From Nanowarming to Thermoregulation: New Multiscale Applications of Bioheat Transfer

John C. Bischof, Kenneth R. Diller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This review explores bioheat transfer applications at multiple scales from nanoparticle (NP) heating to whole-body thermoregulation. For instance, iron oxide nanoparticles are being used for nanowarming, which uniformly and quickly rewarms 50-80-mL (≤5-cm-diameter) vitrified systems by coupling with radio-frequency (RF) fields where standard convective warming fails. A modification of this approach can also be used to successfully rewarm cryopreserved fish embryos (∼0.8 mm diameter) by heating previously injected gold nanoparticles with millisecond pulsed laser irradiation where standard convective warming fails. Finally, laser-induced heating of gold nanoparticles can improve the sensitivity of lateral flow assays (LFAs) so that they are competitive with laboratory tests such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. This approach addresses the main weakness of LFAs, which are otherwise the cheapest, easiest, and fastest to use point-of-care diagnostic tests in the world. Body core temperature manipulation has now become possible through selective thermal stimulation (STS) approaches. For instance, simple and safe heating of selected areas of the skin surface can open arteriovenous anastomosis flow in glabrous skin when it is not already established, thereby creating a convenient and effective pathway to induce heat flow between the body core and environment. This has led to new applications of STS to increase or decrease core temperatures in humans and animals to assist in surgery (perioperative warming), to aid ischemic stress recovery (cooling), and even to enhance the quality of sleep. Together, these multiscale applications of nanoparticle heating and thermoregulation point to dramatic opportunities for translation and impact in these prophylactic, preservative, diagnostic, and therapeutic applications of bioheat transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-327
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 4 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • cryopreservation
  • nanoparticle heating
  • nanowarming
  • thermal contrast diagnostics
  • thermally enhanced sleep efficiency
  • thermoregulation


Dive into the research topics of 'From Nanowarming to Thermoregulation: New Multiscale Applications of Bioheat Transfer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this