side bar
logo
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Academics & Research

UH wins grant to study sickness caused under the sea


UH engineers earned a $1.1 million grant to work with the University of Wisconsin  to combat "the bends"- or decompression sickness. Biomedical Engineering Professor Karill Larin is also working with Baylor College of Medicine to receive two more grants for other projects. |  Tristan Rieckhoff/The Daily Cougar

H engineers earned a $1.1 million grant to work with the University of Wisconsin to combat “the bends,”or decompression sickness. Biomedical Engineering Professor Karill Larin is also working with Baylor College of Medicine to receive two more grants for other projects. | Tristan Rieckhoff/The Daily Cougar

Researchers across America are teaming up with biomedical engineering professor Kirill Larin’s Biomedical Optics Laboratory, part of the Cullen College of Engineering, to peer deep into live organic tissues.

The insights gained from this work are being used to gain an understanding of biological processes that will be used to fight disease and injury.

The Navy has given a $1.1 million grant to the collaboration between UH and the University of Wisconsin to develop procedures to help sailors avoid decompression sickness, colloquially known as “the bends,” when escaping from a submerged vessel. UH technology will be used to image bubbles of gas, in particular nitrogen, in blood vessels. This data will be used to create protocols, such as pausing ascent at a certain depth, to minimize harm from surfacing too quickly.

Larin is also working with the Baylor College of Medicine on two grants from the National Institutes of Health. One is a broad study on fetus development and congenital disease, while the other focuses specifically on early heart development.

“Dr. Kirill Larin’s group is contributing strong expertise in optical coherence tomography design and development for biomedical applications,” said Baylor assistant professor Irina Larina, “allowing us to visualize live development processes which are not accessible with other methods … We are excited to undertake these studies together with the UH team.”

Larin is heading a group that combines images created at the UH lab with molecular genetic analysis to better understand organ development and identify when and where that development goes awry.

Larin said his teams of students are extremely talented and can customize equipment and software to meet the demands of these projects. Their equipment uses non-invasive optical techniques that penetrate into tissue to create high resolution data.

For example, the group is able to scan mouse embryos from multiple directions and put that information together to form 3D models and images. These models are used to understand human development because of the similarities between our two species at the embryonic stage.

Chen Wu, a doctoral candidate under Larin, said collaborating with other schools “provides us with ideas. We are from an engineering background, while Baylor has the knowledge of biology.”

Jiasong Li, also pursuing a Ph.D. under Larin, agrees with Wu. He said collaborating with other teams helps the lab avoid mistakes, enables the team to learn more from their experiments and provides direction for their research.

“This is a really exciting life. These are all very friendly people,” Li said. “Normally, we are working on different projects, but it’s very common for one of us to face a difficulty. We then sit down together and work to fix the problem.”

[email protected]

Tags: ,


Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Polls

    How are your classes going so far?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...