Brandon Rios

MIT Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Giovanni Traverso
Undergraduate Institution: Washington University in St. Louis
Website: LinkedIn
Research Poster
Lightning Talk


My name is Brandon Rios and I am a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Mechanical Engineering. Beginning my research career during the summer of 2019, I have been recognized as a MARC USTAR Research Fellow for my undergraduate study of engineered micro heart muscle. As president of the Biomedical Engineering Society at WashU, I seek to promote diversity in the sciences by encouraging minority students both at my university and in the surrounding community to pursue their dreams in STEM careers. I hope to earn a PhD in Mechanical Engineering so that I may work in the Biomedical Device industry and develop products to improve the quality of life of society as a whole.

2021 Abstract

Characterizing Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Agarose Phantom to Model Stomach Tissue

 Brandon Rios, James McRae, Giovanni Traverso
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 According to the CDC, one in every 17 adults in the US suffer from a digestive disorder. Electrical stimulation of the stomach through mechanical or hormonal modulation is a promising therapeutic intervention to reduce nausea in patients, however, current FDA-approved devices require invasive implant procedures. The Traverso Lab at MIT is developing an ingestible device for the non-invasive delivery of electrical stimulation to the stomach for hormone modulation. This device, currently being tested in vivo in large animal (porcine) models, can successfully deliver electrical stimulation to the stomach mucosa to induce hormone modulation. In order to optimize the mechanical design to ensure reliable and targeted electrical stimulation, rapid prototype iteration and evaluation is critical. This has been pursued via a benchtop agarose-PBS phantom that accurately models the mechanical and electrical properties of stomach tissue. By characterizing the mechanical properties of agarose through tension and compression testing, the Young’s Modulus, a measure of stiffness, was acquired, and by comparing this data to actual stomach tissue mechanical data from the literature, a representative model of the different layers of the stomach wall was fabricated for the rapid testing of these ingestible devices on the benchtop for the therapy of gastrointestinal disorders.