Six joint teams from U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have won a share of $1.2 million for research projects exploring new biomedical and energy applications of nanotechnology as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two universities.

The awards are the fifth round of funding for the UM/SJTU Collaborative Research Programs for Energy and Biomedical Technology.

The winning biomedical projects will focus on developing wearable sensors to detect and prevent falls; portable breath-analysis devices; highly sensitive, real-time gas detectors; nanoparticles that can target, image and kill certain lung cancer cells; and an augmented reality system contained in contact lenses.

The energy project chosen for funding will aim to develop and produce “nanocatalysts” that can store and distribute energy from many sources more efficiently.

The U-M/SJTU program brings together teams with complementary perspectives and areas of expertise to address challenges in energy and health that transcend national borders.

The program funds projects that have commercial potential and that are likely to attract follow-on research funding from the U.S. and Chinese governments, as well as from industry.

The biomedical projects are:

Nanophotonic Display for Augmented Reality

Principal Investigators: Pei-Cheng Ku, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, U-M; Yaping Dan, associate professor, of electrical engineering, SJTU
Goal: Design and demonstrate a viable display technology that can be integrated into contact lenses.

Soft Robotics Movement Sensing and Feedback for Preventing Falls in Older Adults

Principal Investigators: Kathleen Sienko, associate professor of mechanical engineering, U-M; Neil Alexander, professor of gerontology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, U-M; Peter Shull, mechanical engineering, nanosicence, SJTU.

Goal: Develop elastic sensing and feedback devices and a sensor-fusion stability model; and characterize the effect of soft-robotics haptic feedback on stability in older adults.

• Development of Multifunctional Dedrimer-entrapped Gold Nanoparticles to Specifically Image and Target Lung Adenocarcinoma Stem Cells

Principal Investigators: Su He Wang, associate research scientist in internal medicine and the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, U-M; Han Wang, radiology, First People’s Hospital, Shanghai.

Goal: Develop a nanoparticle that can identify, image, target, and kill certain lung cancer cells.

Nanofluidic Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering Detectors for Gas Sensing by Nanoimprint

Principal Investigators: Wenjie Wan, assistant professor, UM-SJTU Joint Institute, electrical engineering, SJTU; Xiaogan Liang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, U-M; Xianfeng Chen, professor of physics and astronomy, SJTU.

Goal: Develop gas detectors with unprecedented sensitivity, scalability, and portability.

Nano-Enabled Multi-Transducer Arrays in Microsystems for Point-of-Care Breath Biomarker Analysis

Principal Investigators: Edward Zellers, professor of environmental health sciences, U-M; Zhongyu Hou, electronic, information, and electrical engineering, SJTU.

Goal: Develop a portable, low-resource, turn-key instrument capable of identifying and quantifying multiple breath biomarkers.

The energy project is:

Carbon Supported Functional Nanoparticles for Catalysis and Electrocatalysis

Principal Investigators: Mark Barteau and Levi Thompson, professors of chemical engineering, U-M; Jie-Sheng Chen, professor, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, SJTU.

Goal: Generate noble-metal-free nanocatalysts for practical applications in both catalysis and electrocatalysis.

The research partnerships between U-M and SJTU are part of a broader relationship between the two schools. In 2001, U-M became the first non-Chinese academic institution approved to offer graduate engineering degrees in China, at SJTU. In 2005, U-M and SJTU formed a joint institute to manage and direct degree-granting programs offered by both universities to students of both nations.