Biomedical Engineering

Introducing SURGIVIEW: A Fast and Accurate Augmented Reality(AR) Application Supporting End-to-End Clinical Operations

SURGIVIEW is a holographic augmented reality (AR) application that can assist end-to-end surgical support for minimally invasive surgeries (MIS). This app can overlay holographic anatomic structure on physical tissue, so surgeons can see “through” patient’s body during operation. Incorporating a novel triplet-calibration algorithm, the app can achieve accurate overlay (re-projection error < 5mm) faster than most of the current strategies for less than 8 seconds. Aiming for use among medical community including surgeons, patients and medical residents, the app has multiple functions to support from pre-operative planning, intra-operative navigation to post-operative demonstration. With SURGIVIEW, we hope to develop a more intuitive and interactive future of clinical and surgery practices.

COVID-19: Latent Clinical Phenotypes on Admission in Hong Kong across 2020

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts in 2019 and 2020 have been devising immediate practices. However, limited knowledge on COVID-19 can lead to ineffective interventions and undesired consequences. To better understand the underlying mechanism of COVID-19, a population-based retrospective study was conducted.
It covered 7606 COVID-19 positive patients in Hong Kong across 2020. This large sample size brings great statistical power and generalizability to the results. It covers a broad disease severity spectrum and is representative of Hong Kong population.
The k-prototype clustering used here demonstrates an unprecedented strength to capture 86.6% deceased cases in one of the four clusters and identify most of the clinical characteristics of a poor prognosis without knowing them in the clustering process.
Upon further verification and investigation into these clusters, new understandings based on different clinical representations of COVID-19 will subsequently benefit disease prevention and the development of customized treatment protocols.

Health-monitoring Integrated Patch

Vital signs monitoring like heart rate and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) is important for athletes such as marathon runners. Sudden changes or any abnormal values may be warnings of deteriorating body condition caused by fatigue, heat exhaustion and hidden heart diseases which can be fatal.

Thus, we propose a smart, lightweight and waterproof integrated health monitoring patch using optical characteristics (measuring heart rate, blood oxygen (SpO2) level, body temperature and blood glucose level) that sticks onto the skin. Together with GPS tracking and bluetooth function, data can be transmitted to computers and mobile phones wirelessly along aid stations for continuous monitoring. Powered by human body motion, it is safer than using cell batteries and also more portable. When abnormalities are spotted, emergent medical help can be offered before the condition becomes irreversible.

“On-the-fly” imaging bioassay platform for cost-effective biomedical diagnosis

Optical microscopy is now seamlessly integrated with many bioassay technologies for disease diagnosis. However, current techniques lack the throughput to image large and heterogeneous cell and tissue samples systematically. In addition, the vast majority of the methods overwhelmingly rely on biochemical markers such as stains and antibodies for enhancing image contrast, which are however not always be cost effective and efficient. To address these challenges, this project is to develop a spinning disk bioassay platform, which enables ultralarge-scale, label-free, high-resolution “on-the-fly” single-cell or whole-tissue-slide imaging at an imaging rate of 100-times faster than current assays. This high-throughput and high-content technology could open a new paradigm in data-driven bioassay applied in disease diagnostics, and biotechnology industries.

Advancing optical label-free cellular imaging – from instrumentation to cell assays

Quantitative phase imaging (QPI) is an advanced optical microscopy technique that requires no sample staining and allows quantitative measurement of biophysical parameters of the cell specimens. This technique is desirable especially in live-cell imaging, as it can yield cellular dry mass distribution, intracellular dynamics as well as size of cells with minimal intervention/damage to the sample. A compact and easily-compatible setup of QPI was developed and applied to a wide range of biomedical applications, ranging from fundamental biological studies in brain imaging, to the clinical studies in drug-screening for breast cancer cells and characterization of pathogenic bacteria biofilms.

Single cell traction force measurement assay with multiphoton-based protein micropatterns

A multiphoton-based protein micropatterning technique was developed in our lab previously. In this project, protein micropillar arrays were fabricated for cell seeding, and it was utilized for single cell traction force measurement. On the other hand, a method for encapsulating cells in collagen gel for cell therapy was also developed in the lab before. In order to improve the efficiency of cell therapy using this method, characteristics of these cells has to be identified. Therefore, the traction force of stem cells that are migrated out from the gel and the cells that are not encapsulated in the gel were measured and compared to understand the differences between them.