing.
EligibilityParticipation 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
See Eligibility for more information.
How to apply
Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.
About the Program
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 engineering 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 two areas: (1) devices for diagnostics and sensing and (2) devices for therapeutics and intervention.
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.
- Competitive stipend: $6,000
- Suite-style 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.
- 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 and Aquarium
- Outdoor adventures
- Research symposium
Mentors and Projects
Dr. Greg Bashford, Dr. Eric Markvicka Biological Systems Engineering, Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Design and development of a wearable ultrasound patch for measuring cerebral blood flow
Ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive method of measuring blood flow in the body. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) is a specialized ultrasound modality that measures blood flow in cerebral arteries deep within the brain. TCD may be used as an inexpensive method to measure the brain’s response to stimuli since neural activity is correlated with blood flow in the cerebral cortex. However, methods to continuously monitor brain response are lacking. This REU project will create a wearable Doppler ultrasound device for real-time, continuous monitoring of blood flow velocity to measure brain response. The device will be constructed using soft, “skin-like” materials that closely match the mechanical properties of biological tissue to ensure conformal contact with the curved surface of the human body.
Dr. Forrest Kievit Biological Systems Engineering
Engineering Nanomedicine for the Neurosciences
The field of nanomedicine offers the potential to improve the understanding and treatment of many disease processes by allowing researchers and clinicians the ability to deliver treatments to specific areas of the body, image where the treatments are going in real-time, and track responses. Therefore, the development of multifunctional nanoparticles has garnered significant attention especially for improving delivery into the brain for neurological diseases including traumatic brain injury, brain cancer, and dementia for which there is a significant lack of effective treatment options. These nanoparticles typically consist of a small core that acts as a scaffold to carry imaging agents for tracking nanoparticle localization in the body through various imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, therapeutic moieties for treatment, and targeting agents for binding cell surface receptors expressed in target tissue. The goal of the Kievit lab is to harness these capabilities of nanotechnology to provide strategies that will improve treatment of various neurological disorders.
Dr. Carl Nelson Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Robotic Technology for Next-Generation Minimally Invasive Surgery
Robotic tools are becoming a standard fixture in medicine, and particularly in surgery, where they can help enhance dexterity and visualization in minimally invasive approaches. Inserted, in-vivo robots (like miniature surgeon arms inside the abdomen) can have particularly high functionality. However, the small electric motors that typically drive these surgical robots are problematic: they take up too much space for too little force and speed capability, and electrical connections multiply the possible failure modes and reduce reliability.
Dr. Angela Pannier Biological Systems Engineering
High Throughput Screening of Clinical Compounds that Prime Nonviral Gene Delivery in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are a cell type with many unique properties, including the ability to differentiate into a number of tissue types, home to and aid in the repair of damaged tissue, and modulate immune functions. Along with their therapeutic potential, hMSCs can be easily accessed from a number of adult tissues, which has led to intensive research into hMSCs for applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cancer therapy. Such research often focuses on the genetic modification of hMSCs through nonviral gene delivery (also referred to as “transfection”) in order to further enhance hMSC clinical potential, by directing differentiation or enabling the secretion of therapeutic factors. Although genetically modified hMSCs present great potential, hMSC transfection is often associated with both low levels of efficiency and cellular viability, which hinders translation to the clinic.
Dr. Rebecca Wachs Biological Systems Engineering
Biomaterials and therapeutics to prevent low back pain
Low back pain is one source of orthopedic pain recognized as a widespread clinical problem resulting from degeneration and innervation of the intervertebral disc. Prevention of nerve growth into the intervertebral disc and reduction of painful stimuli has the potential to prevent disc-associated low back pain independent of disc degeneration. Our lab develops natural biomaterial scaffolds to prevent undesired nerve growth and reduce nerve stimulation.