Biomechanics at the Microscale
Professor William C. Tang,
Professor and Interim Chair,
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering,
University of California, Irvine
Micro-electro-mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology was applied to study the mechanical aspects of biological tissues at the micro scale, one for in vitro use and the other for in vivo. Microfabricated platforms have been developed to investigate the effect of mechanical stress on neurogenesis in vitro. These platforms are designed to exert mechanical tension along radial glial processes between groups of neural stem cells to study the effect of tension on cerebral cortex neurogenesis. The use of MEMS enables a high-precision application of quantifiable stresses on the sample under investigation, and thus will better enable in-depth study on the correlation of stress and neuron growth. For in vivo study, micro strain sensor arrays have been developed to enable the investigation of bones in healthy or cancerous states or in the presence of bone implants. These implantable micro strain sensors are fabricated on a flexible substrate to allow conformal attachment onto the curved bone surfaces, while providing high-resolution mechanical data in real time.
William C. Tang received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980, 1982, and 1990, respectively. He seminal thesis work on the electrostatic comb drive has become a crucial building block for many microactuator and microsensor research in the field. Since his graduation, he continued his contribution to the MEMS field at Ford Research Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan, then at Ford Microelectronics, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1996, he joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, supervising the MEMS Technology Group. In July 1999, he assumed the responsibilities as the MEMS Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Since July 2002, Dr. Tang has been on faculty as a professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine., and is currently serving as the interim chair. His research interests are in micro- and nano-scale technologies for wireless medical implants and micro biomechanics. Dr. Tang is a senior member of IEEE and a Fellow and Chartered Physicist with the Institute of Physics.