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Grad Student's Research Eyes Device's Efficiency

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Suresh Nulu, a graduate student at UL Lafayette, is being recognized for his thesis work in Chemical Engineering. He recently captured top honors in a poster contest sponsored by the College of Engineering.

Nulu's thesis work is anything but average. He spent two years delving into the design and Bioengineering of ophthalmic devices used during corrective laser eye surgery. Specifically, he conducted research on the LaHayeSIK™ Surgical System invented by Dr. Leon LaHaye, a local Ophthalmologist.

He conducted laboratory experiments to analyze the performance of the LaHayeSIK™ Surgical System and other existing devices on the market. The second phase of the research was to utilize the Fluent (a state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamic simulator) to validate the test results of the various functions of the device, said Nulu. "Clearly the results showed that Dr. LaHaye's device was more effective and more comprehensive than other related devices and instruments used in LASIK surgery.

His professors expect his results to be published later in an academic journal. "Suresh's thesis work is a unique application in Bioengineering and our research has established the safety and effectiveness of the multiple functions achieved by the LAHayeSIK handpiece. These functions provide for improved laser accuracy, effectiveness and reproducibility, and eliminate backwash contamination, remove surgical debris, and the hazard of plume smoke," said Dr. Fred Farshad, UL Lafayette Texaco-Chevron Endowed Professor and graduate coordinator for Nulu.

In 2004, Farshad and Professor Herman Rieke along with three graduate students conducted analysis of the LaHayeSIK™ System after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested additional performance data, specifically dealing with fluid dynamics. The university team addressed irrigation, aspiration, sterile aeration, and surgical plume smoke evacuation functions of the unique multifunction handpiece. The findings were integral in a final report to the FDA, which gave clearance to the system two weeks later.

" Suresh's research substantiated the safety and efficacy of the LaHayeSIK™ System used in laser eye surgery" said Farshad.

Nulu is moving to Rhode Island this summer to intern with Amgen Inc., one of the world's top biotechnology companies. He was the only MS student amongst 600 Ph.D. students to study with Amgen in California last year. In addition, he has been offered several full research assistantships for Ph.D. program.

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