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Report of program activities : National Institutes of Health. Division of Research Services (Volume 1969) online

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To maintain and repair scientific laboratory and clinical equipment.

To provide communication between NIH and the general public on engineering
support to clinical and biomedical research.

To serve as a source of informed authority in matters pertaining to engineering
in medicine and biology.

B . Current Programs

The primary purpose of the Branch is to provide service and support to the
intramural program of the NIH. BEIB activities, therefore, are identified with
many of the individual programs that constitute the intramural research effort.
The overall Branch program is best described as the coordinated effort of its
operating units.

1. Instrument Fabrication Section

a. Prepares minor designs of, makes modifications to, and fabricates bio-
medical equipment and instrumentation systems.

b. Produces devices requiring special tools and skills in the electronic,
electrical, glass, mechanical, optical, rubber, plastics, welding, and sheet
metal categories.

2 . Systems Maintenance Section

a. Maintains and repairs biomedical equipment and instrumentation systems.

b. Instructs technicians and scientists in the proper use and operation
of especially complex instruments and devices.


3. Electrical and Electronic Engineering Section

a. Collaborates with intramural professional staff in fundamental and
applied projects relevant to biomedical research and health care.

b. Provides consultative electrical and electronic engineering support to
biomedical research projects at NIH.

c. Designs, develops, and evaluates electrical and electronic instrumenta-
tion and equipment used in research and clinical applications.

d. Provides communication between NIH and the general public on electrical
and electronic engineering support to biomedical research and clinical practice.

4. Chemical Engineering Section

a. Collaborates with intramural professional staff in fimdamental and
applied projects relevant to biomedical research and health care.

b. Provides consultative chemical engineering support to biomedical
research projects at NIH.

c. Designs, develops, and evaluates chemical instrumentation and equipment
used in research and clinical applications.

d. Provides communication between NIH and the general public on chemical
engineering support to biomedical research and clinical practice.

5. Mechanical Engineering Section

a. Collaborates with intramural professional staff in fundamental and
applied projects relevant to biomedical research and health care.

b. Provides consultative mechanical engineering support to biomedical
research projects at NIH.

c. Designs, develops, and evaluates mechanical instrumentation and equip-
ment used in research and clinical applications.

d. Provides communication between NIH and the general public on mechanical
engineering support to biomedical research and clinical practice.

6 . Branch Engineers

These senior professionals serve as staff consultants in the Office of the Chief
and are assigned to organize, conduct, and oversee particular comprehensive,
long-range research and development projects. They provide unique scientific
and engineering knowledge to the Branch and NIH.


7. Supply Unit

Provides for the acquisition and disposition of materials, parts, and equipment
required for Branch operations. Maintains controlled inventory stocks and
records. Projected sales for the fiscal year exceeded $316,000.



Satellites are technical support units, composed of selected engineers and
technicians with appropriate shop facilities, located in certain areas where
it is beneficial to make typical BEIB support and service immediately available
via a controlled degree of decentralization. They are responsive to demands of
local programs and operate as integral parts of the resident team but are ad-
ministratively responsible to the central Branch. Each is especially tailored
to meet specific needs of the host Institute or Division. Satellite operation
supplies the host with the advantages of a proprietary technical group and
maintains the chief benefits of centralized resources.

C. Program Progress and Accomplishments

The quality of service and support by BEIB to the research program of NIH con-
tinues to improve. This results directly from (1) emphasis on the role of
professional physical scientists and engineers as collaborators in health re-
search, and (2) improved capability of the technical services work force at a
higher level of experience and competence.

1. Workload

The IPS processed approximately 4,500 different project assignments involving
minor design, fabrication, or major modification. The SMS processed approxi-
mately 7,500 different project assignments involving maintenance, repair, or
minor modification.

BEIB engineers were involved with approximately 180 different research and
development projects. The number of comprehensive long-range projects with
which the Branch is involved has significantly increased as BEIB's role in the
NIH program evolves. Individual projects of special research interest are
detailed in Section III. Program areas that continue to receive considerable
attention are as follows:

a. Improved techniques and systems for physiological monitoring in
surgery and intensive patient care.

b. Systems design and construction for mechanizing and automating
laboratory and clinical procedures.

c. Research and development in artificial organs and prostheses, including
studies of basic phenomena and construction of devices for artificial heart
components and hemodialysis therapy.

d. Systems design and construction of devices to gain more benefits from
automatic data processing and electronic computation and control.


e. Improving tools for cardiac and neurosurgery.

f. Developing the laser as a useful device in life science research and
therapy, as well as extending its physical potential.

g. Research and development on the synthesis of special materials for
b iomedi cal app li cations .

h. Analysis and modeling of physiological phenomena especially related to
therapeutic processes.

2 . Technical Advances

BEIB has delivered a considerable number of special-purpose devices and
systems in support of Institute research projects. Items of more than casual
interest follow:

A high pressure ion-exchange chromatograph extends range and resolution of the
technique to enable new investigations of abnormal metabolites in urine.

A drop-o-matic device dispenses precise volumes of reagents into test cells
used in virological research, A 96-cup microtitration plate can be automati-
cally filled in 20 seconds with drops ranging from .012 cc to .065 cc to
within 2 percent.

An internal brain temperature telemetry system , with a range of 15 inches,
operates with a 300 KC carrier pulsed at a rate proportional to temperature.

An automated processing unit for the LKB mass spectrometer conditions signals
for tape recorder and galvonometer-recorder presentation and automatically
sequences tape start, tape speed regulation, mass spectrum start, and system
stop .

A baseline correction system , which improves accuracy of EPR apparatus, sub-
tracts blank specimen sweeps from test specimen signals.

A rheometer measures shear in biological gels with a temperature controlled
reciprocating precision viscometer with motions of .001 inches measured to
.00001 inches over a frequency range of 50-400 Hz.

A solid state electrometer for use with a gas chromatograph, features short-
term stability of 10 femto-amperes over a 10-minute period.

A modified syringe and syringe-needle washing machine incorporates a new
operating concept to achieve the proper degree of cleanliness.

A digital electronic unit synchronizes the operation of a specimen sampler with
a peristaltic pump used in automated clinical chemistry systems.

A solid state pH meter with unusually fast response from high Impedance and
high speed electrodes provides adjustable gain, offset, filtering, and output
logging capabilities.


A slow "T-jump" apparatus regulates temperatures before and after the jump,
using a novel feedback arrangement.

A log converter transforms spectrophotometer output from units of absorbance
to units of optical density for strip chart recording.

A digital programmer for a protein sequenator provides for automatic recycling
through a 30-stage operation.

A mechanized cabbage slicer , which destalks and quarters cabbages for animal
feed, replaces a time-consuming, dangerous manual operation.

A vial filling and capping machine automatically fills and caps vials of
nutrient media at the rate of 30 per minute.

An automatic pipette wrapping machine packages individual clean pipettes in
sealed autoclavable paper envelopes at the rate of 900 per hour.

A homogenize r , wl^ich efficiently processes very small samples of bone, gristle,
cartilage, fur, etc., is especially useful for contamination-free radioactive

Strain-gaged forceps measure applied forces and deformations of sheep fetus
skulls .

Improvements on Gary Spectrophotometers enable automatic absorbance range
finding, intermittent sample selection, sequential base-line balancing, and
hydrogen lamp hazard protection.

Special amateur radio stations housed in transportable console cabinets
improve the capability of the PHS emergency radio network.

A special quartz cell provides for highly reliable continuous determinations of
carbon-'-^ and tritium in radioactive tracer investigations of animal tissue.

A novel quartz cell enables acquisition of Raman spectra for materials at
60OK(-400OF) .

A dual ratio hydraulic micromanipulator permits electrode positioning with one
micron incremental resolution for stimulating and recording from subcortical
cells .

A view attachment for micromanipulators permits microscopic studies at the
electrode-cortex interface in animal studies.

A unique short-arm centrifuge head greatly improves the purity of viable
mammalian cell separations.


LU-aL - J . JB

3 . Inventory and Supply

Centralization of procurement operations, achieved during the previous fiscal
year, and improved inventory procedures have enhanced service and provided
Branch management with more concise cost analysis of operating expenses.

The use of blanket purchase orders was enlarged and improved during the past
year. Simplified procurement procedures, resulting from increased delegation
of procurement authority from the SMB Procurement Section, have materially
reduced the volume of formal purchase orders and produced concomitant savings.

4 . Service Contracts

The Branch encourages the use of contractual services, with special emphasis
on service-type contract with certain scientific equipment suppliers. Fixed
price contracts with Beckman Corporation, Spinco and Spid Divisions, have
proven beneficial to the scientific staff. The class of equipment covered
includes centrifuges, spectrophotometers, pH meters, gas chromatographs , and
liquid scintillation counters. Specific benefits provide:

a. Consulting services on custom engineering modifications and special
accessories .

b. Information for researchers and technicians on new techniques and
applications as developed.

c. Guidance and assistance in setting up scheduled service and maintenance
programs .

A contract with the Materials Evaluation Laboratory, National Bureau of
Standards, provides NBS equipment and personnel for testing elastomer formula-
tions and specimens provided by BEIB and reports on data such as rheograph
curves and stress-strain relationships. It further provides data in support
of the biomate rials development program which is not available at NIH because
of lack of suitable equipment.

5 . Training

An effective professional and technical training program provides improved,
up-to-date support to NIH in engineering, fabrication, and maintenance.
Fifty-four employees participated in academic and technical courses. Fifty-
three (342-1/2 man days) attended formal education and training courses.
Eight (65 man days) received specialized training on scientific equipment at
suppliers' plants and at the NIH.

The following were conducted jointly by BEIB/SMS and Beckman Instrument
Company under the terms of Contract #NIH-69-454:

a. Two five-day sessions were included in the Third Annual Amino Acid
Analyzer Course presented by Dr. Erhard Gross, NICHD, to 31 scientific and
technical attendees.


b. Three sections of the Ultracentrifuge Training Class met for one week
each. A total of 37 persons attended, including, in addition to NIH employees,
representatives from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Fort Detrick; Wyeth
Laboratories, Philadelphia, and the University of Buenos Aires at Argentina.
Instructors were Dr. Samuel Luborsky, NCI, and Dr. Marc Lewis, NINDS.

c. A three-week laboratory session, part of the Analytical Ultfracentrifuga-
tion course offered by the NIH Graduate Program, AFES, was attended by 38
students. Dr. Luborsky and Dr. Lewis were the instructors for this course also,
which was held in the SMS area.

d. A two-day training seminar in the theory and usage of Schlieren optics,
in conjunction with the Beckman preparative ultracentrifuge, was attended by

45 persons. Dr. C. Cervenka, Application Engineer, lectured on theoretical
considerations .

6 . Equipment Utilization

In cooperation with the Supply Management Branch, BEIB has improved the mechan-
ism for utilization of used scientific equipment. When items are declared
excess to SMB, the property transfer orders are routed through BEIB, which
inspects the equipment and judges the feasibility and cost of repair. When
advisable, BEIB restores the equipment to good condition.

The SMS, BEIB, maintains a comprehensive inventory of useful scientific equip-
ment which is made available for loan to NIH researchers on a request basis.
When a request to use a device is for one year or more, a property transfer is
arranged. When the request is for short-term use, it is loaned without cost
and then returned to the loan pool.

BEIB also maintains a sizable number of certain classes of equipment to replace
components when the user's equipment is in the shop for repairs.

At the present time, there are about 200 significant items in the loan pool.
Approximately 60 of these are on loan at any given time. Over the course of
the past year, approximately 60 items have been acquired from SMB's excess
property, refurbished by BEIB, and transferred to users on a permanent basis.

D. Problems

1. Personnel

Increased federal salaries and improved recruitment practices have contributed
to a significant increase in the number of qualified professionals seeking
engineering positions in the Branch. Ceiling restrictions in effect throughout
the fiscal year have, however, drastically curtailed program developments in
such important areas as artificial organs, materials development, and mechaniza-
tion and automation of laboratory and clinical procedures.

Better programs and procedures are needed to develop and recruit technicians,
from a variety of trades and disciplines, who have competence relevant to the
Branch mission.


More progressive application of policies and procedures and generally superior
service at the Division level have enabled the Branch to improve its support to
the NIH intramural research program. There is a need, however, to examine
policies and procedures elsewhere at NIH and at higher levels to insure that
this Branch is able to compete equitably in the recruitment and retention of
qualified personnel.

2 . Space

Had not drastic personnel ceiling restrictions been imposed during the year,
overcrowding for the engineering sections would now be most serious. It is
essential that appropriate measures be planned for the time when such con-
straints are relaxed. Renovation of the Building 10 Satellite Unit space during
the previous fiscal year helped to relieve problems of overcrowding and noisy
working conditions somewhat. Additional adjacent space is still required,
however, if the satellite is to fulfill its purpose most effectively.

Expansion of the equipment utilization program requires additional space
adjacent to the Systems Maintenance Section if it is to meet the growing
demands of the NIH intramural research staff.

3. Budget

Current projects of a continuing nature are already being jeopardized by ex-
pected curtailment of the FY 1970 budget. Funding of anticipated pay raises
within the limit of current resources will seriously reduce the effectiveness
of service and support to the NIH intramural research program and have a
serious adverse effect on important projects initiated by BEIB professionals.

E . Program Plans

The severe constraints on budget and personnel ceilings that were invoked dur-
ing FY 1969 sharply retarded progress on program plans made in earlier years.
Issues that remain unfulfilled include:

1. Implementation of a new NIH organization for more comprehensive coordina-
tion of engineering and physical sciences with medicine and biology.

2. Installation and operation of an NIH-wide economic scientific equipment
utilization program.

3. Establishment of additional satellite technical support units.

4. Improvement of mechanisms for development and transfer of engineering
innovations to biomedical research applications within the NIH structure.

Uncertainties regarding organizational and financial expectations for the
near future demand a rather conservative planning philosophy. Significant
expansion of program is not anticipated, but major emphasis will be placed
on careful selection of priorities to make the best possible use of available
resources and guarantee a competent group that is prepared to respond quickly
to changes as they occur.


Progress continues in the level of contribution by BEIB scientists and
engineers to NIH research programs. The innovating and developing of new con-
cepts and their acceptance by intramural scientists have continued to grow.
The Branch expects to maintain its efforts in promoting these trends and ex-
tending work in areas such as physiological monitoring for patient care, new
diagnostic and surgical tools, mechanization and automation, artificial thera-
peutic devices, laser technology, physiological systems analysis, and
biomaterials .

The Branch has launched a new phase of collaborative work with intramural
scientists and private sector institutions via engineering development con-
tracts. Two topical areas have been cited for which contracts will be awarded
and monitored by BEIB:

1. Multiple Parameter, Intravascular Monitoring Catheter System

2. Large-scale Production of Biological Materials

It is anticipated that this collaborative contract operation will establish a
new pattern for BEIB which should help to maximize the utilization of its pro-
fessional talent and improve its effectiveness as a contributor to the overall
NIH program.

F. Publications, Presentations

1. Publications

Battig, C. G.: Electrosurgical bum injuries and their prevention. Journal
of the American Medical Association , 204: 1025-1029, 1968.

: Checking for electrical shock hazards. Anesthesiology , 29: (5) 1046,


Bischoff, K. B. and Dedrick, R. L.: Thiopental pharmacokinetics. Journal of
Pharmaceutical Sciences , 57: 1346, 1968.

: Discussion of correlations of blood coagulation with surface properties

of materials. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research , 2: 89-93, 1968.

Boretos, J. W. and Pierce, W. S.: Segmented polyurethane: A polyether polymer.
An initial evaluation for biomedical applications. Journal of Biomedical
Materials Research , 2: 121-130, 1968.

Bourgeois, L. D., Nutt. D. A ., and Young, V. M. : New antibiotic disc dis-
penser. Applied Microbiology , 16: (10), 1606-1607, 1968.

Cohen, G. S.: Keeping a close watch on the critical patient. Instrumentation
Technology (J. ISA), 15: (8), 71-74, 1968.


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Cohen, G. S.: State of the art: Intensive care equipment. In J. N. Martin
(Ed.) Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation , Vol. 5. Proceedings of the 6th
National ISA Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation Symposium, Pittsburgh, Pa.,
1968, pp. 11-16.

Dedrick, R. L.: Observations on biomedical engineering. Transactions of the
New York Academy of Sciences , Series II, 30: (5), 677-689, 1968.

, Gabelnick, H. L., and Bischoff, K. B.: Kinetics of urea distribution.

In Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology ,
1968, Houston, Texas, Vol. 10. The Conference Committee for the 21st Annual
Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology, L. A. Geddes, Chairman,
Baylor University, College of Medicine, p. 36.1. (Paper presented in Houston,
Texas, November 1968)

Button, R. C, Baler, R. E., Dedrick, R. L . , and Bowman, R. L.: Initial
thrombus formation on foreign surfaces. Transactions of the American Society
for Artificial Internal Organs , 14: 57, 1968.

Friauf, W. S.: Letter to Editor, Simplified application of Kubelka-Munk Theory
to absorption spectroscopy. Applied Optics , 7: 2417-2418, 1968.

: Simplified strobing of ten line code. Electronic Design . (In press)

: Rats: Their comings and goings. NTC '69 Record . National Telemetering

Conference, Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D. C, April 22-24, 1969.
Published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.,
New York, New York, pp. 34-38,

Fuhrer, J. S., Boerth, R. C, and Covell, J. W.: A technique for the control
of wall stress in the canine left ventricle. In Proceedings of the Annual
Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology , 1968, Houston, Texas, Vol.
The Conference Committee for the 21st Annual Conference on Engineering in
Medicine and Biology, L. A. Geddes, Chairman, Baylor University, College of
Medicine, p. 35A3. (Paper presented in Houston, Texas, November 1968)


Goodman, L.: Biomedical engineering and the requirements of a user.
Laboratory Management , p. 26 ff, 1968. Also published in Conference on Impact
of Bio-Engineering on Engineering Education , Aug. 29-31, 1966, Gatllnburg,
Tennessee, pp. 115-120 (Conf .-660838) .

: Medical control systems. In revised edition, McGraw-Hill

Encyclopedia of Science and Technology . (In press)

: Clinical implications of equipment characteristics. Proceedings of

Meeting, Computer Applications in Clinical Electrocardiography , American
College of Cardiology. (In press)

Hoye, R. C, Thomas, L. B., Riggle, G. C . , -and Ketcham, A.: Effects of neo-

dymium laser on normal liver and Vx2 carcinoma transplanted into the liver of

experimental animals. Journal of the National Cancer Institute , 41: 1071-1082,


, yhVKm-

Ketcham, A. S., Hoye, R. C, and Rlggle, G. C . ; The laser - its role in
cancer. Chapter 8, in Ariel, I. M. (Ed.): Progress in Clinical Cancer ,
Vol. 4. New York City, Grune and Stratton, 1969. (In press)

Mann, P. E, G. and Boretos, J. W. ; A low dead space feline anesthetic mask.
Laboratory Animal Care , 18: (6), 657-659, 1968.

Ommaya, A. K., Boretos, J. W., and Beile, E. E .: The lexan calvarium: An
improved method for direct observation of the brain. Journal of Neurosurgery ,
XXX: (1), 25-29, 1969.

Peterson, J. I.: Gel-electrophoresis destaining apparatus. Analytical
Biochemistry , 25: 257-259, 1968.

: Urinary glucose measurement. Clinical Chemistry , 14: 513-520, 1968.

and Young, D. S.: Evaluation of the hexokinase/glucose-6-phosphate

dehydrogenase method of determination of glucose in urine. Analytical
Biochemistry , 23: (2), 301-316, 1968.

, Wagner, F., Anderson, F., and Thomas, G. M. , Jr.: Design and testing

of some automatic sample introduction valves for liquid chromatographs.
Analytical Biochemistry . (In press)

Pierce, W. S., Turner, Jr., M. C, Boretos, J. W ., Nolan, S. P., and Morrow,
A. G.: The development and experimental evaluation of an implantable left
ventricular bypass pump. Surgery (In press)

Pool, P. E., Norris, G. F., Lewis, R. M. , and Covell, J. W.: A biopsy drill
permitting rapid freezing. Journal of Applied Physiology , 24: (6), 832, 1968.


Riggle, G. C, Hoye, R. C, Farmer, J., and Ketcham, A. S.: Effect of hi-power
neodymium laser on normal and tumor tissue. In Proceedings of the Annual
Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology , 1968, Houston, Texas, Vol.10.
The Conference Committee for the 21st Annual Conference on Engineering in
Medicine and Biology, L. A. Geddes, Chairman, Baylor University, College of
Medicine, p. 6.7. (Paper presented in Houston, Texas, November 1968)

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Online LibraryNational Institutes of Health(U.S.). Division of RReport of program activities : National Institutes of Health. Division of Research Services (Volume 1969) → online text (page 2 of 12)