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Benjamin Shapiro
Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Joint appointment with:
Institute for Systems Research
2246 Kim Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405-4191
Fax: (301) 405-9953

Current Research Group
Updated October 2015

Current Group Members

Every member of my group who is involved in carrying out experiments is required to keep a laboratory notebook. See here for details on how to organize a lab notebook.
Zach Cummins Zach Cummins, Ph.D. Student  |  email: zcummins@umd.edu
Zach is interested in the use of feedback control and imaging to actively manipulate living biological systems, especially for the development of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology. His focus is to optimize techniques to both precisely and tractably control motile microorganisms, which can be easily damaged by the strong actuation needed to control them. Currently, he is working toward the design and optimization of microfluidic devices capable of efficiently steering microorganisms for use in point-of-care analysis and sample preparation.
Bharath Ramaswamy Bharath Ramaswamy, Ph.D. Student  |  email: bharath4488@gmail.com
Bharath's research interests focus on controlling ferrofluids for magnetic drug targeting and its potential applications in cancer therapy. He will be involved in designing the experiments for ferrofluid control and implementing the control algorithm required to optimally actuate electromagnets to achieve a required concentration distribution of ferrofluids in the targeted tissue. He has previously worked on designing BioMEMS and Microfluidic devices and is interested in further exploring this field.

Past Group Members

Mike Armani Mike Armani, Post-Doc., Joint with NCI  email: mikearmani@gmail.com
Michael is interested in illuminating aging and cancer processes. His current focus is to develop a bioengineering device for studying cellular genetic changes. The device hopes to be the first that can provide researchers with both genetic information about cells and the location where the changes take place within two dimensions of a tissue. Michael is also interested in determining order within complex multivariate processes. Co-advised with: Michael Emmert-Buck, Elisabeth Smela.
Satej Chaudhary Satej Chaudhary, Ph.D.  |  email: satej7ua@yahoo.com
I am interested in mathematical modelling of microfluidic systems. I am currently working with a team on precisely steering particles in electroosmotically driven microfluidic systems. This technology can potentially be used for developing hand held lab-on-chip devices.
Phd thesis: 'Precise Steering of Particles in Electronically Actuated Microfluidic Devices'
Skye Kim Skye Kim, Ph.D.   |  email: skyekim@gmail.com
Joint with the Johns Hopkins University and NCI
Skye is focused on applying science to improve cancer patient care by developing novel methods of drug delivery. Currently, her research focuses on the characterization of vasculature profiles (routes of< delivery) of clinical breast cancer samples in support of developing a magnetic drug delivery system for metastatic disease.

No image available Arash Komaee, Post-Docemail: akomaee@umd.edu
Arash's research interests are in the areas of optimal control, stochastic decision making and control, estimation theory and its applications, and nonlinear filtering. In the past, he has done research on applications of these fields on free-space optics and optimal management of inventory systems. His current research focuses on targetedmagnetic drug delivery, a method
of concentrating drug-coated ferromagnetic nano-particles in a targeted region of a patient’s body such as the area around a solid tumor. The main expected results of this research are the optimal policy for temporal variations of a magnetic field to focus the nano-particles in a small region and the optimal shape of the electromagnets which generate this magnetic field.
Sandip Kulkarni Sandip Kulkarni, Post Doc  |  email: sandipdkulkarni[at]gmail[dot]com
Sandip’s general interests include control theory, system design, modeling and optimization, and intelligent mechatronics. Current research project, targeted drug delivery to tumor locations for cancer therapy, uses a combination of the above interests. His focus is on developing fastest and most accurate simulation tools that will create realistic physiology for drug delivery. In-vitro experiments and data from autopsy studies will provide an accurate test platform for validation, improvement and development of control algorithms for magnetic drug targeting. His current research is motivated by previous research experiences that involved: the first immersive virtual environment (TPAWT) with controllable wind generating system that is literally invisible to the user, diabetes technology- metabolic system modeling and simulations, drug delivery (insulin and glucagon) and patient specific treatment strategies.
John Lin John Lin, Undergraduate  |  email: john.lin.john@gmail.com
John is interested in active drug targeting that depends solely on forces other than those found in the organism. His current research centers on using external electromagnets to guide magnetic particles with attached drug molecules to the disease location. He is also interested in mineral enhanced implantable polymer scaffolds that elicit tissue regeneration1.
1. http://www.bioe.umd.edu/news/news_story.php?id=3475

Pramod Mathai Pramod Mathai, Post-Doc, now at NIST  |  email: ppm@umd.edu
I'm interested in modeling physical systems - in particular, applying control theory and information theory to better understand complex interconnected systems.  I've worked on understanding how reduced order models of sub-systems can be interconnected to reproduce whole system behavior in physical (heat conduction in electronic devices) and chemical (protein focusing in capillaries) systems.  I'm also interested in systems biology - in particular, inferring gene transcription networks using information theory and predicting the dynamic behavior of such networks - with the final aim of creating targeted genomic drugs.
Phd thesis:
Application of Reduced Order Modeling Techniques to Problems in Heat Conduction, Isoelectric Focusing and Differential Algebraic Equations
Alek Nacev Alek Nacev, Post-Docemail: alek@umd.edu
Alek's research interests focus on bio-inspired design to create novel biomedical devices and treatment techniques. Currently he is exploring the behavior of magnetic nanoparticles as they travel throughout the body and the ways to harness the body's transport system to direct particle movement. This research will be soon be incorporated into the more complex in vivo deep tissue tumor targeting project.
Phd thesis: Magnetic Drug Targeting: Developing the Basics.
Disha Pant Disha Pant, Post Doc  |  email: dpant@umd.edu
Co-advised with: Elisabeth Smela.
Disha’s research is focused on understanding the spatial changes in the genetic profile of tumor tissue and its surrounding cells. By developing a technique to map the tumor area we aim to visualize genetic and epigenetic changes that have not yet been identified to date.
Roland Probst Roland Probst, Ph.D.  |  email: roland@acuitynano.com

Roland is highly motivated by solving multiscale problems and has developed cutting-edge solutions at the interface of engineering and life sciences. He aims to integrate research and commercial activities to complement capabilities of existing platform technologies in life sciences using novel methods and expertise in aerospace- and biomedical engineering.
In the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, Roland worked towards integrating research and commercial activities in the fields of micro- and nano-scale sciences, with applications to biological, biomedical and nanoelectromechanical systems. Roland contributed to research, grant writing, mentoring and guiding graduate students. His work enabled real-time feedback control of live human cells, microorganisms, nanoscale objects and therapeutic magnetic particles by action-at-a-distance electric, fluidic and magnetic fields on chip. This technology platform has been transferred to several collaborating labs where it is being used to test live human circulating tumor cells against drugs and each other, to position individual quantum dots with nanoscale precision for applications in photonics, and to control magnetic fluids to direct therapeutic nanoparticles to disease locations.

Roland aims to provide and commercialize elegant solutions in the fields of micro- and nano-scale sciences, with applications to biological, biomedical and nanoelectromechanical systems. Roland has worked with academic and industrial technology entrepreneurs in Germany and in the USA and he anticipates creating fruitful academic and industrial collaboration in the future.

Phd thesis: Optimal control of objects on the micro- and Nano-scale by electrokinetic and electromagnetic manipulation: for bio-sample preparation, quantum information devices and magnetic delivery

Michel Santos Michel Santos, Graduate   |  website  |  email: santos@umd.edu

PhD thesis: 'Improving the Coverage of Earth Targets by Maneuvering Satellite Constellations'

Candidate for PhD. Projects: Spacecraft Reconfiguration, Orbit Determination, Athena Mars Rover 2003, Orbital Simulation, Human Power Laboratory, Active Suspension Design.

Azeem Sarwar Azeem Sarwar, Post-Docwebsite  |  email: azeem@umd.edu
Azeem is interested in exploring the fascinating world of optimization and control and their inevitable silent presence in every aspect of technological advancement. Recently he has been interested in learning biology and biological systems, and am thrilled to see the intricacies and sophistication involved even in the smallest of the biological entities from a system theoretic perspective. This interest primarily motivated me to join Prof. Ben Shapiro's group where at present he is working on targeted drug delivery for deep tumors where the usual methods either simply fail or are inadequate. In particular, the goal is to device novel methods to deliver the drug precisely where it is required. Previously, Azeem has worked on robustness, stability, identification, and adaptation of systems that are distributed in space. He also worked on design and simulation of control algorithm for parallel architecture of Atomic Force Microscope. You can find more information about his past, and current work on his website.
Zhaolong Shen Zhaolong Shen, Post-Doc email: zhaolong.shen@gmail.com
Zhaolong previously worked on the fluorescence nano-particles tracking in a confocal microscope by applying optimal feedback control theory. Currently, his research involves using control theory and optimization techniques to create novel and efficient systems to detect and image, track and manipulate micro- and nano-scale objects for applications in biology and clinical practice. He is also interested in the fundamentals and mechanism of sensory cells, neurons, and motor cells, and their modeling, networks, implementation and applications from a system-control perspective.
Shawn Walker

Shawn Walker, Math Faculty at LSU  |  website  |  email: walker@math.lsu.edu

PhD thesis: 'Modeling, Simulating, and Controlling the Fluid Dynamics of Electro-wetting on Dielectric'
Masters thesis: 'A Hybrid Variational-Level Set Approach to Handle Topological Changes'
Jason West Jason West, Masters  email: jwest678@hotmail.com
I am currently interested in understanding the physics behind conjugated polymer actuators through experimentation and modeling. I hope to eventually arrive at a predictive model for the behavior of these materials, which are governed by many coupled physical processes. The aim of the study is to determine which processes are dominant in the actuation regime and to characterize and quantify those processes. Another project that I am working on involves developing actuators based on microfluidic effects. Co-advised with: Elisabeth Smela.

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