• Wet-lay Process Could Accelerate Pace of Tissue Engineering Research

    vinoy thomas webVinoy Thomas Tissue engineering is a transformative branch of regenerative medicine —a cutting-edge field that has the potential to revolutionize the future of healthcare.

    A team of researchers in the UAB Department of Materials Science and Engineering hopes to accelerate the pace of that high-tech research through the application of a decades-old process—one that has roots in centuries-old technology.

    Vinoy Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, says that a process known as “wet-lay process for nonwovens,” which formerly has been utilized by textile and paper industries, can be used to create scaffolds for tissue engineering. His team’s research, recently published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research,shows several advantages over other fibrous mesh-making technologies currently in use.

    “Although this process is in its infancy with regard to tissue engineering,” Thomas says. “it shows promise in its ability to rapidly produce fibrous membranes of any type of fiber in a scalable and tunable fashion.”

  • Iceberg Project Is Latest in a Line of High-Tech Freezers

    melfi webThis photo from 2012 shows astronauts transferring samples into the MELFI freezer. More photos and information can be found at nasa.gov.NASA has a plan for the future of space research, and it is counting on UAB engineers to help make it a reality.

    The UAB Engineering Innovation and Technology Development (EITD) research group recently received a contract worth $6.2 million over the next three years to design and build a new set of freezers for the International Space Station (ISS).  

    “NASA is looking ahead to continuing scientific experiments through 2024 and beyond, so they were looking at options for a long-term.”” said EITD scientist Daniel Connor.

    To meet its goals, NASA looked to the EITD—an award-winning team with extensive experience in exactly this type of project. For more than a decade, the EITD team has designed, built and maintained several models of high-tech space freezers for the ISS, including the MERLIN, Glacier, and Polar units. “Glacier and Polar were designed to be transport devices,” said Senior Mechanical Engineer Lance Weise. “This new unit will be permanently in orbit on the ISS. We’ll use some aspects from those previous projects, but this will be a whole new system.”