Improving artificial heart top goal of award-winning research at UH

July 26, 2005

HOUSTON, July 26, 2005 - A University of Houston biomedical engineering student's award-winning research pumps new life into artificial organs and fosters collaborations between UH and the Texas Medical Center.

Hassan Khalil, a junior in biomedical engineering at UH, recently was awarded a fellowship by the American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) for an abstract that details the research he has done with a model of the human vascular system. Though artificial organs have been in use for some time, his model will allow for new experimentation in artificial organ control.

Khalil's model can achieve more in-depth research and flexibility than animal test subjects would provide. With the ability to do different types of experiments on the same model by manipulating very simple things, it not only makes experiments much more flexible, but also easier, more predictable and less expensive.

"One of the main goals is to try to control the artificial heart," Khalil said. "We're still in the research stage and having a model like this is very helpful in studying feedback control of an artificial heart."

Khalil's abstract, titled "Simulation of Total Artificial Heart Circuit with Tandem Continuous-Flow Ventricular Assist Devices," began with a summer internship at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) in the Texas Medical Center. His collaborators on the project include Kamuran Kadipasaoglu, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at UH and assistant director of the Cardiovascular Surgery Research Laboratories at THI, Matt Franchek, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of UH's biomedical engineering program, and Ralph Metcalfe, a professor of mechanical engineering and deputy director of the UH biomedical engineering program.

"For students like me, this collaboration between the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center is a very good opportunity to gain experience and to work with doctors and other professionals," Khalil said. "I think it's also important because at some point engineers and engineering students have to become involved since there is an engineering aspect to every project."

With only 10 awards offered by ASAIO, Khalil was given his $500 fellowship from the graduate students and professional engineers category at the organization's 51st annual conference titled "Enabling the Future through Discovery and Innovation," which echoes its mission to advance the research, development and medical application of bionic technologies. Consisting of more than 1,000 Members, the ASAIO's membership includes specialists from 40 different countries with more than 30 different professional degrees, representing government, universities, industry, private hospitals and independent research groups.

"This is an international competition and a very prestigious award," said Metcalfe. "It's a special honor to be considered and to get the award when the other candidates are graduate students, research engineers, assistant professors and instructors of biomedical engineering."
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About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About the Cullen College of Engineering
UH Cullen College of Engineering has produced five U.S. astronauts, ten members of the National Academy of Engineering, and degree programs that have ranked in the top ten nationally. With more than 2,600 students, the college offers accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in biomedical, chemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial, and mechanical engineering. It also offers specialized programs in aerospace, materials, petroleum engineering and telecommunications.

For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at www.uh.edu/newsroom.

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University of Houston

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