U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

AFRL/RH 711 HPW Fort Sam, Texas

SF.15.09.B1144:Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Nanosecond Electric Pulse-induced Bioeffects

Ibey, B.

(210) 539-7910

Selected projects will assist in the development of theoretical models and empirical techniques to investigate the propagation and related bioeffects of nanosecond electric pulses (nsEP) in isolated cells, tissues, and whole organisms. Current laboratory efforts have focused gathering empirical data on the cellular impact of nsEP using confocal microscopy and electrophysiology. Current modeling techniques used within the laboratory have been limited to finite different time domain (FDTD) methods restricting the model size/resolution available for whole cell simulations. Improvement upon FDTD methods or alternatives to such methods (e.g. FEM) for measuring deposition of electric fields in biological tissue/cells/organelles is of great interest. Development of advanced techniques for measurement of cellular response to nsEP is also of great interest with focus on utilization of atomic force microscopy/scanning ion conductance. Areas of work include (1) advanced numerical techniques for quantification of electromagnetic pulse propagation in cells/tissue, (2) molecular dynamic simulation of plasma membrane breakdown during electrical pulse exposure, (3) use of atomic force microscope/ion conductance microscopy for measuring cellular response to ultrashort electrical pulses, (4) high resolution imaging for analysis of plasma membrane disruption during electrical pulse exposure, (5) any empirical techniques capable of measuring plasma/organelle membrane breakdown or subtle changes in cellular function. Candidates with demonstrated experience in the fields described or possessing applicable related methods are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and summer students at the graduate and undergraduate level

SF.15.10.B3740: Laser-Tissue Interaction

Denton, M.


The goal of this research is to determine the effect of laser exposure on human tissues and to study the resulting mission impact. The analysis includes quantification of tissue parameters, the responses of tissues to optical irradiation, and modeling of the interactions. We study photothermal, photochemical, and photomechanical processes of laser-tissue interaction, as well as the resulting cellular insults. Understanding laser-tissue interaction is the first step toward optimizing military application of laser radiation. Our work emphasizes the occupational and environmental health aspects of laser-tissue interaction, using bench experiments coupled with modeling efforts. Results provide guidance to the laser safety community where safety standards either do not exist, or where deficiencies in biological data has made the criteria for setting standards ambiguous. In addition, we seek to understand and monitor dynamically the changes in tissue optical properties as the result of laser exposure. The laboratory offers extensive laser facilities and support equipment (including retinal and skin imaging) to investigate effects across the pulse-duration and wavelength spectrum.

SF.15.10.B3743: High-Power Microwave Bioeffects Research

Jauchem, J.

(210) 536-3572

Recent developments in electromagnetic technology have resulted in exposure sources capable of generating high-power microwave (HPM) pulses with relatively short pulse widths. As a result of the short pulse width and low pulse frequency (relative to more conventional emitters), the average power density during any period of exposure (and the resultant absorbed energy) is very low. Energy absorption in humans exposed to these systems would be considerably lower than levels suggested as safety guidelines. However, current safety standards for microwave exposure do not address the possibility of effects other than those related to total energy absorbed. Because of the anticipated increase in the use of HPM sources by the Air Force, we must obtain more knowledge about the biological effects of these systems. Our goal is to provide data relevant to health and safety standards related to a wide variety of biological systems. Current research covers a broad range of areas including cardiovascular and respiratory physiology, teratology, behavior science, developmental biology, and cancer biology. We are also interested in developing new techniques for dosimetry of electromagnetic pulses.

SF.15.10.B6039: Visual Effects from Bright Laser Light Exposure; Vision Science, Psychophysics, Behavior/Performance, Cognition, Attention

McLin, L.

(210) 539-8202

This is a multifaceted program integrating vision science, experimental psychophysics, vision modeling, behavior/performance and human factors. A topic of particular interest is conducting experiments to develop and validate the effect of laser glare (dazzle) on behavior and attention and dynamic visual tasks with motion. Laboratory psychophysical experiments are conducted to develop and validate vision models for vision over a range of ambient luminance levels from low mesopic to very high photopic. Other related areas of research include spatial vision, intraocular scatter, disability glare, discomfort glare, flashblindness, photostress recovery, macular pigment, color constancy, vision at mesopic levels, color zones and color naming, attention, and eye movements. Candidates with demonstrated laboratory experience in vision science,attention, and cognition are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and contract support staff to develop models and conduct experiments to validate models.

SF.15.10.B6041: Modeling Behavioral Responses to Non-Lethal Weapons

Ashworth, A.

(210) 536-1963

Researchers will assist in the development of models to describe the relationship between the physical effect of non-lethal weapons and the behavioral response. Modeling efforts range from process models describing qualitative relations between factors, to computational models for generating quantitative predictions based upon real time data collection. To be considered are: 1) individual psychological factors such as motivation, experience with and knowledge of the weapon, tolerance for pain and discomfort, observation of weapon use on a third party, gender, and age; 2) social factors such as cultural background, religion, group size, conformity, impressions of authority; 3) environmental factors such as ambient levels of temperature, light, and sound; and 4) type of non-lethal weapon such as blunt impact, riot control agents, malodorants, directed energy, flashbang, blast overpressure, and electromuscular stimulation. Candidates with demonstrated experience in the field or applicable associated research are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and contract support staff to develop models and draft guidance to inform policy decisions and security classification guides.

SF.15.12.B0906: Laser Eye Protection (LEP), Eyewear Design, and Ocular Vulnerability Modeling and Psychophysical Assessment of the Effects of LEP Devices on Visual Function

Kumru, S.

(210) 539-8244

The end-to-end laser eye protection (LEP) design capability can be accomplished by merging a frame and format design capability with a visual performance metrics and modeling capability to create a single, integrated package allowing complete human systems integration of LEP. Using 3-D mechanical design tools, it can provide for the rapid design and fabrication of prototype frames needed for proper form, fit and function, including integration with head-mounted systems. Using 3-D optical modeling tools, it can quantify and visually render the effects of LEP filters on human vision. The principal challenge to successfully completing this work is software development. Existing software will have to be improved to and integrate existing packages into both the frame/format design and optical modeling packages in hand.

To provide adequate eye protection, the prototype LEP devices (LEPD) specifically block designated wavelengths of laser light using absorptive dyes. If, by filtering out the laser light, the amount of visible wavelengths passing through the LEPD is reduced, visual function may be degraded because of shifts in the appearance of colored stimuli, reduction of contrast, and reduction of the total amount of light available for visual function. Evaluations are needed to determine how and to what extent the prototype LEPDs alter the user’s vision; specifically, their spatial acuity and contrast sensitivity with and without the presence of glare and color vision.

SF.15.12.B0907: Cellular Mechanisms of Low Level Red Light Bioeffects

Wigle, J.

(210) 539-8075

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is the term now used in place of (initially) low level laser therapy (LLLT) and (later) low level light therapy, in reference to a general invigoration of cells following exposure to low levels of select red or near infrared (NIR) wavelengths of light. Because the first observation was therapy-like, the vast majority of research on PBM has been therapy oriented. However, PBM has also been shown to protect retina cells in vivo against methanol toxicity and injurious levels of white light, rotenone- and MPP+-induced neurotoxicity and CCL4-induced hepatotoxicity. We have shown that PBM protects human retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells growing in vitro against the lethal effects of a pulse of 2 μm laser radiation, and the increased resistance correlates well with changes in the expression of genes that control apoptosis, (Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Hsp 70, caspase 8, caspase 9, FasL and p53), growth factors (NF-κB, cyclin D and VEGF-C) and ATP. We also found that intracellular nitric oxide (NO) levels are increased immediately post-exposure. The increase can be blocked by cyanide but is restored by exposure to red light, indicating that the increase in intracellular NO is controlled by cytochrome c oxidase (CCOX), Complex IV in the electron transport chain of mitochondria. But these changes are absent in a VEGF-C knockdown strain of the RPE cells, offering an approach to understanding the mecvhanism with classical genetic analysis. While many physiological changes have been catalogued, early events in the cascade of effects are poorly understood. In order to exploit PBM to benefit performance and/or protection of the warfighter, and be sure there are no acute or chronic ill effects of PBM, the biochemical mechanism of these effects must be known. Therefore, the goal of this research is to reveal physical, chemical, molecular, biological, and cellular mechanisms of PBM. The influence of light exposures on reduction/oxidation potentials in cells, gene expression (DNA methylation, DNA transcription, and/or mRNA translation), protein phosphorylation, cell cycle perturbations, cell membrane effects, free-radical production, necrosis and the competing roles of cytochrome c-linked apoptosis and the protective effect of CCOX-linked PBM are all of interest. The RPE in vitro experimental system is preferred, but other ideas/approaches will be considered within our existing capability to provide laboratory support.

SF.15.13.B0911: Optical Investigation of Biological Response to Electromagnetic Exposure

Beier, H.

(210) 539-8199

Researchers will assist in the development or application of optical approaches for investigation of the biological response to electromagnetic exposure. Current laboratory efforts are focused on using techniques such as spontaneous and coherent Raman scattering, fluorescence lifetime, high-speed imaging, and confocal and multi-photon microscopy, to elucidate effects observed after directed energy exposure. Of particular interest is understanding the biological mechanisms underlying neural stimulation or inhibition from infrared laser pulses. Candidates with biological or biochemical expertise seeking to use optical approaches for investigation of their observed phenomenon, as well as those with demonstrated experience in novel optical sensing and imaging approaches, are desired. The laboratory offers extensive laser facilities across the pulse-duration and wavelength spectrum and a range of optical and microscopy equipment.

AFRL/Airman Systems

Dr. Rajesh Naik
711th Human Performance Wing (711 HPW/CL)
2610 Seventh St. Bldg 441, Rm 2-101
WPAFB, OH 45433
Telephone: (937) 255-8222
E-mail: 711.HPW.ChiefScientist@us.af.mil