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The first device that I worked on for STBL was the multi-scale opto-mechanical bioreactor. This was part of my senior design where I led an interdisciplinary team of five engineers.
The purpose of this device was to simultaneously obtain macroscopic load and multi-scale deformational data using the the optical sectioning capabilities of a multi-photon microscope. Essentially, it was designed to measure the response of collagen and elastin in tissue samples when subjected to a tensile load, while maintaining the sample in an in-vivo like environment.
The second device I designed for STBL was a gimbal mounted pressurization chamber, Ocugimbal for short. Similar to the first device , the Ocugimbal was designed to interface with, and use the sectioning capabilities of a multi-photon microscope. In this case the design was meant to handle the spherical shape of human and porcine sclera.
With the sectioning capabilities of the scanning microscope and the mechanical tools the Ocugimal provided, we were able to characterize the simultaneous mechanical and microsctructural response of a variety of tissue samples. The gimbal-based motion control allows spanning large regions of ocular tissues, giving a homogenous understanding of the mechanical system.
Throughout the design process it was imperative that both devices were accesible and able to be used frequently in a laboratory environment. This required frequent testing and refinement of our experimental methods and protocols. Consequently I was certified in blood borne pathogens safety and human tissue handling.
This is one of the images from the multiphoton microscope, generated while testing a tissue sample on the Ocugimbal. The red is the collagen while the green in elastin.
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Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory

From the summer of 2008 until the winter of 2009 I worked as a research engineer for The Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory (STBL) at The University of Arizona. STBL is focused on solving biomedically-related problems using state of the art experimental and computational techniques in biomechanics. My job was to create devices and methods for testing various types of tissue.

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Jacob Rader
Design Engineer Austin, TX