Biomedical Engineering

  • The mission of the BMERCL is to advance knowledge in biomedical engineering by promoting interdisciplinary research and training among engineers, biologists, chemists, and physicians. To this purpose we provide researchers with a single facility where they can access various tools to carry out their research in Molecular and Cell Biology, Imaging, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering.

  • The research activities in this laboratory concern the development of novel methods for protein biosensing (based on nanooptics) and tissue functional and structural imaging (based on Optical Coherence Tomography and Optoacoustic techniques).

  • Research interests of this laboratory include: Development of multi-scale models and simulation of biological pathways and systems; use of simulation-based models of host-pathogen interactions to understand molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and disease; development of integrated quantitative/empirical platforms to enable predictive modeling and simulation of host-pathogen and multicellular interactions by enabling acquisition of high-resolution kinetic, whole-cell data; the use and application of information theory, coding theory, and signal processing to the analysis of genetic regulatory mechanisms; algorithm development for computational biosensors for detection and classification of polymorphisms, microbial identification and strain classification.

  • The main research focus of this laboratory is medical imaging, primarily emphasizing the development, assessment, and optimization of imaging systems for detecting cancer. One branch of the work is concerned with devising reliable models for predicting the diagnostic utility of new clinical imaging technology. The second and more expansive branch of work is directed at actually applying these predictive models to design and optimize diagnostic imaging systems. Current areas of interest include gamma-ray imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and x-ray digital tomosynthesis (DT).

  • The activities of this lab include a variety of basic and translational research in the rapidly growing area of neural engineering and biomedical signal processing. Areas of special interest are: neural decoding for neuroprosthetics; machine learning for neuromarker discovery in cognitive and movement disorders; development of embedded wearable wireless sensors and their integration to intelligent systems for healthcare and assisted living. In particular, this lab develops novel algorithms and machine learning techniques to explore neural activity recorded in clinical setting. The lab focuses on research that contributes not only to algorithm development but also to the discovery of new methods for diagnosis and therapy that can be applied in clinical practice. In this scheme, our group works closely with clinicians and researchers from diverse fields such as neuroscience, neurosurgery and neurology.

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

  • Ribosomal RNAs have emerged as attractive targets for identifying or monitoring bacteria in the environment. In collaboration with Richard C. Willson of the Chemical Engineering Department we are currently funded by NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute to develop rRNA based detection systems that can utilize DNA chip technology that can be used to simultaneously monitor multiple bacterial species in space craft environments. We also collaborate with Duane L. Pierson at NASA's Johnson Space Center as a result of funding provided by the Institute for Space Systems Operations.

  • In the semiconductor industry, plasmas are widely used to deposit and etch thin films in integrated circuits. In this regard, plasmas have played and will continue to play a major role in the continuing nano-technology revolution in electronic devices. Micro-plasmas are also increasingly finding applications in such diverse areas as high-resolution displays and bioengineering. The research interests of this group focus on the field of semiconductor device materials processing, mainly plasma processing.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

  • This 2,000+ sq. foot analytical laboratory is considered to be among the best equipped academic research laboratories in the world. Equipment available includes gas chromatographs (GC), gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers (GC-MS), high pressure liquid chromatographs (HPLC), liquid chromatography (LC), ion chromatographs, inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometer (ICP/MS), atomic absorption spectrophotometers (AAS), particle size analyzers, TOC analyzers, research microscopes with epiflourescence and image processing, anaerobic chambers, Organic Halide Analyzer, UV-Vis spectrophotometers, centrifuges, porometer, incubators, jar test apparatus, BioFlo 3000 Bioreactor, computer-aided titrimeter, turbidometers, pH meters, specific ion meters, field sampling kits, ozone generation system, among others. These analytical facilities allow us to perform research experiments and analyze for almost all inorganic and organic compounds in water, air or soil.

  • The environmental engineering teaching laboratory is where laboratory instruction is conducted in environmental chemistry, environmental microbiology, drinking water treatment, and biological treatment. This lab is also used for large scale graduate research such as the soil remediation pilot plant.

  • The UH Geotechnical lab is equipped with a computer-controlled dynamic testing machine that allows for the application of two independent modes of loading (e.g. axial and torsional). The University of Houston maintains comprehensive soils and materials laboratories. These labs allow for the testing of the structural properties of concretes, grouts and composite materials, as well as for the determination of soil and rock properties under both static and dynamic loading conditions.

  • The Structural Research Laboratory is located in the South Park Annex of the University of Houston. The facility includes 30 ft. by 60 ft. and 20 ft. by 60 ft. strong floors and houses over two million dollars worth of test equipment, including a biaxial fatigue testing machine, a 2.5 million pound MTS test system, and a universal panel tester. The universal panel tester can be used to perform biaxial and triaxial tests and is the only one of its kind in the United States and the most versatile of the three panel testers in the world. The laboratory also offers a fully equipped welding shop and concrete casting room, as well as student and faculty office space and a conference room.

  • The University of Houston Hydraulics Laboratory is used for research and teaching. Research in this area focuses on the study of natural environmental flows and includes such areas as, coastal and river hydrodynamics, contaminant transport in surface and subsurface flows, hydrology and computational hydrosciences, sediment transport, urban water resources and planning, water quality, and wave mechanics.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

  • The Applied Electromagnetics Laboratory specializes in antenna analysis and design, computational aspects of electromagnetics, and applications of electromagnetics. Research topics include computational electromagnetics, electromagnetic interference and compatibility, biomedical applications of electromagnetics, microstrip and printed antennas, dielectric resonator antennas, leaky-wave antennas, periodic structures, and high-frequency effects in microwave integrated circuits.

  • The control systems laboratory has an analog Feedback Ltd. test system capable of designing and analyzing a hands-on position servo system. The power systems laboratory is provided with a Lab-Volt modular system which supports a wide range of experiments related to the transformers and electrical rotating machines, power transmission network components and control of industrial motors. Also, the power system laboratory is provided with the most updated computers, recording and measuring equipment for defining the property of the high temperature superconductors (HTSC) potential applicable in power industry.

  • The scientific interests of our group are directed towards better understanding of the physical and chemical processes occurring at the electrochemical interface and their use to produce the nanomaterials and nanostructures with novel functionality and application. The diverse and multidisciplinary nature of our research evolves around the interests in the areas of Sensors, Magnetic Materials, Thin Films, Electrocatalysis and Nanofabrication. We are closely collaborating with the affiliates of the Center for Integrated Nanosystems and faculties of the Chemical and Mechanical Engineering Departments, Chemistry Department and Texas Center for Super Conductivity.

  • The research interests of the group include image restoration, 3D reconstruction, Bayesian approaches to image restoration and reconstruction, 3D tomography, image modelling, multi-modality image registration and correlation, gated cardiac imaging, segmentation and analysis of time-varying 3-D medical images, statistical image processing, automated image analysis, segmentation and interpretation of magnetic resonance images.

  • The University of Houston Brain-Machine Interface Systems Team (UH BMIST) is a research group led by Dr. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal. The group is dedicated to the engineering of the brain, and the design of non-invasive brain-machine interface and robotic systems for rehabilitation, enhancement or repair of the motor system after brain or body injury, neurological insults, or advanced aging. In addition, the group members focus on the studies of how to utilize neural interfaces as tools for reverse-translational studies of brain plasticity and brain-machine interaction/confluence, how to build bio-robotics and powered wearable exoskeletons, and how to make fast, reliable, non-invasive brain-smartphone/device interfaces.

  • Professor Yan Yao’s research group focuses on the materials and devices for energy storage and conversion: understanding the structure-property-performance relationship at the atomic level and designing nanostructured materials for advanced lithium batteries, solar cells, and catalysts. The 1,000 sq. ft. lab space is compartmentalized into a materials synthesis (inorganic and organic) lab and a device/system characterization lab, all conforming to the highest safety standards.

  • The broad long-term objective of our research is to elucidate the brain mechanisms underlying perception and cognition in biological systems and to apply this knowledge to the engineering of intelligent systems. Research is multi-disciplinary and combines theoretical (neural modeling) and empirical (visual psychophysics) approaches.

  • The Small Satellite Research Laboratory is an integrated environment where antennas and communication systems for small satellites can be designed, simulated, fabricated, and tested within a single lab space. ECE students are both welcomed and encouraged to get involved with the ongoing research projects at the Small Satellite Research Laboratory. Student researchers within the laboratory will be working side-by-side with engineers and scientists from NASA Johnson Space Center with the ultimate goal of transforming small spacecraft technologies.

  • The Subsurface Sensing Laboratory (SSL) has devoted its efforts in the research of imaging the subsurface using electromagnetic (EM) methods. The applications of the research range from environment monitoring and detection to highway pavement inspections. We have successfully developed theory and software to simulate various subsidence EM sensors, including pulsed ground penetrating radar, single-frequency borehole-toorehole EM tomography systems, time-domain borehole tomography systems, pulsed borehole radar, and FM-CW radar.

  • The Well Logging Laboratory (WLL) directed by Dr. C. Richard Liu was established in 1979 to investigate the electric properties of reservoir rocks over a wide range of frequencies. In addition, theoretical and experimental studies have been carried out to obtain a better understanding of electric tool response in complex borehole environments, such as dipping formations, thin invaded beds, and anisotropic formations. All of these studies have the primary objective of improving interpretation of logs obtained with existing tools. Information is also being generated on the design of possible new tools, on the limitations of existing tools, and logging response in complex borehole environments. The research program is supported by a consortium of oil and service companies.

  • The research areas of the lab can be categorized into three main areas: wireless networking, signal processing, and security. Some topics include opportunistic spectrum access and collaborative sensing for cognitive radios, physical layer security, compressed sensing, information assurance, network and distributed system security, distributed wireless networking using the game theory approach, collaborative transmission networks, wireless access in vehicular environments, dynamic wireless network resource allocation, multimedia transmission over wireless networks, ad hoc/sensor network design, ultra wide band networks, large network analysis using random matrix theory, underwater acoustic communication, smart deployment/movement of unmanned air vehicle, MIMO wireless communications, satellite communications, and biosignal processing and bioinformation processing.

Industrial Engineering

  • Design and Free Form Fabrication Laboratory

    The mission of the Design and Free Form Fabrication Laboratory is to develop and implement the infrastructure necessary for quality research and education in Rapid Response Design & Manufacturing. The research scope includes providing an environment for rapid response to design realization and flexible manufacturing, introducing new products frequently to retain/gain market share globally and loweing unit costs while increasing quality of rapid protoyping.

  • Because of its unique geographical structure and location, the city of Houston is often threatened by a number of thunder storms and hurricanes each year. The nature of these storms in Houston tends to include very large amounts of rainfall in a short duration of time. To resolve these problems, E2MAP is developing a decision support tool that integrates existing telecommunication technologies, and available TranStar’s Flood Monitoring tools. Providing such a tool to emergency service providers can help address the problem when certain areas are flooded.

  • The Enterprise Logistics Laboratory (ELL) aims at facilitating research and teaching in the IE department. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art computational tools featuring a high volume printer, 14 workstations including a set of general purpose software and statistics, optimization, and simulation packages such as OplStudio/CPLEX, SAS, Arena, Matlab, and Visual Studio supported by both LINUX and Windows operating systems. The mission of the laboratory is to provide researchers at the University of Houston with appropriate equipment and software to develop analytical tools, algorithms and heuristics that can advance the knowledge on the design and management of enterprise logistics and enhance the practice of supply chain management.

  • In the Ergonomics/Safety laboratory, a basic six-channel physiograph recorder with heart rate monitor, blood pressure monitor, and portable oxygen consumption meter is employed in work physiology analysis. Biomechanical analysis equipment includes a human strength evaluation system, treadmill, ergometer, and human anthropometric measurement instruments. A flicker-fusion meter, discriminative reaction time apparatus, two arm coordination tester, and an automatic scoring mirror tracer all facilitate psychomotor tests. The spectra spotmeter is used to measure illumination levels and contrast. An octave band analyzer kit is available for noise analysis. The WBGT-heat stress monitor is used to measure the thermal living and working environment.

  • The Industrial Engineering Computer Laboratory serves the instructional and research computing needs of students by providing a network which encompasses 14 Intel® Core™ i3 computers. Available software includes Microsoft Office, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Arena, Matlab, GAMS, Lindo, and AutoCAD. Students have full access to the Internet and email. Accounts and printing service are provided to industrial engineering students at no extra charge. The mission of the laboratory is to provide industrial engineering students at the University of Houston with appropriate equipment and software to develop analytical tools, algorithms and heuristics that can advance the knowledge on the design and management of systems and enhance the engineering practice.

  • The Systems Optimization and Computing Laboratory (SOCL) explores the potential of mathematical programming techniques to solve various optimization problems. SOCL encourages interdisciplinary research with engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and industrial representatives. We focus on developing robust mathematical models, computational algorithms, and related software to make significant contributions to industry while maintaining high quality academic research. Current projects include robust optimization approach in radiation treatment planning, optimization applications in radiotherapy, optimization in hazardous material transportation, and stochastic dynamic programming models in inventory control.

Mechanical Engineering

  • The Advanced Function Materials Laboratory designs, studies and fabricates advanced functional materials. These materials include magnetic nanowires, nanowire templates, carbon nanofiber sheets, and other electrochemically produced nanomaterials

  • The Dynamic Systems and Control Laboratory is involved in the analytical, numerical, and experimental aspects of Failure-Tolerant Intelligent Structural Systems (FTISS). Intelligent Structural Systems (ISS) are structures which integrate control and computational subsystems into a single structural entity. Ideally, ISS adapt their dynamic characteristics to meet performance objectives at any instant. FTISS in addition integrate the likelihood of control component and structural member failure in both the off-line and on-line control/structure design process. The need for FTISS is critical for complex and interconnected dynamic systems such as underwater vehicles, bridges and buildings, high-altitude powered platforms and satellites/space structures which are required to operate unattended for extended periods of time and/or are too intricate for human operators to discern problems.

  • The Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory, located in the UH Energy Research Park, is a 13,000 sq. ft. building consisting of multiple clean room process areas, device fabrication and metrology areas as well as a toxic gas room to safely handle several types of exotic gases to process several advanced materials. A unique MOCVD tool for compound semiconductors with dual reactors for roll-to-roll as well as wafer processing is being constructed. The Energy Devices Fabrication Laboratory is expected to be ready for operation in summer 2012. Photovoltaics (PV), solid-state-lighting, thermoelectrics and other energy applications will be pursued in this Laboratory using our unique substrate technologies.

  • The Engine Control Research Laboratory (ECRL) at UH focuses on research, education and technology transfer aspects involving the optimization, control, monitoring and diagnostics of internal combustion engine and powertrain systems with the overall objective of optimizing their fuel economy, improving their reliability and minimizing the production of harmful emissions. ECRL promotes a systems approach investigating the interplay and integration of the various engine and catalyst subsystems with adaptive and multivariable monitoring and control algorithms.

  • Heat Transfer Laboratory

    Research activities in the Heat Transfer and Phase Change Laboratory emphasize boiling heat transfer, liquid crystal thermography, highly turbulent convective heat transfer, and novel applications of solar and geothermal energy storage systems. The faculty also has long term interests in the areas of thermodynamic property prediction, moving boundary freezing/melting problems, and energy conservation.

  • The Materials Engineering Laboratory’s research spans a wide range of advanced processing techniques for high-performance materials for energy applications such as high temperature superconducting thin film tapes, photovoltaics, and thermoelectrics. A key capability of our group is single-crystalline-like thin films of various materials on inexpensive, flexible substrates by reel-to-reel processing. Epitaxial growth of oxides, nitrides, germanium, silicon and compound semiconductors on lattice mismatched, practical substrates is large emphasis of our research. A variety of thin film process technologies such as metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD), magnetron sputtering, e-beam evaporation, inkjet printing and solution coating are being employed.

  • The Materials for Energy Storage Laboratory is interested in innovative materials design, fabrication, characterization, modeling and simulation related to energy storage and electronic applications. Specifically, our current topics are: Transport mechanisms in polymer nanocomposite electrolytes in lithium ion batteries and fuel cells; Electrode/electrolyte interfacial issues in lithium ion batteries; Resolving the “dead-layer” effect in nanocapacitors; Biomaterials used for energy storage; Nanostructured materials for electronic applications; Polymer electrolytes in fuel cells and supercapacitors.

  • The Microscale Thermal Transport Laboratory’s research is on exploring the basic science of multiphase transport phenomena involving fluid-particle interactions, e.g., vapor bubbles, solid particles or biological cells in fluid media, with multiphysical and multiscale effects. The thrust is to come up with new ideas to control and optimize the transport process with external fields, e.g., thermal, electrical and/or magnetic fields. Possible engineering applications include micro/nano-enabled thermal management, biological and biomedical engineering, and nanomanufacturing using self-assembly.

  • The Smart Materials and Structures Laboratory specializes in: Actuator system development, including shape memory alloy based actuator for aerospace, biomedical, and oil exploration applications as well as piezoceramic actuators for precision positioning; Sensor system development, including piezoceramic based sensors for impact detection and structural health monitoring and fiber optical based sensors for biomedical applications and civil applications; Vibration control and damping; Structural health monitoring; Advanced and nonlinear controls, including hysteresis compensation; Innovative teaching equipment development; and real-time control system and embedded control system development.

  • The Surfaces and Interfaces Mechanics Laboratory’s research employs the theory of mechanics to elucidate the physics of interfacial rearrangements in cells that affect numerous biological processes. For example, how do a cell and its compartments communicate through constant mass flux, yet at the same time maintain completely different molecular identities? How do proteins and lipid bilayers interact to create fascinating curved structures such as toroidal nuclear pores? How do adhesion molecules influence a membrane's shape and its state of stress? How is the propagation of signals in neurons coupled to their physical state and how do these signals transmit from one neuron to the other? Such questions are vital not only to gain insight into the physiology of cells but also to advance the science of medicine.