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Chapter Activities - 2016

On November 15, 2016, IEEE EMBS Atlanta hosted Dr. Robert Matheny speaking on the subject of "Principles for In Vivo Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering."

If it is assumed that nothing works like the real thing then tissue engineering offers us the way toward tissue and organ replacement. Combining all the factors necessary to accomplish this is a daunting task as demonstrated by the myriad of studies and billions of dollars put toward this end. Perhaps the designs in nature offer us some clues that will accelerate our progress. By adhering to certain principles we can regenerate many kinds of tissues including those within the cardiovascular system. In this presentation principles of regeneration with be revealed that give us direction for creating new tissues to replaced damaged or defective ones. This in vivo regeneration provides a cost effective and practical approach to the restoration of normal and functional tissues.

As a Cardiothoracic surgeon and distinguished pioneer of minimally invasive cardiac surgical procedures, Dr. Matheny has worked with ECM materials for cardiovascular applications since 1993. He is a co-inventor on several ECM patents and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma and Baylor University. Dr. Matheny completed his MD at the University of Texas and completed his cardiothoracic fellowship at Ohio State University. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Matheny worked with a number of medical device companies including CardioThoracic Systems, Medtronic, Embolex, Amed Systems, Guidant, AFx and Corazon.

The IEEE EMBS society is grateful to Dr. Matheny for giving this lecture.


On August 30, 2016, IEEE EMBS Atlanta hosted Dr. Omer Inan speaking on the subject of "Non-Invasive Physiological Sensing and Modulation for Human Health and Performance."

This talk focused on non-invasive physiological sensing systems for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal applications. Specifically, two main thrusts of research will be discussed: (1) measurement and interpretation of the vibrations of body in response to the heartbeat as a means of assessing cardiovascular health at home and during normal daily living activities, and (2) wearable technology for measuring the sounds, swelling, and movement of the knee joint following acute injury to assist in rehabilitation. The vibrations of the body in response to the heartbeat are encompassed by a field called ballistocardiography. In this talk, ballistocardiogram (BCG) signal measurement using modified weighing scales and wearable accelerometers will be discussed, with an emphasis on obtaining clinically-relevant information from such BCG signals toward home management of heart failure patients. BCG signals are a mechanical measurement of heart function and thus can complement electrophysiology (heart rate and rhythm) information acquired using conventionally-measured electrocardiogram (ECG) signals. The sounds and swelling of the joints are important biomarkers of joint health, but cannot be quantified or interpreted using existing tools outside of clinical settings. The design and verification of the first wearable joint sound measurement system will be discussed, as well as an electrical bioimpedance based wearable system for quantifying swelling. Measurements from athletes following acute knee injury immediately after the injury and several months following rehabilitation will be shown to demonstrate that changes in knee health can be tracked over time with such wearable systems. In both cardiovascular and musculoskeletal applications, such wearable systems can potentially allow patients and caregivers more frequent, objective, and in-depth information regarding health status, thus enabling therapies to be adjusted based on the changing needs of the patient. This can lead to improved quality of life and care for these patients and - by potentially reducing the need for frequent hospital or clinic visits - reduce the overall cost of care.

Omer T. Inan received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2004, 2005, and 2009, respectively.

He worked at ALZA Corporation in 2006 in the Drug Device Research and Development Group. From 2007-2013, he was chief engineer at Countryman Associates, Inc., designing and developing several high-end professional audio products. From 2009-2013, he was a visiting scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford. In 2013, he joined the School of ECE at Georgia Tech as an assistant professor.

Dr. Inan is generally interested in designing clinically relevant medical devices and systems, and translating them from the lab to patient care applications. One strong focus of his research is in developing new technologies for monitoring chronic diseases at home, such as heart failure.

The IEEE EMBS society is grateful to Dr. Inan for giving this lecture.


On March 29, 2016, IEEE EMBS Atlanta hosted Prof. Garrett B. Stanley speaking on the subject of "Reading and Writing the Neural Code: What's Going on in the White House Brain Initiative?"

The external world is represented in the brain as spatiotemporal patterns of electrical activity. Sensory signals, such as light, sound, and touch, are transduced at the periphery and subsequently transformed by various stages of neural circuitry, resulting in increasingly abstract representations through the sensory pathways of the brain. It is these representations that ultimately give rise to sensory perception. Deciphering the messages conveyed in the representations is often referred to as "reading the neural code." True understanding of the neural code requires knowledge of not only the representation of the external world at one particular stage of the neural pathway, but ultimately how sensory information is communicated from the periphery to successive downstream brain structures. Our laboratory has focused on various challenges posed by this problem, some of which I will discuss. In contrast, prosthetic devices designed to augment or replace sensory function rely on the principle of artificially activating neural circuits to induce a desired perception, which we might refer to as "writing the neural code." This requires not only significant challenges in biomaterials and interfaces, but also in knowing precisely what to tell the brain to do. Our laboratory has begun some preliminary work in this direction that I will discuss. Taken together, an understanding of these complexities and others is critical for understanding how information about the outside world is acquired and communicated to downstream brain structures, in relating spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity to sensory perception, and for the development of engineered devices for replacing or augmenting sensory function lost to trauma or disease. Finally, I will try to provide a perspective on the recent activities associated with the White House driven Brain Initiative, which has the mission of advancing Neuroscience research through the development of Neurotechnologies.

Dr. Stanley's lab conducts research into how information about the outside world is encoded by the patterns of spiking neurons in the sensory pathways of the brain. They combine experimental and computational approaches to better understand ad control aspects of the neural code. Specifically they focus on the visual and somatosensory pathways at the junction between the sensory periphery and sensory cortex. Their experimental approaches include multi-site, multi-electrode recording, optical imaging, behavior, and patterned simulation. Their computational approaches include linear and nonlinear model estimation, information theory, observer analysis, and signal detection and discrimination. Their long-term goal is to provide surrogate control for circuits involved in sensory signaling, for pathways injured through trauma or disease.

In 2015, Dr. Stanley (and one other GT researcher) was selected to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, as part of a new round of projects for visualizing the brain in action. It's all part of the initiative launched by President Obama in 2014 as a broad effort to equip researchers with fundamental insights for treating a range of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Stanley and Dr. Dieter Jaeger, professor in Emory University's Department of Biology, are principal investigators of a project titled, "Multiscale Analysis of Sensory-Motor Cortical Gating in Behaving Mice." Their overall goal is better understand and capture the flow of information as we sense and perceive the outside world, so that they can take action. Dr. Stanley, is a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), a joint department of Emory and Georgia Tech.

The IEEE EMBS society is grateful to Dr. Stanley for giving this lecture.

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