Biophysics / Bioacoustics

Dr. Nathan E. Hudson studies the exciting field of molecular biophysics.  Work in the Hudson lab uses techniques including protein engineering, centrifuge force microscopy, FRET and microfluidics to understand how mechanical force regulates biological function.  Projects involve measuring the biomechanical properties of blood coagulation proteins and determining the force-depending binding kinetics of adhesion molecules.  There are both graduate- and undergraduate-level projects in the lab and numerous students have won awards for their research with Dr. Hudson.

Hudson Lab Webpage

The fibrin molecule: The mechanical backbone of blood clots

Xin-Hua Hu and Jun Lu pursue a better understanding of biological systems by investigating their interaction with light by measurement of scattered light signals. Over the past two decades, they have developed in the Biomedical Laser Laboratory a laser-optics experimental research facility and, through collaborations, high-performance computing facility.  Experimental measurements are carried out in the laser lab with in-house developed experimental systems for image and spectroscopic data acquisition and analysis. Large-scale numerical studies have been actively pursued to clearly understand the correlations between samples’ optical and morphological properties and scattered light signals. These research activities allow us to develop innovative approaches of acquiring big data on complex biological samples and machine learning algorithms and tools for rapid extraction of inherent properties and analysis of biological cells and tissues for wide-ranged applications.

Dr. Yong-Qing Li studies the exciting field of biophotonics.  Work in the Li lab uses techniques including optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy, live-cell light microscopy, Raman imaging and atomic force microscopy to understand fundamental biological process of single cells and cellular heterogeneity.  Projects include optical pulling of airborne particles and lifting of large objects by light, monitoring dynamic germination, outgrowth, and growth of single bacterial spores in nutrients and high pressure environment, and label-free surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for Ras proteins-based cancer diagnose and therapy. There are both graduate- and undergraduate-level projects in the lab.

Li Lab Webpage

Raman tweezers: stable optical trapping and characterization of nanoparticles and single cells. (collected in Nature Collection of optical tweezers to celebrate the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics)

Research in bioacoustics: Dr. Sprague reading data on an ECU research vessel (top left). Modelling sound propagation into shallow water (top right). Oscillogram and spectrogram of weakfish sound (bottom left). Recovering the Wave Glider (bottom right).

Dr. Mark Sprague studies the fields of physical and biological acoustics.  He applies knowledge of sound propagation to study animals (such as fishes and whales) that make sound underwater as well as the effects of human-produced sounds on underwater animals.  Projects include using the acoustic Wave Glider Blackbeard to study offshore soundscapes, using hydrophone arrays to locate sound-producers in extremely shallow oyster marshes, using propagation modelling to understand sound exposure of animals near navigational channels, modelling sound production in fishes, and developing a new instrument to measure acoustic particle velocity. There are both graduate- and undergraduate-level projects in the lab.

Sprague Webpage

Dr. Juan Beltran-Huarac studies the interaction of functional nanoconstructs with biological systems in the presence of super low-frequency AC magnetic fields to treat cancer.  Work in the Beltran-Huarac lab uses techniques including magneto-mechanical actuation, PCR array, Western Blot, ELISA, immunohistology, flow cytometry, cytoviva, confocal microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, relaxometry, low-range magnetometry, dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, and thermal decomposition, to understand how mechanical motion of field-activated nanoconstructs induces changes in cell function and tumor microenvironments.  Projects involve developing magnetic nanoformulations, determining their magneto-mechanical properties and in/extrinsic magnetic responses, tracking them within cells and tissues, and evaluating their potential (and/or in combination with drugs) to induce cell death and inhibit tumor growth.  There are both graduate- and undergraduate-level projects in the lab.

Research in functional nanoconstructs: Schematic representation of the conceptual strategy to treat cancer via magneto-mechanic actuation.