UTEP Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Study Biomaterials

Originally published March 25, 2016

A team of metallurgical and materials engineering faculty at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded nearly $260,000 by the National Science Foundation to purchase an Advanced Nanoscale Deformation system with imaging, or nanoindenter, to study the mechanical behavior of biomaterials and biomolecules.

Devesh Misra, Ph.D.
Devesh Misra, Ph.D.

The UTEP grant team, led by Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering Department Chair and Professor Devesh Misra, Ph.D., includes Professor Thomas Boland, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor David A. Roberson, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Namsoo P. Kim, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pavana Prabhakar, Ph.D.

The nanoidenter is used to measure and test mechanical and material properties at a scale about a thousand times smaller than a human hair. It will enable UTEP researchers to look at wear and susceptibility in nanostructured materials, the nanomechanical characterization of 3-D printable materials, the biomechanical properties of tissue engineered biomaterials, and much more.

The new equipment will provide UTEP undergraduate and graduate students with a user-friendly testing platform. Students will be trained to conduct leading-edge research using the state-of-the-art system in combination with other advanced material characterization techniques, making them competitive professional career candidates in STEM fields.

“Outcomes of this research will include novel materials with desired adhesion, wear and reduced vulnerability to mechanically induced damage, as well as biomaterials for use in regenerative therapeutic medicine fields and high-strength materials for mechanical and electronics application” Misra said.