Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical engineering research at Parks College focuses on tissue engineering and biomarterials, biomedical signal processing, orthopedic biomechanics and cardiovascular biomechanics.

Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials

Tissue engineering research utilizes combinations of biomaterials and cells to restore function to otherwise damaged tissue. Research goals include both development of tissue for in vitro use and exploiting the body’s natural repair processes for in vitro use. 

Biomaterials research is focused on synthesizing and optimizing novel polymeric materials, as well as developing and optimizing synthetic scaffolds to control cell function for tissue engineering applications.

Diagnostic device research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of intelligent biosensors. Monitoring of metabolites, proteins, cellular growth, etc. is central to understanding disease progression and leads to more effective treatment strategies. Our research focuses on developing smart materials for use as biosensing elements and new packaging techniques in the fabrication of biomedical microdevices.

Biomedical Signal Processing, Modeling & Electrophysiology

biomedical-engineering-researchBiomedical signal processing research includes the analysis and classification of sleep patterns using statistical signal processing methods. Finite element modeling focuses on both mechanical and electrical biomedical applications.

Electrophysiology research includes characterization of electrical activity at the whole-cell level and the design of high resolution techniques for monitoring the stimulus-secretion coupling process in excitable cells.

Orthopedic & Cardiovascular Biomechanics

Orthopedic mechanics research includes design and evaluation of devices for fracture fixation and spinal applications, as well as evaluation of tissue engineered products that support orthopedic implants.

Cardiovascular mechanics is aimed at understanding and quantifying how the heart and blood vessels respond to applied forces and pressures. This enables us to understand normal function, predict changes, design replacements and propose interventions. We focus on diseases involving elastin in blood vessels.

 Name Position / Expertise Contact
theodosios-alexanderTheodosios Alxeander
(aka T. Korakianitis)
Sc.D., SM, B.S.
Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Energy engineering, turbomachines, piston engines, airfoil and blade design, cardiovascular system, thermal/fluid sciences

Phone: (314) 977-8283


bledsoe-researchGary Bledsoe
Ph.D., M.S., B.S.

Department Chair, Biomedical Engineering
Orthpaedic Biomechanics, Trauma Biomechanics, Orthopaedic Tissue Engineering, Biomechanical Modeling

Phone: (314) 977-8357


case-100Natasha Case
Ph.D., B.S.

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Orthpaedic Biomechanics, Orthopaedic Tissue Engineering, Biomechanical Modeling

Phone: (314) 977-8646


gai-100Yan Gai
Ph.D., M.S., M.E., B.S.

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Combines behavioral, electrophysiological, and computational approaches to study the mammalian auditory pathways in sound perception and localization.


hall-100Andy Hall
D.Sc., M.S., B.S.

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
interventional and Surgical Robotics, Interventional Imaging, Medical Device Development

Phone: (314) 977-8336


sabick-100Michelle Sabick
Ph.D., M.S., B.S.

Dean, Parks College
Biomechanics of the Shoulder and Elbow, Baseball Pitching Mechanics, Diagnosis of Superior Labral (SLAP) Tears, Medical Device Development, Engineering Education

Phone: (314) 977-8282


Scott Sell
Ph.D., M.S., B.S.
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine, Electrospinning, Polymeric Scaffolds, Dermal Regeneration, Ligament Repair

Phone: (314) 977-8286


thomas-researchCecil Thomas
Ph.D., M.S., B.S.

Professor Emeritus
Human Perception, Vsion, Signal and Image Processing

Phone: (314) 977-8200


zustiak-research Silviya Zustiak
Ph.D., M.S., B.S.

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Cell-matrix Interactions, Diffusion in Hydrogels, Spectroscopic Analysis, Drug and Toxicity Screening, Synthesis and Characterization of Biomaterials, and Development of Novel In-vitro Cancer Models

Phone: (314) 977-8331


Interfacial Biomaterials/Biomechanics Laboratory

The Interfacial Biomaterials/Biomechanics Lab focuses on those healing phenomena that typically occur at a tissue material interface. While we must consider the biocompatibility of the material, we must also consider device function which is often dependent on the mechanics of the interface. For example, a simple fracture of the humerus is not difficult to treat non-operatively, but if the patient must be on crutches the mechanics are much different and the clinician may choose to plate the fracture. How big should the plate be? How stiff? Fractures of the pelvis are interesting because the loads on the pelvis are large, pelvis fractures can often be unstable, and fractures are often adjacent to nerves. How much hardware is needed to stabilize the fracture site to allow it to heal without affecting the spinal nerves? Similarly, a degenerated vertebral disc can be very painful, and treatment options are limited. What are some options for providing mechanical support without generating a response to the material that causes other maladies? These ideas are representative of our lab’s focus.

Soft Tissue Engineering Laboratory

The focus of our lab is on biomaterial design and evaluation towards the development of 3-dimensional (3D) in-vitro tissue models and high-throughput toxicity screening platforms, in order to address the growing concerns of the biopharmaceutical industry with late stage drug failures. We are primarily interested in models of solid tumors as well as models to study neurotoxicity, a side effect associated with chemotherapy. Specifically, we are striving to build tunable biomaterials, where mechanical, biochemical, and physical material properties are selectively and independently altered. We then explore cell-matrix relationships in the presence to various drugs, by assessing cell fate, including cell viability, proliferation, morphology, apoptosis, signaling, cell cycle as well as drug IC50. Our broad goal is to provide robust 3D platforms for systematic and quantitative investigation of the large number of drug candidates that are constantly being discovered, as well as environmental toxins associated with a negative impact on human health.

Tissue Engineering Scaffold Fabrication Laboratory

The focus of our lab is the fabrication and evaluation of tissue engineering scaffolds capable of replicating both the form and function of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). Through the creation of idealized tissue engineering structures, we hope to harness the body’s own reparative potential and accelerate regeneration. We are primarily interested in utilization of the electrospinning process to create nanofibrous polymeric structures that can be applied to a wide range of applications. Of principal interest to our laboratory is the fabrication of scaffolds capable of promoting wound healing and the filling of large tissue defects, as well as orthopedic applications such as bone and ligament repair. Our lab is equipped for a number of scaffold fabrication techniques, scaffold mechanical evaluation, protein analysis, and the determination of cell-scaffold interactions.