The University of Missouri-Rolla doesn’t have a medical school, but it does have faculty members who are conducting important medical research. Two such researchers, Dr. Chang-Soo Kim and Dr. Mohamed N. Rahaman, were recently selected to receive the John W. Claypool Award for Medical Research.
Claypool, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at UMR in 1960, became interested in medical research when his late wife, Nancy Claypool, died of cancer in 1992. The Claypool Award was created to recognize outstanding medical research by UMR faculty. The award includes funding to support the research efforts.
Dr. Chang-Soo Kim, an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and the department of biological sciences, is working on an intelligent microsensor system for continuous glucose monitoring. Kim says the purpose of the research is to circumvent the instabilities of available glucose sensors by emphasizing self-calibration and self-diagnosis. Eventually, Kim’s research could help eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood when checking glucose levels. The monitor could be worn like a watch.
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, more than 80,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes each year.
Dr. Mohamed N. Rahaman, a professor of materials science and engineering, is conducting research on ceramic bearings for use in hip and knee replacements. In collaboration with Dr. Sonny Bal, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Rahaman is developing new ceramic composite bearings that are less likely to experience brittle failure over time. In addition, Rahaman is developing bioactive glass coatings for the fixation of the bearings. Unlike bone cement, which deteriorates over time, the glass coating forms a strong bond with surrounding bone. Rahaman is also conducting tissue engineering research to regenerate natural bone joints through the use of stem cell-seeded composites of bioactive glass and hydrogels.
Approximately 500,000 joint replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States.
While their work is funded by multiple sources, both UMR researchers will receive an additional $1,000 as Claypool Award recipients.
Claypool, of Wildwood, Mo., worked in the aerospace industry for several years prior to joining the St. Louis company his father founded, Claypool Pump and Machinery Co.