This image shows the nuclei of proliferating (red) and quiescent (dark grey)
human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cultured in vitro.
Welcome to the Cellular Biomechanics and Biotransport Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tulane University.
Our laboratory studies the mechanical and adhesive properties of human cells and tissues and uses a combination of advanced experimental techniques and mechanistic models to
develop novel, optimized approaches for treatment of cancer and inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis, thrombosis, sickle cell disease, allergic inflammation). Our current projects are
1) high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)-based ablation therapy for advanced cancer, 2) breast cancer metastasis through the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems, and 3) bio-rheology and
adhesive interactions of immune cells, platelets, red blood cells, and endothelial cells. Our research is interdisciplinary and involves collaboration with scientists, engineers,
and clinicians from leading research institutes and hospitals.
Below you will find a list of recent news from the lab. More information can be accessed by clicking on news headlines.
What is "hot" in our lab
HIFU Ablation Therapy for Cancer
We conduct in vitro and in vivo experiments to test our novel method for minimally invasive ablative treatment of advanced and refractory tumors.
More information about our approach can be found in
our paper published in Physics in Medicine
and Biology and in a recent article in Tulane New Wave.
Our focused ultrasound system is the only system avaialble at Tulane to conduct HIFU ablation studies. In this effort, we
collaborate with leading oncologists at Tulane University School of Medicine (Drs. Joseph Buell, Emad Kandil, and Benjamin Lee) and oncologists abroad.
Tumor Cell Culture in PDMS Wells
We are applying our patented "PDMS well" method to grow multicellular tumor spheroids with an effective diameter exceeding 2 mm. These large tumor spheroids are
used in HIFU ablation experiments and testing other therapies for cancer.
Adhesion of Circulating and Tissue Resident Cells in Microfluidic Channels
Using our endothelium-lined microfluidic channels, we investigate the role of inflammatory mediators produced by tissue resident cells on circulating cell adhesion
to vascular or lymphatic endothelium
during allergy, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, sickle cell disease, and breast cancer metastasis. Two papers with results of this experimental research were published or
accepted for publication in 2012: one reports a synergistic effect of
TNF-alpha and histamine on monocyte adhesion to vascular endothelium, and
another shows that
histamine released during mast cell degranulation may cause or inhibit thrombosis, depending on whether it acts on resting endothelial cells or on cells
pre-activated by other inflammatory stimuli.
Computational Modeling of Leukocyte and Tumor Cell Migration and Adhesion
We have developed three-dimensional computational algorithm VECAM (ViscoElastic Cell Adhesion Model) that integrates, for the first time, the cell's rheological
properties, stochastic receptor-ligand binding, and physiologic shear flow conditions. More information about VECAM can be found in
our paper on leukocyte rolling
published in Biophysical Journal. This algorithm is now extended to simulate active migration of cells and cell rolling and adhesion to a compliant
substrate, as well as lateral migration of circulating cells in an inertial microfluidic device.
The first results of the latter research have been published
in International Journal of Multiphase Flow.
April 2013: First prize at the 2013 Tulane BME Team Design Competition
Team Easy Breezy 548 (Gisele Calderon, Kelly Smith, Yonatan Kaplan, Carrie Griffith, and Elsie Rodebeck) mentored by Dr. Khismatullin won the first price at
2013 Tulane BME Team Design Show. They developed a prototype of a baby breathing monitor integrated inside an elastic belt that is expected to be worn on the abdomen of
an infant. Congrats and thanks to the Team for this cool idea and the prototype development!
April 2013: Section Editor of Drug Discovery Today: Disease Models
Dr. Khismatullin is a co-section editor, together with Dr. Karniadakis (Brown U.), of the issue on "Computational Models of Blood Diseases" for
Drug Discovery Today: Disease Models, published by Elsevier.
April 2013: BMES Education and International Affiliates Committees
Dr. Khismatullin has been selected as a member of the Education and International Affiliates Committees of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).
He will be involved in the implementation of interactive learning in biomedical engineering education, the organization of BMES-affiliated international conferences and workshops, and
the expansion of research collaboration between biomedical engineers in the United States and abroad.
April 2013: ASEE GSW Conference in New Orleans
Dr. Khismatullin is an incoming vice-chair of the American Society for Engineering Education Gulf Southwest (ASEE GSW) Section and
an organizer of the 2014 ASEE GSW Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, which will be focused on interactive learning in engineering education.
April 2013: Sabrina will participate in the Tulane CCS REU Program
Sabrina's computational and experimental research on platelet-tumor cell interactions is funded by the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Program of
the Center for Computational Science at Tulane University. Congratulations!
April 2013: Gisele is a Whitaker International Fellow
Gisele is a recipient of the 2013 Whitaker International Fellows and Scholar Program, which is a funding opportunity for emerging U.S. leaders in
biomedical engineering. She will spend a year in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Hubbell (EPFL, Switzerland) conducting state-the-art research in tissue engineering.
We are truly proud of her!
February 2013: Team Easy Breezy 548 is in the Beyond Traditional Borders Design
Team Easy Breezy 548 (Gisele Calderon, Kelly Smith, Yonatan Kaplan, Carrie Griffith, and Elsie Rodebeck) mentored by Dr. Khismatullin will
participate in the 2013 Beyond Traditional Borders Undergraduate Design Competition that will be held on campus of Rice Universty on April 5, 2013.
The Team develops a novel device to monitor baby breathing.
December 2012: Megagrant
Dr. Khismatullin is one of the key investigators in the Megagrant of the Government of the Russian Federation that supports the
Center for Micro- and Nanoscale Dynamics of Dispersed Systems at Bashkir
State University (PI: Prof. Iskander Akhatov (NDSU); other investigators: Profs. Nail Gumerov (University of Maryland - College Park) and Claus-Dieter Ohl
(Nanyang Technological University, Singapore). Dr. Khismatullin will lead the Computational Bio-Microfluidics Group of the Center.
December 2012: Biophysical Society Meeting
Our lab will present two posters at the Biophysical Society meeting that will be held in Philadelphia, PA early February 2013.
November 2012: Students' Funding
Sabrina got funding from Newcomb College Institute to study platelet-endothelial cell interactions. This is a remarkable achievement for a sophomore.
Sithira and Gisele got the Georges Lurcy grants from Newcomb-Tulane College. These grants will support our research on platelet adhesion, tumor spheroid culture, and
breast cancer cell adhesion. Congratulations!
October 2012: Modeling Blood Cell Interactions Workshop
Dr. Khismatullin's proposal on organzing an investigative workshop on Modeling Blood Cell Interactions (MBCI) has been approved by
the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
(NIMBioS). Drs. Karniadakis (Brown U.) and Konstantopoulos (John Hopkins U.) are co-organizers of the workshop, which will be held
in Knoxville, Tennessee in June 5-7, 2013. Click here to access the website of the MBCI workshop.
October 2012: Skolkovo Foundation Funding
Dr. Khismatullin is a member of the international team who has been awarded a grant from
for the project application entitled "The creation of a new treatment for breast cancer on the basis of agents
obtained through the neolymphogenesis stimulation and induction". The team leader is Prof. Shamil Gantsev, a prominent Russian oncologist. Other members of the team
are Profs. Melody Swartz (EPFL, Switzerland) and Kazuo Umezawa (Keio University and Aichi Medical University, Japan).
October 2012: Gisele's Grant
Gisele got a grant from the Newcomb College Institute to study the interactions between breast cancer cells, dendritic cells, and lymphatic endothelium.
October 2012: Carol's Travel Award
Carol received the BMES Travel Award to present her data on monocyte adhesion to vascular endothelium activated by OxLDL and histamine
at the 2012 BMES Annual Meeting.
Our lab will present two posters at the BMES meeting in Atlanta, GA and give a talk at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in Kansas City, MO late
June 2012: new graduate student in the lab
You Lu is a new Ph.D. student in our lab. He will conduct computational studies of platelet aggregation / disaggregation in microfluidic channels.
May 2012: Carol's Teaching Award
Carol has received the BME Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for her excellent work in the Transport in Cells and Organs class taught by
Dr. Khismatullin. Congratulations!
April 2012: Team Tortoise won the second price ...
Team Tortoise (Andria Civitella, Michelle Garner, Xiao Zhou, and Shishi Wu) mentored by Dr. Khismatullin won the second price at 2012 Tulane BME Team Design Show. They developed the device that allow
a wheelchair user to comfortably play a bass guitar without having to support or position the guitar as he/she plays.
February 2012: BoR and Tulane Funding
We have received funding from the Lousisana Board of Regents and the Tulane Provost's Office to develop the HIFU system in the laboratory!
January 2012: New undergraduate students in the lab
We are becoming a big lab. Five new undergraduate students will conduct independent research projects in the lab: Uchenna Onwuegbusi will grow spheroids of kidney cancer cells,
Tyler Hillburn will work with Sithira on the PDMS wells technique for growing tumor spheroids, Andrew Wong will work with Nguyen on the design of the HIFU system, Gisele Calderon will work
with Carol on leukocyte-endothelial cell adhesion experiments, and Zerick Dunbar will be involved in the collaborative work with Dr. Shevkoplyas' lab on sickle cell adhesion. Also, Sabrina
Lynch, BME freshman, will help Teddy in his platelet-endothelial cell adhesion experiments.
September 2011: 5th year Masters students in the lab
Nguyen Hoang and Sithira Ratnayaka will be 5th year Masters students in our lab. Nguyen's project is the development of the HIFU system capable of ablating tumor spheroids and small
tumor specimens. Sithira will continue his research on large-volume tumor spheroid culture.
April 2011: BoR Funding
We have received funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents! This three-year grant is for the development of
high efficient parallel algorithms for the simulation of leukocyte deformation and migration. Hongzhi will be supported.
Damir Khismatullin, Ph.D.   Tulane University, Biomedical Engineering Dept., 500 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118