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Calendar Year 2015 Presentations

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

How to power a pacemaker that is smaller than a grain of rice

Ada Poon, Ph.D.
Department of Electrical Engineering
Stanford University

Miniaturized electronics, when placed inside the body, can wirelessly monitor and modulate internal activity and thus hold promise as a new class of treatments for disorders. The development of such bioelectronic medicines requires wireless interfaces that are tiny and operate deep in a complex electromagnetic environment. In this talk, I will describe a new method for electromagnetic energy transfer that exploits near-field interactions with biological tissue to wirelessly power tiny devices anywhere in the body, including the heart and the brain. I will discuss engineering and experimental challenges to realizing such interfaces, including a pacemaker that is smaller than a grain of rice and a fully internalized neuromodulation platform. These devices can act as bioelectronic medicines, capable of precisely modulating local activity, that may be more effective treatments than drugs, which act globally throughout the body.

Ada received her B.Eng degree from the EEE department at the University of Hong Kong and her Ph.D. degree from the EECS department at the University of California at Berkeley. Upon graduation, she spent one year at Intel as a senior research scientist building reconfigurable baseband processors. Afterwards, she joined SiBeam Inc. architecting Gigabit wireless transceivers. After two years in industries, she returned to academic and joined the faculty of the ECE department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since then, she has changed her research direction from wireless communications to integrated biomedical systems. In 2008, she joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. She is a Terman Fellow at Stanford University. She received the Okawa Foundation Research Grant in 2010 and NSF CAREER Award in 2013.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

Breast CT for breast cancer screening and diagnostic evaluation
John M. Boone, Ph.D., FAAPM, FSBI, FACR
Professor and Vice Chair of Radiology
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of California Davis Medical Center

The breast tomography project began at the University of California Davis around the year 2000, and four prototype breast CT scanners have been designed, fabricated, integrated, and tested clinically since then. Over 600 women have had breast CT scans on these platforms. The breast CT systems at UC Davis make use of existing hardware such as a flat panel x-ray detector, x-ray tube and generator, and motor/encoder systems, but all other aspects were designed in-house, fabricated at a local machine shop under contract, and assembled and integrated in our laboratory. Each system represents an improvement over the previous scanner. We have studied the radiation dose levels used in breast CT, and have evaluated the image quality of each generation of breast CT systems. We have evaluated technical parameters such as spatial resolution, noise texture, and x-ray scatter contamination. We have also used the large breast CT data sets to evaluate the anatomical noise properties of the breast, using Fourier based mathematics, using computer-based observer (pre-whitened matched filter) performance criteria, and using human observers with simulated lesions on actual breast image backgrounds. We have studied breast density and have established that breast densities are much lower than historically assumed (~15 % instead of 50 % glandular fractions). We have used radiologist observers in subjective scoring evaluations to compare breast CT with other modalities such as mammography and breast tomosynthesis. In all of these evaluations, breast CT appears to deliver better breast cancer detection performance for mass lesions, and for contrast-enhanced microcalcifications as well. The lower spatial resolution of the earlier breast CT scanners limited microcalcification detection performance in non-contrast-enhanced imaging, however we are hopeful that our newest high resolution breast CT system will dramatically improve non-contrast enhanced microcalcification detection performance.

Dr. John M. Boone is a medical physicist who has worked at UC Davis in the Department of Radiology for 22 years. He received his undergraduate degree in biophysics from the University of California Berkeley, and went on to receive masters and doctorate degrees in Radiological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He served in faculty positions at the University of Missouri Columbia and at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia) prior to joining the faculty at UC Davis. Dr. Boone is the principal investigator of the Breast Tomography Project at UC Davis, and has developed breast CT technology over the past 15 years. In addition to dedicated breast CT, Dr. Boone has published widely on issues pertaining to radiation dose in breast imaging and whole body computed tomography, image quality assessment, and computer modeling studies. His x-ray spectrum models are used worldwide by x-ray scientists, and his breast dosimetry coefficients are used by manufacturers for computing dose on commercial mammography systems. He has published about 180 peer-reviewed papers, and is a co-author on a text* that is widely used for radiology resident and graduate student education. Dr. Boone is a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the Society of Breast Imaging, and the American College of Radiology. He is the 2015 President of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), and is a current commissioner of the International Commission on Radiation Units (ICRU).

*The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging, 3rd Edition, 2012, JT Bushberg, JA Seibert, EM Leidholdt, and JM Boone (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

A start-up's view of the challenges and opportunities in consumer healthcare
Greg Sommer
CEO, Sandstone Diagnostics

Consumers have never been more eager to take control of their health, and technologies have never been better to help them do so. Despite this tremendous opportunity there still exist many challenges in launching consumer medical products including FDA oversight, marketing, physician adoption, and investor hesitation. In this talk I will discuss the current consumer healthcare landscape from the perspective of a medical device start-up founder trying to change the way people think about and manage their health. I will include an overview of Sandstone's challenges, key decisions, and lessons learned in developing products for the consumer market.

Greg Sommer is a Founder and CEO of Sandstone Diagnostics - an early stage medical device company developing an over-the-counter male fertility test kit. Greg received a B.S. degree from Iowa State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to founding Sandstone in 2012, Greg was a senior scientist at Sandia National Labs where he led development of point-of-care clinical diagnostic technologies.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

The Materna Medical Device
Mark Juravic
CEO, Materna Medical

Must Women suffer lifelong consequences as a result of childbirth? Childbirth creates a tremendous amount of maternal trauma. Over 80% of women who deliver vaginally will suffer some degree of tearing, and roughly half of all women will suffer permanent pelvic muscle damage that will lead to pelvic disorders later in life. These pelvic floor disorders are a much bigger problem than most people realize. Approximately 11% of all women in the US will undergo surgery to treat a pelvic floor disorder, and over 1/2 of women will experience symptoms during their life, and damage from childbirth is the main reason why.
To prevent this damage, Materna's device slowly prepares the pelvic tissues, during labor, to maximize their stretch and perhaps create an easier and quicker delivery. Materna just initiated their second round of clinical studies at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA.

Mark Juravic has over 13 years of experience in the medical device industry. He started his career as an R&D engineer at Guidant, eventually leading several project teams in interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery. While working for Guidant, Mark took the Biodesign class at Stanford where he founded Materna Medical. Mark left Guidant to become Materna's CEO, has raised two rounds of angel funding, hired Materna's team, guided the device design, and organized Materna's initial clinical studies. Mark has a BSE in Bioengineering from Arizona State, and a MEng in Bioengineering from UCSD.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

The Voice of the Body — Samsung's Simband and SAMI
Matthew C. Wiggins, Ph.D.

Samsung is building a platform to enable industry and academia to make impactful discoveries and to change the way people participate in their own healthcare. Come find opportunities to leverage Simband and SAMI in your research/business.

What if your body had a voice? Samsung's Simband ( is designed to ‘listen’ to that voice, having a full suite of physiological sensors, all on your wrist (i.e., ECG, 8 PPGs, GSR, bioimpedance, skin temperature, accelerometers). Samsung's SAMI ( is a cloud-based data platform for collecting data from Simband and other devices such that developers can discover new ways to visualize and leverage that data to improve users' lives.

Both systems are open source, hardware and software, allowing transparency and wide participation. SAMI has been designed to be highly secure to protect your data, while allowing the user to control its access, meaning no one (including Samsung) sees your data without your approval. It also supports broad interfacing capabilities to allow development on a wide array of new uses and applications. Furthermore, the Simband/SAMI system has a Trials Tool to allow data collection and organization to support secure, distributed trial administration and subsequent data analysis.

Matthew Wiggins leads the Simband Algorithm Team at Samsung's Menlo Park based Strategy and Innovation Center. He specializes in leading programs involving signal acquisition, processing, and subsequent system inference. Dr. Wiggins received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as his Ph.D. in Bioengineering, minoring in biochemistry/physiology. Following five years of work funded through small business grants at TIAX, he led the Algorithm Software Group for HeartWare's new Ventricular Assist Device controller, an FDA Class III medical device.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

The GutCheck — an "EKG for the gut"
Steve Axelrod
CEO, G-Tech Medical

Up to 20% of the population suffers from digestive symptoms such as chronic abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and/or bloating. There is a wide spectrum of possible causes, ranging from life-threatening (colorectal cancer), to serious disease (Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis), to so-called "functional" disorders. Most diagnostic testing (colonoscopy, endoscopy, CT scan, MRI) is anatomically based and is effective at finding or ruling out cancer, tumors and inflammatory issues. However over half of these patients have functional issues, those for which there are no visible clues. Things look fine in the anatomic test, but they aren't working fine. The invasive and expensive anatomic tests rule out serious disease but do not tell the physician any more about what is causing the patients' symptoms, leaving both frustrated. There are few true functional tests available, and the ones that exist typically provide only limited information, for brief periods, under rather artificial conditions.

G-Tech's approach measures motor activity of the stomach, small intestine and colon by detecting the electrical signals from the smooth muscles as they contract to mix and propel their contents. This will provide a measure of motility, which is at the heart of functional issues. While considerably smaller than signals from the heart, the low frequency pacemaker signals from the digestive organs can still be measured at the skin surface, completely non-invasively. We are developing an approach to this measurement based on wireless electrode patches that will be worn on the abdomen for several days. The patches will be light, conforming, waterproof and disposable. They will send the raw data to a phone and on to a cloud server where we will process the data and make the results available to the physician for interpretation. The physician will use the information to target their therapy to the specific cause, which may be hyper- or hypo-activity in any one of the organs, dysrhythmia, etc. We believe this entirely new source of data will eventually expand the understanding of GI disorders and enable improved therapies.

Steve holds a BS in Physics from UConn and a PhD in Elementary Particle Physics from Yale. He played with technologies like particle detection and fast pulse instrumentation, sub-kelvin cryogenics, superconducting magnets, NMR and ESR, high vacuum systems and data acquisition and analysis. He remembers using Bitnet and Arpanet before there was a WWW, and sending emails to friends working at distant particle accelerators using PDP-10 and VAX terminals.

After graduation he took a postdoc position at Stanford and when that ended refused to leave the Bay Area. The next 15 years were spent at Measurex (later Honeywell) developing on-line measurement systems such as nuclear and X-ray basis weight and thickness sensors, infrared moisture sensors and large electromechanical scanning systems. In 2003 he joined Xoft Inc., a startup developing a 2mm diameter 50kV X-ray source for radiation therapy applications, and has been in the medical device field ever since. He has been CEO of G-Tech Medical since joining the company in late 2011. Steve has been in individual contributor and various levels of management roles, but has never been able to fully break away from the science and technology.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

Technology: the Greatest Medical Innovation of this century — where are the opportunities?
Ben Dubin
Venture Capitalist and Angel Investor
Robur Ventures

We are demanding immediate and massive improvements to our faulty existing healthcare system. Three key drivers at the forefront for reform are:
  1. Costs - reductions and more services for those with little money,
  2. Vitality - living longer and expecting more through our lives, and
  3. Change incentives - reward for success/cures not paying for test/services.
Technology will fundamentally change everything in healthcare with such things as limitless processing power throughout the entire network, unlimited bandwidth, free storage, connectivity everywhere, an infinite number of users/things/objects networked, new materials, massive data set analysis, etc. Everything in healthcare is subject for improvement and opportunities abound. Solutions and success will go to those that innovate by understanding both the newest technology as well as the healthcare issue/applications. These will be the medical innovators of this century.

Ben is preparing to launch the Olympic Venture Fund, new venture capital partnership of Robur Ventures, focusing on Digital Health and Optimizing Human Performance. Investment focus is the convergence of innovative and novel technology applied to sectors in life sciences/medical/sports and investments will be stage agnostic. Prior to Robur Ventures, he was a managing partner at Asset Management Ventures for 15 years, investing four venture funds in early stage technology and life science companies.

Ben has real hands-on experience as an engineer and entrepreneur with over 15 years as a technologist building innovative products. He co-founding two start-up companies; Los Altos Technologies (extreme computer security) and Full Source Software (the first open source Unix commercial software business).

Earlier in his career he joined a very young Sun Microsystems working for Eric Schmidt. He was part of a stealth team that created a state of the art parallel multiuser development environment. Years later, he rejoined Sun's Javasoft Division as the Senior Product Manager for Enterprise Java. There he led the introduction, management, and marketing of the Enterprise Java component and interface technologies.

Out of college, he worked as a hardware and software engineer for Lockheed Martin creating tools on the first Sun workstations for designing, interfacing and the simulation of semiconductors and complete circuit boards. As a designer, he holds a U.S. patent for a technique for minimal information database restoration that was of critical importance for Sun Microsystems.

When he is not trying to improve the world through venture capital, he enjoys having fun with his twin sons, working on old cars and competing in fitness challenges.

He holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Michigan, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering as well as an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Usages of the Tracking Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (TSLO)
Christy K. Sheehy
C Light Technologies

The human eye is always moving, even when it's fixating. With the eye as an ever moving object, recording high-resolution images of the retina can be quite challenging. Additionally, targeted light delivery to the retina remains uncontrolled with constant eye motion. To address these issues, we have built a tracking scanning laser ophthalmoscope (TSLO) that images the retina while simultaneously providing a high-fidelity eye motion trace. The TSLO tracks the retina at a rate of 960 Hz, with a tracking accuracy of 0.66 arcminutes (~3 µm) – down to the size of a individual cone photoreceptors (Sheehy et al. 2012). The TSLO system itself is robust, easy to use, cheap to build compared with many other eye trackers, and flexible in its usage. It can be operated as a stand-alone eye tracker or can be combined with other high-resolution imaging systems such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) (Vienola et al. 2012, Braaf et al. 2013) and adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopes (AOSLO) (Sheehy et al. 2015) to actively steer an imaging beam to stay on target. We will summarize how the TSLO improved the image quality and residual motion in these imaging modalities and report on future goals and usages of the system as a possible neuro-diagnostic.

Christy K. Sheehy is a PhD candidate in the Vision Science Graduate Group at the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests lie in the fields of high-resolution retinal imaging, optical engineering, and eye-tracking. She will be graduating this December 2015 and will then transition to a post-doc position at UCSF Medical Center in the Department of Neurology. There she plans to study eye motion in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Additionally, Christy is the Co-founder of a start-up, C. Light Technologies, whose mission is to commercialize the eye-tracking technology she designed and built for her PhD to use as a future neuro-diagnostic. When she's not writing her thesis or doing start-up activities, Christy loves to salsa dance, paddleboard, and try new cooking recipes.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015, 7:30 pm
Room M-114, Stanford University Medical School

Reimagining the Long-term Homecare Setting with Advanced, Wearable Technology
Mark A. Fauci
Founder and CEO
Gen-9, Inc.

The strong predilection of most of the elderly, and their families, is to maintain the independence afforded by long-term care delivery in the home rather than in the institutionalized setting. Properly managed, home care can have a significantly positive effect on the quality of care. However, demographic changes are having a profoundly negative impact on the nation's healthcare delivery system and the availability of resources required to meet the challenges of long-term eldercare. One method of mitigating the impact of diminishing human and economic resources in the homecare setting is to augment them with an integrated, technology-based infrastructure optimized for this purpose. We present a wearable technology called the Head-mounted Activity Monitoring (HAM) System. This device possesses functions and a form-factor superior to current wearable systems (Bluetooth headsets, smart watches, Google Glass, etc.), which are currently limited to operating only as accessories to smart mobile devices and performing rudimentary "step counting" functions. We will describe the development of a unique method of accurate indoor tracking relying solely on the data from the MEMS sensors (i.e. no external or internal references such as GPS, WiFi triangulation or vector maps, are used) and machine learning algorithms. We will also describe the HAM System's capability to perform highly specific anomaly detection that may ultimately be used to predict future events (ex. falls) or the early onset of diseases, thereby providing the opportunity for early intervention and prevention. The system will also provide Web and mobile data access to family and professional caregivers, as well as to medical researchers. This combination of capabilities has not been integrated into a single system before.

Mr. Fauci is the founder and CEO of Gen-9, Inc. and brings over thirty years of experience in applied research and commercial product development. As the Principal Investigator on both NIH and DOD funded research projects, he has been responsible for both technology transfer and original innovations as part of his participation in three startups, in two as founder, CEO and CTO, all in the health technology sector. In 2001 he was inducted into NASA's Space Technology Hall of Fame as an "outstanding innovator that has developed products from space benefiting planet Earth" and was active as an international speaker on the topic of re-missioning aerospace and defense technology for biomedical applications. He holds a B.S.S. from Stony Brook University and an M.B.A. from Dowling College.

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