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Dr. Todd’s Talk
Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Martin Cooper (left) and Todd Coleman.
Photo Julie Maxey-Allison.
Click on image to enlarge.

Epidermal electronics, medical advances that introduce non-invasive analysis of diseases, are coming our way in our foreseeable future according to Dr. Todd Coleman’s illuminating DMFTalk. He was entertaining as he explained the quite complex work he and his Neural Interaction Lab team, made up of a diverse group with varying PhD backgrounds, are doing right now at UCSD. They are seeking “novel translational solutions” — combining feedback and information theory to explore and provide insights into fundamental limits and mechanisms that define healthy and diseased states. They have developed bandaid size wearable sensors—without the bulk and mass of existing monitors—that blend with the skin. These patches placed on the skin outside the body can sense and wirelessly transmit information about the body’s functions.

Dr. Coleman specifically spoke about the use of the wearable sensors with GI or gastrointestinal diseases in our gut or “second brain.” GI diseases affect many people and many diseases begin in the gut, including Parkinson’s disease. Using the stomach as an example he noted that diagnosis is difficult. With current invasive testing it is assumed that the stomach is in a set position, like a heart. But it is not. A stomach moves around and is not in the same place in all people. Therefore the test can miss the area in question. The new alternative of epidermal electronics can be site specific and provide test information non-invasively.

Coleman attended the University of Michigan where he earned his BS in electrical engineering and computer engineering. He received his MS and PhD degrees from MIT. In the 2005-06 academic year he was a postdoctoral scholar at MIT and the Massachusetts General Hospital in computational neuroscience. He went on to be an Assistant Professor in electrical and computer engineering and neuroscience at the University of Illinois before joining the faculty of UCSD in 2011 where he is Associate Professor, Bio-engineering at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. Coleman also holds joint appointments in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in the Jacobs School and the Department of Ophthalmology at in the School of Medicine at UCSD. And more.

Dr. Coleman’s DMFTalk will be available on the Del Mar Foundation website: delmarfoundation.org.



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