The inaugural Oregon Bioengineering Symposium will be held at the CH2M Alumni Center on the Oregon State University Campus on November 22, 2019. The meeting will cover all areas of bioengineering/biomedical engineering, with an emphasis on technologies for precision health. The goal of the meeting is to promote collaboration and exchange of ideas between students, researchers and practitioners in Oregon and the surrounding region.

There will be oral presentations throughout the day, and poster presentations in the evening. To be considered for a presentation, an abstract must be submitted by October 25. All participants, including undergraduate and graduate students, are encouraged to submit abstracts for the poster session. There will be awards for the best student posters. Note that there are a limited number of slots available for oral and poster presentations; early abstract submission will increase the likelihood that your abstract will be selected for a presentation.

Advanced registration costs are $25 for students and post-docs, $60 for faculty and $125 for non-academic registrants for early registration. After November 8, the registration fee goes up by $25. The registration fee is waived for the first 100 people to submit an approved abstract.


(subject to change)

8:00 amTour of OSU Bioengineering Laboratories
9:00 amRegistration Desk Opens
9:20 amWelcome
9:30 amTim Gardner, University of Oregon
High Precision Interfaces to Brain and Nerve
9:55 amElain Fu, Oregon State University
Porous Microfluidic Sensors for Field Use
10:20 amSummer Gibbs, Oregon Health and Science University
Fluorescence Guided Surgery for Improved Clinical Outcomes
10:45 amCoffee Break
11:00 amMatt Johnston, Oregon State University
Emerging Toolkit for Integrated Electronic Biosensors and Lab-on-Microchip
11:25 amPeter Jacobs, Oregon Health and Science University
Precision Drug Delivery through AI and Integrated Sensing and Drug Delivery in Type 1 Diabetes
11:50 amMike Pluth, University of Oregon
Chemical Tools for Detection and Delivery of Reactive Sulfur Species
12:15 pmLunch
1:30 pmOral Presentations
3:00 pmCoffee Break
3:30 pmOral Presentations
4:30 pmPoster Session
6:30 pmProgram Ends

Featured Speakers

Tim Gardner, University of Oregon
Presentation Title: High Precision Interfaces to Brain and Nerve

Abstract: Stable interfaces to the brain or peripheral nervous system will soon provide new avenues to treat diseases through precision neuromodulation. Achieving this goal requires advances in miniaturization to build devices that are better tolerated by the body and devices that achieve cellular resolution more reliably. This talk describes efforts to reduce the scale of neural interfaces for brain using microfabricated electrodes and surgical robotics, and efforts to increase the precision of peripheral nerve interfaces through new 3D printing methods that achieve micron resolution.  The talk will also briefly touch on how these tools were applied in songbirds, revealing fundamental principles of the song control circuits.

Bio: Tim Gardner received his PhD in Physics and Biology from The Rockefeller University in New York City. In 2009 he opened a laboratory at Boston University focused on building neural interfaces for brain and peripheral nervous system. The lab uses these interfaces to study sensory-motor learning at the cellular level.  In 2016 Tim joined the founding team of Neuralink, Inc, a company dedicated to building high bandwidth brain machine interfaces and robotics for brain surgery in humans. In 2019, Tim moved to the Knight Campus at the University of Oregon.

Elain Fu, Oregon State University
Presentation Title: Porous Microfluidic Sensors for Field Use

Abstract: Porous microfluidic sensors are well suited to field use applications. Advantages of the use of porous materials include small sample volume requirements, relatively low cost, capillary flow for fluid transport, and rapid and cost-effective device fabrication methods. This presentation will highlight our progress to develop a porous microfluidic device for home therapy monitoring for persons with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU). For people with PKU, maintaining restricted blood phenylalanine levels is a challenge. Current tests for the detection of phenylalanine require a high-resource laboratory environment and are not suitable for the rapid detection of phenylalanine levels and feedback to the patient that is needed for effective monitoring of PKU therapy. Our solution is a quantitative, “paper” microfluidic device that is rapid, easy to use, and low cost. The test is compatible with a finger-stick volume of whole blood and a run time of less than 5 minutes.

Bio: Elain Fu is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Oregon State University. Elain received a Sc.B. degree in Physics from Brown University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focus has been microfluidics-based sensor development with the goal of using an understanding of the physics and chemistry of device operation to improve device performance for field applications. Most recently, she has been active in the area of paper and fabric-based microfluidics. In particular, her lab develops tools for the manipulation of reagents in porous materials, in the context of high-performance analyte detection for precision health applications. She has published 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is a co-inventor on multiple patents and patent applications.

Summer Gibbs, Oregon Health& Science University
Presentation Title: Fluorescence Guided Surgery for Improved Clinical Outcomes

Abstract: Surgery has a prominent role in clinical medicine with over 300 million surgeries performed annually worldwide. The ultimate goal of surgery is to repair damaged or remove diseased tissues, while minimizing comorbidities by preserving vital structures such as nerves and blood vessels. Even as surgical techniques and tools have substantially advanced, with high resolution preoperative imaging and minimally invasive surgical techniques becoming routine, surgeons still rely mainly on the basic tools of white light visualization and palpation for guidance during surgery, leaving incomplete cancer resection rates high and comorbidities like nerve damage as major problems. Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) has the potential to revolutionize surgery by enhancing visualization of specific tissues intraoperatively. Using optical imaging of targeted fluorescent probes, FGS offers sensitive, real-time, wide-field imaging using compact imaging systems that are easily integrated into the operating room. A number of FGS systems are clinically available, however only a handful of contrast agents have been FDA approved. Our group is working to develop clinically relevant contrast agent technology to aid in intraoperative cancer margin assessment. Our technology will permit accurate staining of the resected tumor specimens, where the fluorescent agents will not need to touch the patient, providing a rapid path to clinical translation. We have also developed the first nerve highlighting fluorophores that are compatible with the FGS clinical infrastructure. Nerve damage is a major source of morbidity across all surgical specialties which results in chronic neuropathies that limit patient quality of life. Since nerve tissue largely cannot be repaired, avoiding its injury is of paramount importance. Substantial pre-clinical development for both cancer margin assessment and nerve preservation has been completed, where our optimized technologies are now poised for translation to improve clinical outcomes.

Bio: Summer Gibbs received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering under the direction of Dr. Brian W. Pogue at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2008. During her doctoral work she studied noninvasive fluorescence technologies and tissue light transport for brain cancer detection and cancer therapy monitoring. Dr. Gibbs completed her postdoctoral training in the Center for Molecular Imaging at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School under Dr. John V. Frangioni. Dr. Gibbs was promoted to Instructor in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School in July 2011. During her postdoctoral training she worked on applications of combinatorial solid phase synthesis for the development of unique fluorophore technology for image-guided surgery, development of a method for simultaneous tissue immunofluorescence staining with gold standard hematoxylin and eosin, high throughput screening technologies to improve cancer detection and treatment, and translation of instrumentation and contrast agents for image-guided surgery clinical trials. Dr. Gibbs joined the faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Oregon Health & Science University as Assistant Professor in June 2012. She also has cross appointments in the Knight Cancer Institute and OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. She was promoted to Associate Professor in July 2017. Her laboratory focuses on novel fluorescent probe development for improved macroscopic and microscopic imaging applications with special focus on tissue- and disease-specific fluorophores for image-guided surgery, methods for multicolor microscopy and fluorescent technologies to predict therapeutic efficacy for personalized medicine.

Matt Johnston, Oregon State University
Presentation Title: Emerging Toolkit for Integrated Electronic Biosensors and Lab-on-Microchip

Abstract: The Lab-on-CMOS research community leverages the power and economies of scale of modern silicon integrated circuits and microchips, built up over the previous fifty years for high-performance computation and imaging, for low-cost chemical and biological sensing applications. The integration of new materials, sensing modalities, and intelligent computation in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS)-based sensor platforms enable a broad range of miniaturized diagnostic, therapeutic, and continuous monitoring systems. In this talk, I will present a survey of ongoing research in my lab and others at Oregon State focused on the development and system-level integration of CMOS-integrated sensors for physical, chemical, and biological sensing. This includes CMOS-integrated single-photon detectors, high dynamic range visible light sensing, low-voltage energy harvesting, and applications in continuous biological monitoring, biopotential recording, and point-of-care and wearable devices. I will also describe our recently developed approach for the planar integration of IC-based sensors with microfluidic sample delivery using scalable, manufacturable processes.

Bio: Matthew L. Johnston received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, in 2005, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, New York, NY, in 2006 and 2012, respectively.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University. He was co-founder and manager of research at Helixis, a Caltech-based spinout developing instrumentation for real-time PCR, from 2007 until its acquisition by Illumina in 2010. From 2012 to 2013 he was a postdoctoral scholar in the Bioelectronic Systems Lab at Columbia University. He is a co-founder of Chimera Instruments, which designs high-speed electrophysiology amplifiers used by biophysics researchers around the world. Prof. Johnston currently runs the Sensors and Integrated Microelectronics Laboratory (SIM Lab) at Oregon State University, which leverages custom integrated circuit design and post-fabrication to build miniaturized sensor systems. His current research interests include integration of sensors and transducers with active CMOS substrates, lab-on-CMOS platforms for label-free chemical and biological sensing, and low-power distributed sensing applications.

Peter Jacobs, Oregon Health and Science University
Presentation Title: Precision Drug Delivery through AI and Integrated Sensing and Drug Delivery in Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract: The Artificial Intelligence for Medical Systems (AIMS) lab at OHSU is developing new sensing and drug delivery systems that are designed to improve the health outcomes of people with type 1 diabetes.  This talk will discuss new technologies being developed by the AIMS lab including new personalized, adaptive automated drug delivery systems and decision support systems that can provide precision drug delivery for people with type 1 diabetes across multiple interventional therapies.  Recent study results will be presented showing how integrating subcutaneous glucose sensing with a drug delivery catheter will soon be possible.  A discussion will also be provided on how mathematical models of the human glucoregulatory system can be used to design virtual patient populations for pre-clinical simulations.  And an overview of how these models may be used in designing and optimizing AI-based glucose control algorithms will also be provided.

Bio: Peter G. Jacobs, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) where he directs the Artificial Intelligence for Medical Systems (AIMS) lab (  He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from OHSU, his masters in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and his bachelors in engineering from Swarthmore College. His interests are in the area of medical device design, ubiquitous sensing technologies, machine learning, control systems, and signal processing as applied toward type 1 diabetes technologies.  The AIMS lab is focused on developing advanced control systems for automating delivery of insulin and glucagon and evaluating these systems in people with type 1 diabetes. In recent years, the focus has been on integrating exercise metrics into closed loop and decision support systems and in developing machine learning algorithms to predict hypoglycemia during sleep, during exercise, and in general under free-living conditions.  In addition to his academic work, he has been an early contributor to a number of diabetes technology companies including Dexcom, Waveform, MotioSens, and Pacific Diabetes Technologies.

Mike Pluth, University of Oregon
Presentation Title: Chemical Tools for Detection and Delivery of Reactive Sulfur Species

Abstract: Reactive sulfur species (RSS) play diverse roles in biological processes and contribute to an interconnected signaling network with other established small reactive molecules, including NO and CO. Of such RSS, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has emerged as an important biological signaling molecule that plays important roles in diverse processes ranging from angiogenesis and wound healing to protection against oxidative damage associate with ischemia/reperfusion events. Motivated by the potential for broad applications as both research and pharmacological tools, our lab is focused on developing new strategies for RSS and H2S detection and delivery. This presentation will focus on recent efforts focused in two primary areas: (1) new approaches for RSS and H2S imaging and (2) responsive donor motifs that allow for precise tuning of RSS and H2S delivery in response to specific stimuli, such as reactive oxygen species, enzymes, and bio-orthogonal activation.

Bio: Mike Pluth received his BS in Chemistry and Mathematics from the UO in 2004. He earned his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2008 as an NSF Predoctoral fellow, where he investigated supramolecular catalysis in self-assembled architectures. Mike then moved to MIT as an NIH Pathway to Independence Postdoctoral fellow, where he investigated methods for biological nitric oxide detection. In 2011, Mike started his independent career at the UO in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department and is currently an Associate Professor. He is a member of the Materials Science Institute, associate member of the Institute of Molecular Biology, and Knight Campus Associate. Research in the Pluth lab focuses on different aspects of molecular recognition at the interface of bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry, with a particular focus on developing chemical tools for detection and delivery of reactive sulfur species. Mike’s work has been recognized by a number of awards, including the NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, UO Outstanding Early Career Award, UO Fund for Faculty Excellence Award, and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award. Research in the Pluth lab is supported by the NSF, NIH, and private funding organizations.

Lodging Options

Courtyard Corvallis by Marriott

Located 5 minutes from Oregon State in downtown Corvallis. A Conference Rate is available for a 20% discount off rack rate. Discount applied for all standard king and double queen guestroom types based on availability. Go online for reservations; CLICK HERE.

You can also call the front desk at (541) 753-0199 and mention the code “Conference Rate” to receive the discount.

Courtyard Corvallis
400 SW 1st Street
Corvallis, OR 97333
Tel: (541) 753-0199

Holiday Inn Express Corvallis

The Holiday Inn is a little further from campus and is a cost effective lodging option. You can receive a 20% discount off rack rate by reserving a room online; CLICK HERE. Please note the link will take you to the Holiday Inn Express website. Click on the orange “CHECK AVAILABILITY” box on the website; you will be directed to the booking page where you can enter your dates and the rate for OSU will automatically be applied to your reservation.

You can also call the Holiday Inn Express at (541) 752-0800 and mention the rate called “Conference Rate” to book your room and receive the 20% discount.

Holiday Inn Express Corvallis
781 NE 2nd Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97330
Tel: (541) 752-0800

Program Committee

  • Adam Higgins, Oregon State University (committee chair)
  • Elain Fu, Oregon State University
  • Kate Schilke, Oregon State University
  • Owen McCarty, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Monica Hinds, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Bob Guldberg, University of Oregon
  • Jim Hutchison, University of Oregon

Contact Us

OSU Conference Services

Oregon State University
200 LaSells Stewart Center
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-9300
Toll-Free: (800) 678-6311
Fax: (541) 737-9315