Biomechanical Engineering Research and education in the U’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is applying mechanics to biological systems, including the study of how the human body responds to the application of force. Core strengths include biomaterials, bionics, medical device design, microfluidics and structure of injury and disease.

Faculty and Labs

Claire Acevedo
Lab: Fracture and Fatigue of Skeletal Tissues

Investigating the mechanisms of deformation and fracture, and the biological responses in biological materials at multiple length-scales (from molecular to macroscales). Our work aims at bridging the gap between Mechanics of materials, Biology and Experimental high-energy x-ray physics to understand skeletal biology and disease, as well as design principles behind biomaterials.

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Brittany Coats
Lab: Utah Head Trauma Lab

Explores the microscopic and macroscopic structure of the head and eye at different stages of development. We use principals of engineering to characterize the biomechanical response of these structures to injury and disease. This helps us understand the initiation of injury and disease, but also allow us to design and implement accurate and complex computer models that can accelerate the development of age-appropriate injury prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies for traumatic brain and ocular injury.

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Henry Fu
Lab: Fluids and Biomechanics

Studies complex biomaterials and low-Reynolds number hydrodynamics, including the solid and fluid mechanics of swimming microorganisms and microengineered systems. Specific research projects involve swimming hydrodynamics in Newtonian and non-Newtonian biological fluids and gels, microrheology in gels, swimming hydrodynamics in shear flows, the behavior of chiral particles in shear flows, with application to chiral separation, microrobotic swimming, with application to drug delivery and microtransport and assembly, and flagella-based materials for bioenabled sensing and actuation.

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Bruce Gale
Lab: Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics

Works to discover, understand, develop and commercialize microfluidic components and systems directed towards improving human health while generating knowledge, educating students, and creating economic development opportunities. We regularly partner with leading industrial, academic, and government institutions in developing microfluidic solutions to challenging biomedical problems.

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Jungkyu (Jay) Kim
Lab: Biomedical Micro/Nano Systems

Focuses on developing transnational biomedical platforms for microfluidic automation, chemical and biomolecule detection, and biomimetic tissue engineering by using micro- and nanotechnologies. For microfluidic automation, a universal fluid processor using microvalve array and novel digital microfluidics which enable the automation of the basic fluidic operations to achieve totally automated assays. For chemical and biomolecule detection, we are utilizing capillary electrophoresis, impedance sensors, electrochemical sensors, and optical sensors as well as a novel paper microfluidic platform for rapid and portable medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

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Owen Kingstedt
Lab – High Strain-Rate Mechanics of Materials

Focuses on the study of the deformation and failure processes that take place in materials under extreme conditions. Current conditions of interest are high strain-rate loading and high temperature environments. Advanced diagnostic techniques are paired with existing experimental techniques to gain insight of deformation processes across multiple length scales.

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Yong Lin Kong
Lab –  Additive Manufacturing Laboratory

Focuses on the multiscale integration of nanomaterials in an extrusion-based 3D printing process, enabling the creation of unique functional bioelectronics that can address unmet clinical needs.

Tommaso Lenzi
Lab – Bionic Engineering Laboratory

Focuses on the intersection of Robotics, Design, Control, and Biomechanics. We invent, prototype, engineer, and test bionic devices and systems to help people move and live independently.

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Andrew Merryweather
Ergonomics & Safety

Research related to empirical research in the lab, field-based research into job physical risk factors associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and research and development relating to rehabilitation and assistive technology for persons with disabilities.

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Ken Monson
Lab – Head Injury & Vessel Biomechanics

Our research focuses on the response of blood vessels to deformation, or change in shape. While most vessels regularly experience small deformations, large deformations alter the microstructural constituents of the vessel wall and their relationships with each other. This damage changes the ability of the vessel to perform its function. Our work aims to better characterize damage-induced changes in vessel behavior and to implement these findings into models that can be used to predict injury and dysfunction. Traumatic brain injury serves as a primary motivator for our research since cerebral vessels are commonly deformed and injured during trauma, but medical procedures like balloon angioplasty also produce vessel deformation and may be refined through deeper understanding of vessel deformation and injury.

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Steven Naleway
Lab – Bioinspired Science and Engineering

Research interests are in the areas of bioinspired design, biological material science, and biomedical materials. Research is ongoing to understand the common structural design elements that are employed by nature to provide impressive mechanical properties and to employ these through a variety of additive and advanced manufacturing techniques.

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