I received both my B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Utah in Electrical Engineering and am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. I’m working to develop easily integrated microvalves, pressure regulators, and pressure amplifiers for use in microfluidic lab-on- a-chip systems. I’m also working on medical garments for prevention of pressure ulcers in immobilized patients. Outside of the university I work with a local medical device company developing MEMS based pressure sensors with a specific focus on packaging for ultra-low pressure and harsh environment applications.
Integrated Microfluidic Control Devices
Microfluidic lab–on-a- chip systems offer a number of very enticing advantages over their macro counterparts. One glaring disadvantage, however, is that often a number of “off chip” support devices must be used in order for the microfluidic chip to properly function. This limits both usability andportability. My control devices research focuses on fluidic flow control mechanisms that can be easily incorporated into a device using processes already implemented to create the necessary channels and chambers. The goal is to provide an electrically controlled, completely integrated solution, with only a single off-chip pneumatic source. This will be accomplished using a combination of custom designed polymer based electrostatic microvalves, pressure amplifiers, and pressure regulators.
Pressure Ulcer Prevention Garments
Patients experiencing prolonged hospitalization, or with spinal cord injury, often suffer from pressure ulcers or sores that can delay their recovery and can result in extended hospital stays thus adversely affecting overall health and increasing healthcare costs. Generally, hospitals transfer patients to pressure relieving beds only after the appearance of sores, due to the high costs of such beds. My active geometry garment research seeks to provide a cost effective solution to this problem as hospitals will be able to provide each patient with a pressure relieving garment as they are admitted and therefore not only prevent pressure sores but also reduce overall healthcare costs by reducing the length of hospital stays, additional surgeries, and rehab as well as eliminating the need for specialty beds. The garment uses advanced textile design and manufacturing techniques to create individually controllable fluid bladders within the garment. These bladders are then inflated and deflated in order to actively redistribute the patient’s weight over varying contact areas thus preventing cell ischemia, and eventually necrosis, and promoting healthy blood flow and oxygenation. Developing multi-layer polymer-based fluidic control structures for low cost and simple integration into microfluidic lab-on- a-chip systems. These include pneumatically-backed electrostatic microvalves as well as necessary micro infrastructure devices such as micro pressure amplifiers and regulators. Also developing active geometry garments for prevention and elimination of pressure ulcers in immobilized individuals.