UT Austin Department of Biomedical Engineering professors James Tunnell and Michael Sacks received the prestigious Best Paper Award from the Annals of Biomedical Engineering (ABME).

Sacks and Tunnell were co-authors of the paper, “Simultaneous Wide-Field Planar Strain–Fiber Orientation Distribution Measurement Using Polarized Spatial Domain Imaging,” along with three other researchers.

Out of the 235 papers published in ABME in 2022, their paper was one of only two that received the award.

About The Research:

The researchers developed a method to image strain (movement) across flat tissue surfaces under load without having to place markers on the tissue surface. Strain maps are used to study the mechanical behavior of tissues such as heart valves to help understand their normal function and disease states.

Typical strain maps require placing markers on the tissue surface, which can disrupt the tissue's natural state. The researchers used another imaging method they developed to map fiber orientation and used the fiber orientation map as a texture that could be used to determine strain. The imaging technique (known as pSFDI) uses polarized light to map both fiber orientation and strain in fibrous tissues without requiring any modification to the tissue.

This method will allow better understanding of the mechanics of soft tissue for understanding disease and developing prosthetic materials.   

The award was announced at the 2023 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Conference in Seattle this past Saturday.