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Imaging Technologies In Development For Ophthalmic Applications

Thursday – August 17, 2017, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

SriniVas Sadda
President and Chief Scientific Officers of the Doheny Eye Institute

Abstract:Imaging technologies in development for ophthalmic applications and how they might address important needs in our field with Retinal Degreneration, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Comea, Strabismusm Cataracts, Ocular Immunology and Uveitis -- In hopes that this will be a springboard for further collaboration.

Bio: SriniVas R. Sadda, MD, is the President and Cheif Scientific Officer of the Doheny Eye Institute, the Stephen J. Ryan -- Arnold and Mabel Beckman Endowed Chair, and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) Geffen School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. After an internship at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, he returned to Johns Hopkins University and the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore for an ophthalmology residency as well as neuro-ophthalmology and medical retina fellowships.

Dr. Sadda's major research interests include quantitative, automated retinal image analysis; retinal substructure assessments; advanced retinal imaging technologies; genotype-phenotype correlative studies; and vision restoration technologies (e.g, stem cells). In pursuit of these interests, Dr. Sadda is or has been the Principal Investigator on more than 30 trials, including phase III studies of ranibizumab, preservative-free triamcinolone acetonide, and a dexamethasone posterior segment drug delivery system. He has more than 320 publications in peer-reviewed journals and over 250 published abstracts. He authored the first edition of the textbook Emerging Technologies in Retinal Disease, as well as 13 book chapters. As an invited lecturer, he has given more than 250 presentations around the country and the world. Dr. Sadda also serves as an editor of the 5th edition of the Ryan's Retina textbook. In addition, he serves as an ad hoc scientific referee for Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Archives of Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, Experimental Eye Research, and the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health. Among Dr. Sadda's awards and honors are a Research to Prevent Blindness Physician-Scientist Award, a Senior Honor Award from the American Society of Retina Specialists, an Achievement Award, a Secretariat Award and a Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, John H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Award, and the Macula Society Young Investigator Award. He has been named to the Best Doctors of America list for several consecutive years.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Restoration of Sight with Subretinal Photovoltaic Arrays

Thursday – July 20, 2017, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Daniel Palanker
Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Director, Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory
Stanford University, CA

Abstract:Retinal degenerative diseases lead to blindness due to loss of the "image capturing" photoreceptors, while neurons in the "imageprocessing" inner retinal layers are relatively well preserved. Information can be reintroduced into the visual system using electrical stimulation of the surviving inner retinal neurons. Some electronic retinal prosthetic systems have been already approved for clinical use, but they provide low resolution and involve very difficult implantation procedures.

We developed a photovoltaic subretinal prosthesis which converts light into pulsed electric current, stimulating the nearby inner retinal neurons. Visual information is projected onto the retina by video goggles using pulsed near-infrared light. This design avoids the use of bulky electronics and wiring, thereby greatly reducing surgical complexity. Optical activation of the photovoltaic pixels allows scaling the implants to thousands of electrodes, and multiple modules can be tiled under the retina to expand the visual field.

We found that similarly to normal vision, retinal response to prosthetic stimulation exhibits flicker fusion at high frequencies (>20 Hz), adaptation to static images, antagonistic center-surround organization and non-linear summation of subunits in the receptive fields, providing high spatial resolution. Photovoltaic arrays with 70mm pixels restored visual acuity up to a pixel pitch, which is only two times lower than natural acuity in rats. If these results translate to human retina, such implants could restore visual acuity up to 20/250. Higher resolution arrays (currently being tested) may provide acuity up to 20/140. Ease of implantation and tiling of these wireless modules to cover a large visual field, combined with high resolution opens the door to highly functional restoration of sight.

Biography: Daniel Palanker is a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University. He received MSc in Physics from the Yerevan State University in Armenia, and PhD in Applied Physics in 1994 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Palanker studies interactions of electric field with biological cells and tissues, and develops optical and electronic technologies for diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical and prosthetic applications, primarily in ophthalmology. These studies include laser-tissue interactions with applications to ocular therapy and surgery, and interferometric detection of neural signals. In the field of electro-neural interfaces, Dr. Palanker is developing retinal prosthesis for restoration of sight to the blind (PRIMA, Pixium Vision), and implants for electronic control of secretory glands (TrueTear, Allergan Inc.) and blood vessels. Several of his developments are in clinical practice world-wide: Pulsed Electron Avalanche Knife (PEAK PlasmaBlade, Medtronic), Patterned Scanning Laser Photocoagulator (PASCAL, Topcon), and OCT-guided Femtosecond Laser System for Cataract Surgery (Catalys, AMO). Several others are in clinical trials.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Utilization of Engineering in Cancer Care

Thursday – May 18, 2017, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Lily Lai, MD, FACS
Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery
City of Hope

Abstract:Clinical cancer care is a continuum from screening and detection to end of life symptom management. The integration and use of novel technology in each aspect of cancer care will not only improve on early identification of cancer and treatment response, but will transform the delivery of health care.

Biography: Dr. Lily Lai, MD completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard before completing her medical studies and residency at UC San Diego. While rotating at City of Hope as a resident, she found her calling in caring for cancer patients. After a three year fellowship in Surgical Oncology at City of Hope, Dr. Lai remained as faculty at the City of Hope, a NCCN Comprehensive Cancer Center. She specializes in Breast and Colorectal Cancers. Her research has been in the delivery of cancer care through creative adaptation of existing and new technology. This has resulted in innovative redesign of imaging devices for clinical use; in advancing telemedicine in geographically remote areas; and in exploiting technology to assist in operations. In addition to her clinical work and research endeavors, Dr. Lai is the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program Director and is directly involved in the training and education of future leaders in cancer care.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Tissue Differentiation with Optical Fluorescence & Fluorescing Dyes/Wavelength

Thursday – March 16, 2017, 1:30 PM

Keith Black, MD
Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
Director of Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
Director of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center
Cedars‐Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

Abstract:Primary brain tumors, especially malignant gliomas, have a devastating effect on patients' lives. The current 18- month survival rate of glioblastoma patients treated with surgery for biopsy only, partial resection, and complete resection ranges from 15% to 34%, making glioma one of the most aggressive and lethal tumors. The only reliable method for intra-operative tissue diagnosis is the “frozen section”. However, this time-consuming process can only be performed a limited number of times. Therefore, newer technologies are needed to aid the surgeon in achieving near-complete resection while avoiding damage to nearby eloquent areas. Fluorescence guided resection is a rapidly emerging technology with the potential to assist surgeons in distinguishing tumor tissue from surrounding normal tissues. We present two technologies which have potential to identify tissue in real-time intra-operatively. These technologies use either extrinsic fluorescence molecule (optical contrast) to tag the tumor or utilize the intrinsic fluorescence from the tissue to identify and localize the tumor. Brain tissue has natural fluorescence properties. The main fluorosphores are NADH, FAD, lipopigments and porphyrins. In general, tumors have lower fluorescence emission compared to normal tissue at excitation light in 355 nm wavelength and the ratio of NADH FAD could be used as a signature for brain tumor differentiation. The Time revolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) operates where the tissue is excited using an ultra-short laser and the corresponding fluorescence intensity is captured. Based on the fluorescence spectrum and the decay characteristics at various color bands from TRFS, the differentiation of tumor from normal brain tissue is possible in real-time. BLZ-100 is a near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging agent composed of the tumor binding peptide chlorotoxin and the NIR fluorescent dye indocyanine green. It has the potential to selectively label brain and other tumors. We have developed a special imaging system for looking at very low concentrations of NIR dye in real time (video rate).

Biography: Keith L. Black, MD serves as Chair and Professor of the Department of Neurosurgery, Director of Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Director of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center at Cedars‐Sinai Medical Center. An internationally renowned neurosurgeon and scientist, Dr. Black joined CSMC in July 1997 and was awarded the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neurosciences in November of that year. Prior to joining Cedars‐Sinai, Dr. Black served as UCLA faculty as Neurosurgery Professor, the Ruth and Raymond Stotter Chair in Surgery (1992) and head of the UCLA Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. Dr. Black pioneered research on designing ways to open the blood‐brain barrier, enabling chemotherapeutic drugs to be delivered directly into the tumor. His work in this field received the Jacob Javits award from the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the National Institutes of Health in June of 2000. Dr. Black was profiled in 1996 on the PBS program, The New Explorers: Outsmarting the Brain. He has authored over 260 peer-reviewed papers and the book Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles (2009). Dr. Black serves on numerous editorial boards and committees. Since 1987, he has performed more than 6,000 operations for resection of brain tumors.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Robots for Navigating, Treating, and Interfacing with the Human Body 

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 12:00 PM
Von Karman Auditorium

Michael Yip
Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California, San Diego

Abstract:Flexible robotics offer the ability to place small-diameter dexterous instruments, immersive stereo imaging and other sensing modalities deep within constrained environments. This presents major opportunities to in the medical domain to treat diseases (e.g. cardiac arrhythmia, lung cancer, colon cancer) in a minimally invasive fashion beyond. Yet, as these devices get smaller, more flexible and more mechanically complex, we need to off-load the low-level control of these systems from human teleoperation to a semi-autonomous or fully-autonomous framework. This framework can then analyze the full spectrum of sensory information, physics models, and imaging information in real-time to optimally plan and perform complex tasks. In this talk I will discuss my lab’s recent efforts towards devices and algorithms for semi-autonomous robot-assisted surgery. This includes real-time learning-based controllers for automating catheter and endoscopic robots within difficult anatomy, modular snake-like devices for efficient locomotion in difficult environments, visual computation methods for image-guided robotics, and robot intelligence for robot-human teams. Finally, I will discuss some of our work in physical modeling and control of a new type of robot muscle we have developed, formed from simple sewing thread, that mimics biological muscle.

Biography: Michael Yip is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Advanced Robotics and Controls Lab at UCSD ( His research focuses on three areas: (1) flexible robots for surgery, (2) visual computation for image-guided robots, and (3) robotic actuators for bionic devices. Recent efforts in his research group involve building, controlling, and automating endoscopic and catheter robots for treating heart and lung disease, designing artificial intelligence for robot-human collaboration in surgery, and augmenting surgeon teams with augmented reality for minimally invasive surgery. His work in flexible surgical robots and robot muscles have been nominated and have won best paper awards in major robotics conferences. Dr. Yip has been a visiting researcher at the Harvard University and MIT in the area of surgical robotics and tissue engineering, and a research associate with Walt Disney Research in Los Angeles working on next-generation animatronics. He received a Bachelors in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo, a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Stanford University.

Organized by: Dr. Hari Nayar: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Integrated Neurophotonics: Toward Massively-Parallel, Multi-Physical Interrogation of Brain Activity

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 1:30 PM

Michael Roukes
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Ophthalmology,
Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, & Biological Engineering
California Institute of Technology

Abstract:Although our understanding of the properties of individual neurons and their role in brain computations has advanced significantly, we are still far from elucidating how complex assemblies of neurons interact to process information. In 2011, six U.S. scientists from different disciplines banded together, outlined a vision [1], and managed to convince the Obama administration of the unprecedented opportunity that now exists to launch a coordinated, large-scale effort to map brain activity.  This culminated in the U.S. BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), which was launched in 2013.  Our perspective was predicated, in part, on the current level of maturity of diverse fields of nanotechnology that can now be coalesced to realize powerful new tools for neuroscience.  I will outline some of the hopes we had and the assertions we made, survey the existing technological landscape for massively parallel mapping of brain activity, and then focus upon our own collaborative efforts toward these goals. I will highlight opportunities in the new field of integrated neurophotonics for realizing this vision – one that leverages advances in integrated nanophotonics, optical reporters and effectors for neural recording and stimulation, and our recent developments in multi-site neural nanoprobes based on silicon large-scale integration.

Biography: Michael Roukes is the Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology.  His scientific interests range from quantum measurement to applied biotechnology  with a unifying theme of the development, very-large-scale integration and application of complex nanosystems to precision measurements in physics, the life sciences and medicine.  Roukes was the founding Director of Caltech's Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) from 2003-2006. In 2007, he co-founded the Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI (very-large-scale integration) with scientists and engineers at CEA/LETI in Grenoble, which maintains a $B-scale microelectronics research foundry. He then continued as co-director of Caltech's KNI from 2008 until 2013. Since then he has returned to full-time pursuit of research efforts with his group and collaborators worldwide. Concurrent with his Caltech appointment, he has held a Chaire d'Excellence in nanoscience in Grenoble, France since 2008. In 2011, he was one of the six scientists who initially proposed a national project to map brain activity to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which catalyzed Obama's BRAIN Initiative. Among his honors, Roukes is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, and has been awarded Chevalier (Knight) dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the Republic of France.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Ultraminiature Cameras for Retinal Prostheses: Restoring Sight to the Blind

Thursday, August 18, 2016, 1:30 PM

Armand R. Tanguay, Jr.
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Ophthalmology,
Physics and Astronomy; Neuroscience Graduate Program
University of Southern California

Abstract: Blindness due to degenerative retinal diseases such as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) afflicts millions of people worldwide. Intraocular retinal prostheses that bypass damaged photoreceptor cells and electrically stimulate the remaining healthy retinal neurons show promise for restoring functional vision to the blind. Motivated by extensive visual psychophysics experiments, we have developed a novel intraocular camera (IOC) that is designed to work in conjunction with an epiretinal microstimulator array to provide for normal foveation, thereby allowing for the natural coupling of eye and head movements. Recently, we have designed an advanced ultraminiature intraocular camera prototype that is small enough to be incorporated in an intraocular lens (IOL). In addition, we have developed an eye-tracked, wide field of view, wide dynamic range extraocular camera that also provides foveation capability as a therapeutic alternative.

Biography: Armand R. Tanguay, Jr. is Professor of Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Ophthalmology, and Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southern California. He received a B.S. degree in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1971, and M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University in 1972, 1975, and 1977, respectively.

Professor Tanguay is a founding member of the Center for Photonic Technology, and has served as both Deputy Director and Director. He was a founding member of the Integrated Media Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in multimedia and creative technologies, serving as Deputy Director and Associate Director for Research from 1995 to 1997. He is also a founding member of the Biomimetic MicroElectronics Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in neural prosthetic devices. He has further served as Director of the Center for Neural Engineering, as Associate Director for Research of the Signal and Image Processing Institute, and as a member of the Neuroscience Research Institute, the Neuroscience Graduate Program, and the Center for Vision Science and Technology.

Professor Tanguay is a Fellow of both the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and has received the Yale University Harding Bliss Prize, the USC Faculty Service Award, and the Rudolph Kingslake Medal and Prize of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE–The International Society for Optical Engineering). As a member of an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and physicians, he has also received a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award for the development of intraocular retinal prostheses for the blind.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders

Friday, July 29, 2016, 1:15-4:45 PM

The purpose of this meeting is to bring JPL engineers together with leading physicians and medical researchers to discuss the feasibility of developing advanced medical devices and surgical protocols for Spinal Cord, Brain, and Nervous System Disorders. This is the second in a series of meetings exploring the possibility of adopting JPL technologies for biomedical applications. This meeting is led by Dr. William Caton, a renowned neurological surgeon associated with Huntington Hospital, Pasadena. The meeting contains several presentations by distinguished surgeons and researchers from various California Hospitals including: Huntington Memorial Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, LAC-USC Medical Center. All interested engineers, technologist and scientists are invited to attend.

Download the agenda / flyer

CARs, Robots and Teslas: Emerging Technologies for Brain Tumor Therapy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 1:30 PM

Behnam Badie, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Vice Chair and Professor, Department of Surgery
Chief, Division of Neurosurgery
Director, Brain Tumor Program
Neurosurgeon at City of Hope

Abstract: Even with current aggressive therapies, that include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, most patients with glioblastoma survive less than two years, demonstrating the need for novel, alternative therapies. We have had some success using adoptive immunotherapy, and believe it as an effective and safe way to treat this disease and reduce its recurrence. Adoptive immunotherapy uses T-cells that have been genetically modified to express a tumor-specific, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that recognizes a cell-surface protein expressed by the glioma cells. These T-cells can migrate through the brain, and are able to recognize, target and kill the malignant cells. Both preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that CAR+ T-cells that specifically recognize the tumor-associated antigen, IL13Rα2, can be generated from patients, and successfully used to target their glioma cells which express this receptor. In his presentation, the speaker will provide an overview of CAR T-cell therapy by reviewing data from early stage, first-in-human clinical trials. Furthermore, current efforts to enhance the efficacy of this novel technology to improve its biodistribution and delivery into the brain will be discussed.

Biography: After 20 years and thousands of brain surgeries at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Behnam Badie, M.D., joined City of Hope in 2005 because he wanted to have an even greater impact. "Being a neurosurgeon is not enough. It has to be through science and technology. And that's one of the reasons I came to City of Hope." Dr. Badie, an expert in the field of surgical neuro-oncology, a University California, Los Angeles-trained surgeon and our Brain Tumor Program and Chief of Neurosurgery is leading groundbreaking research into nanotechnology as a tool for delivering cancer-fighting drugs directly into tumors, in a minimally invasive manner.

Winner of a long list of awards and honors, Dr. Badie says his entire perspective on surgery changed when his father died of a brain tumor. "It has really helped me get closer to my patients," he says.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Biomolecular Engineering for Non-Invasive Imaging of Biological Function

Thursday, June 16, 2016, 1:30 PM

Dr. Mikhail G. Shapiro, PhD
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology

Abstract: Many important biological processes – ranging from simple metabolism to complex cognition – take place deep inside living organisms, yet our ability to study them in this context is very limited. Technologies such as fluorescent proteins and optogenetics enable exquisitely precise imaging and control of cellular function in small, translucent specimens using visible light, but are limited by the poor penetration of such light into larger tissues. In contrast, most non-invasive technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound – while based on energy forms that penetrate tissue effectively – lack the needed molecular precision. Our work attempts to bridge this gap by engineering new molecular technologies that connect penetrant energy to specific aspects of cellular function in vivo. In this talk, I will describe molecular reporters for non-invasive imaging using MRI and ultrasound developed by adapting and engineering naturally occurring proteins. These proteins have physical properties, such as paramagnetism or self-assembly into hollow nanostructures, that allow them to be sensitively detected with MRI and ultrasound. By engineering them at the genetic level, we have adapted these natural constructs into non-invasive molecular reporters of biological processes ranging from gene expression to chemical signaling and metabolism.

Biography: Mikhail Shapiro is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. His research is focused on developing molecular technologies to image and control biological function non-invasively in living organisms. To achieve this goal, the Shapiro Lab adapts, evolves and engineers proteins and other biological structures into non-invasive reporters for imaging with MRI and ultrasound and control using magnetic and acoustic energy. Dr. Shapiro received his PhD in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc in Neuroscience from Brown. He conducted post-doctoral research in biophysics at the University of Chicago and was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Shapiro has been awarded the Hertz, Soros, Miller and Life Science Research Foundation fellowships, the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface and the DARPA Young Faculty Award. The Technology Review has recognized him as one of the world's top 35 innovators under age 35.

More information about the Shapiro Lab can be found online at

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Spying on Nature As It Moves: New Technologies and Probes for Cellular Imaging

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 4:10 PM - 5:00 PM
105 Annenberg
(30 minute social to follow seminar)

Jay L. Nadeau, PhD
Scientific Researcher, Caltech and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering
McGill University

Abstract: The development of microscopic techniques over the past two decades has revolutionized cell biology, but there are still crucial biological processes whose details elude us: for example, feeding behavior of microorganisms in the ocean, or migration of cancer cells to form micro-metastases. This talk will focus on two approaches designed to image cell motility and migration. The first is the development of a two-beam holographic microscope with ultra-resolution, with intended applications in environmental microbiology. Holography is a well-established imaging technique that uses the interference of light to record and reproduce three-dimensional images of objects. The second part of the talk will demonstrate the photophysical principles of semiconductor and metal nanoparticles that make them environmentally responsive in a cellular context, with a particular focus on cancer biology. The use of unconjugated and conjugated nanoparticles as subcellular labels in cells is shown, using both fluorescence intensity and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) as indicators.

Biography: Jay L. Nadeau spent 10 years as an Assistant/Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Physics at McGill University (2004-2015). Research interests include nanoparticles, fluorescence imaging, and development of instrumentation for detection of life elsewhere in the Solar System. She has created two graduate level courses—Methods in Molecular Biology for Physical Scientists and Mathematical Cellular Physiology—and written a textbook, Introduction to Molecular Biophysics (Taylor&Francis 2011; Second Edition 2017). Before McGill, she was a member of JPL's Center for Life Detection, and previous to that a Burroughs-Wellcome postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Henry A. Lester at Caltech. She received her PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1996.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Challenges in Ophthalmology

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 1:30 PM

Dr. Richardo Lamy, PhD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Jay Stewart, MD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
University of California, San Francisco

Abstract: Ophthalmology has long been on the vanguard of medical innovation but despite all the new available technologies many challenges remain to be solved. From external corneal diseases in the front of the eye, to vision threatening retinal disorders in the back of the eye, this presentation will provide an introduction to prevalent eye problems, and possible ways to improve the current diagnosis or treatment standards. A special emphasis will be given to challenges and technologies currently being studied by our group at UCSF, including drug delivery, collagen-related and diabetes-related disorders, as well as an overview of expected future challenges that will arise as the number of long duration space flights increases.

Biography: Ricardo Lamy is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his PhD and Medical Degree cum laude from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. After completing his residency and surgical corneal training at the same University, Dr. Lamy led the first clinical study in corneal crosslinking in South America. He is an international expert in keratoconus disease and his research interests include corneal diseases, drug delivery to the eye, collagen crosslinking and ocular biomechanics.

Jay Stewart is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Chief of Ophthalmology at San Francisco General Hospital. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed ophthalmology residency training at UCSF and a fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at the University of Southern California. His research is focused on diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, drug delivery, and the permeability and biomechanics of ocular tissues.

Download a copy of the presentation.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Special Caltech Medical Engineering Seminar: Optical Nanosensor: Pushing its limits for translational medicine

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 4:10 - 5:00 PM
105 Annenberg

Qimin Quan, PhD.
Rowland Institute , Harvard University

Abstract: Fluorescence imaging provides a powerful approach to study fundamental life processes and has become an integral part of the toolbox for biologists. In this talk, I will present optical nanosensors as a new tool; and how we push it to the limit for the applications of translational medicine. Two examples will be given to represent two distinct architectures to solve medical problems at single molecule and single cell level, respectively. The first example is a "lab-on-a-chip" device that can measure binding kinetics between two single molecules at microsecond resolution without fluorescent labeling. With this tool, we demonstrated that the widely used fluorescent reporters (e.g. FITC, GFP) will affect the dynamics between DNAs and proteins up to 20 times. The second example is a "lab-on-a-tip" device that monitors protein expressions in single living cells over time. With this tool, we were able to investigate the long-standing debate on Abeta/Tau hypothesis in Alzheimer's disease. These nanosensor approaches, complementary to fluorescent imaging, will broaden our understanding of basic life processes at molecular level and will provide new ways for drug discovery and disease diagnostics. I will conclude this talk with an outlook of upcoming nanosensors in terms of new architectures, materials and mechanisms.

Biography: Qimin Quan is a Rowland Junior Fellow at Rowland Institute at Harvard University. Qimin received his B.S. degree in Physics from Peking University (2007) and Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from Harvard University (2012). He is the recipient of Kao Fellowship Award (2008) and Energy and Environment Fellowship Award (2009) from Harvard University. His Ph.D. research, supervised by Professor Marko Loncar, focused on developing nanophotonic devices to study light and matter interactions. After graduation, he joined Rowland Institute at Harvard as a Principle Investigator and has been focusing on integrating methods in nanotechnology, biochemistry and device physics to innovate new tools at nanoscale to address challenges posed by traditional approaches in biomedicine. His current research is supported by the Rowland Junior Fellowship Award and the NIH Research Grant Program (R01).

Website link:

The Century of Biology is Great for Engineering

Wednesday – April 27, 2016, 1:30 PM
180-101 Conference Room

Darlene Solomon
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Agilent Technologies

Abstract:The 20th century was the age of physics, rich with incredible advancements in electronics, computers, wireless communications and the internet – truly a glorious time for engineers. The 21st century will likely be defined as the "Century of Biology," a time when our knowledge of living systems will expand to developing biology-based solutions to some of our planet's largest societal challenges -- healthcare, energy and the environment. Although we are moving into this new era of biology, engineering will continue as core contributor for its success, as advancements will continue to occur at the nexus of science and engineering. In this talk, Solomon will share her personal experiences as chief technologist at Agilent Technologies, which has transformed itself from an electronic measurement company to a leading molecular and biological measurement company. She will highlight technology and market waves at the forefront of this ‘Century of Biology' including Precision Medicine, the molecular understanding and treatment of disease, and Engineering Biology, the redesign of biological systems to perform useful and practical purposes.

Biography: Darlene Solomon is senior vice president and chief technology officer for Agilent Technologies. With the company focus on life sciences and diagnostics, she oversees Agilent's longer range research, university relations, corporate library and external venture partnerships. In her leadership role, she works closely with Agilent's businesses to define the company's technology strategy and R&D priorities.

Solomon brings extensive experience in R&D and management to her current leadership role at Agilent. She joined Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in 1984 as a member of the technical staff, subsequently holding a variety of research and management positions. She joined Agilent when the company was formed in 1999 with a dual role as director of the Life Sciences Technologies Laboratory within Agilent Laboratories and as senior director, research and development/technology, for Agilent's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business. Prior to her current post, Solomon was VP and director of Agilent Laboratories.

Solomon received her BS in chemistry from Stanford University, her PhD in bioinorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and she completed Stanford University's Executive Development Program. Solomon was inducted into the Women in Technology International's Hall of Fame in 2001, received the YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry Award in 2004, was named to Diversity Journal's Women Worth Watching in 2007, and Corporate Board Member's 50 Top Women in Technology in 2008.

Solomon serves on multiple academic and government advisory and review boards, including the National Academies' Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (2010-2014), Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (currently vice-chair), Stanford University Interdisciplinary Biosciences Advisory Council, University of California Office of the President's Council on Innovation, UC Berkeley's College of Engineering, Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC), and A-STAR Board for Singapore Economic Development (2004-10).

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Medical Engineering Special Seminar: Integrated Multi-Organ-on-a-Chip Platform

Thursday – April 21, 2016, 4:10-5:00 pm
Caltech Annenberg 105
30 minute Social to follow

Yu Shrike Zhang, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Division of Biomedical Engineering, Brigham and Women's Hospital,
Harvard Medical School-MIT Health Sciences and Technology

Abstract: Organ-on-a-chip systems are microfluidic three-dimensional (3D) miniature human organ models that recapitulate the important biological and physiological parameters of their in vivo counterparts. They have recently emerged as a viable platform for personalized medicine and drug screening. These biomimetic organoid models are expected to replace the conventional planar, static cell cultures and bridge the gap between the current pre-clinical animal models and the human body. Multiple organoids can also be channeled together through the microfluidics in a similar manner they arrange in vivo, providing the capacity to analyze interactions among these organs. However, despite the successful development of a wide variety of human organ-on-a-chip models, in situ sensing has not been achieved at a sufficient level so far to continuously monitor the microenvironmental parameters and the dynamic responses of the organoids towards pharmaceutical compounds over extended periods of time. There is also a strong need for integrating advanced biofabrication technologies to further improve the compositional and architectural fidelity of the engineered organoids that achieve functionality. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts on developing a fully integrated multi-organ-on-a-chip platform in conjunction with modular physical, biochemical, and optical sensing units, which can operate in a continual and automated manner over a lengthy period. I will further present a series of novel 3D bioprinting strategies that we have devised and adopted in fabricating biomimetic organoids and microdevices. These platform technologies provide new opportunities in constructing functional organoids with a potential to achieve large-scale automation in the drug screening process.

Biography: Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Medicine and Associate Bioengineer at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and affiliated with Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Dr. Zhang's research is focused on innovating medical engineering technologies to recreate functional biomimetic tissues, including 3D bioprinting, organs-on-chips, medical devices, biomedical imaging, and biosensing. He is actively collaborating with a multidisciplinary team encompassing biomedical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers as well as biologists and clinicians to ultimately translate these cutting-edge technologies into clinics. Beyond research, he enjoys nature-watching, traveling, and photography. More information can be found on his website (

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Finding technological or engineering solutions to medical problems:Precursors to Randall Plaques

Thursday – March 17, 2016, 1:30 PM
302-201 Conference Room

Dr. Marshall L. Stoller, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Urology
UCSF Department of Urology

Abstract:What happens prior to the development of Randall plaques? We have identified plaque precursors with high resolution imaging with micro-CT, x-ray microscopy (XRM), site-specific elemental analyses using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), and energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS) at the Molecular Foundry. This has allowed us to hypothesize a more complete understanding of the pathogenesis of nephrolithiasis in the medullo-papillary complex. The unique form of this complex with its paraboloid-shaped tip and the function of the kidney helps to explain the progression from proximal, intra-tubular peripherally located precursors to the more centrally located interstitial Randall plaques. Professor Stoller will discuss this and other medical problems that could benefit from technological innovation.

Biography: Marshall Stoller, MD is a certified by the American Board of Urology. He heads UCSF's urinary stone division, which includes endourology and laparoscopy. Stoller graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1976 and went to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Following medical school, he returned to the SF Bay Area, where he was a general surgical intern and resident at UCSF from 1981-1983 and a urology resident from 1983-1985. The following year he was a clinical instructor and research fellow at the University of New South Wales at Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals in Sydney, Australia. Stoller returned to UCSF as a chief resident in the Department of Urology, joining the faculty thereafter. Stoller presently operates at Moffitt-Long Hospital, San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His practice emphasizes surgical management of urinary stone disease and minimally invasive endourology.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Special Caltech Medical Engineering Seminar: Microfluidic Microbial Eletrophenotyping for Biomedicine

Thursday – February 18, 2016, 4:10 PM – 5:00 PM
105 Annenberg
(30 minute social & refreshments to follow seminar)

Dr. Cullen Buie
Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract:In microbiology the ability to obtain genetic information far outpaces our ability to obtain phenotypic (or physical) information. This is a critical limitation because in many cases it is difficult, if not impossible, to infer the function of genes in an organism from genetic information alone. For the advancement of biotechnology and healthcare it is necessary to assess the links between genotype and phenotype. We have developed microfluidic techniques that exploit electrokinetic phenomena to determine connections between cell electrophenotypes (i.e. electrical properties) and genetics. First, I will present a detailed theoretical model to investigate the effect of appendages such as pili on the dielectric polarization of bacteria. The results demonstrate an interesting interplay between soft layer conductivity and double layer conductivity on polarizability, subtleties often neglected in previous models. Next, we exploit sub-species level differences in cell surface polarizability in novel three dimensional insulator based dielectrophoresis (3DiDEP) systems. Compared to previous embodiments of insulator based dielectrophoresis, 3DiDEP devices have an order of magnitude higher sensitivity. Our recent work has shown that 3DiDEP can be useful to distinguish bacteria with sub-species resolution. We will discuss our 3DiDEP design and describe exciting results on the characterization of both pathogenic and electrochemically active bacteria. Lastly we have developed a rapid microfluidic assay to quantitatively measure electric field conditions required for electroporation. Electroporation is widely used to deliver foreign DNA into host microbes for applications in synthetic biology and genetic engineering. However, electroporation has been successful on a relatively small number of microbes due in part to challenges in determining appropriate electroporation conditions (field strength, pulse width, etc.). Our rapid microfluidic electroporation assay can evaluate a range of electroporation conditions in a fraction of a second, a process that previously took hours. Results of this work will broaden the scope of bacteria available for biomedical applications of synthetic biology including the human microbiome.

Biography: Cullen R. Buie is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Chair at MIT. He attended The Ohio State University where he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2003). After OSU, Cullen attended Stanford University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and obtained his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) in Mechanical Engineering. Cullen's Ph.D. research, with Professor Juan Santiago, involved the study of microfluidic pumps to manage liquid water in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. After Stanford Cullen spent a year at UC Berkeley working with Professor Liwei Lin and Professor John Coates as a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow. At MIT his laboratory explores flow physics at the microscale for applications in materials science and microbiology. His research is applicable to a diverse array of problems, from anti-biofouling surfaces and biofuels to energy storage and bacterial infections. Cullen is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and service including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2012), the DuPont Young Professor Award (2013), and the DARPA Young Faculty Award (2013).

How Do We Harness Space Innovation to Reimagine our Healthcare System?

January 21, 2016, 1:30 p.m 180-101 Conference Room

Dr. Tad Funahashi
Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer
Assistant Regional Medical Director
Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
University of California Irvine College of Medicine

Abstract: The current state of healthcare in the United States is a dichotomous ecosystem with state of the art technology delivered by a medical establishment steeped in tradition and legacy processes. Our healthcare system has been built over a century to work a certain way. As such, transformative capabilities like DNA mapping, stem cell therapy, robotic surgery, and virtual/remote care are delivered by a combination of an arcane delivery infrastructure (physician offices, hospitals, clinics, labs, imaging, etc.), incentives that are influenced by a recondite reimbursement processes, and physicians who have been enculturated through decades dogmatic training. Thus, despite healthcare benefiting from some of the most cutting edge technologies, the delivery system and processes remain antediluvian. Notwithstanding, consumerism has entered healthcare with renewed expectations and multitudes of innovative, non-traditional providers now challenge this establishment . . . creating an environment ripe for transformation.

Where are the pain points that need improvements? What are the areas of technological and related solutions that would help accelerate this transformation? What is Kaiser Permanente, built upon 7 decades of traditional healthcare delivery, doing to continue to innovation and remain a leader in today's healthcare delivery? Are there opportunities for collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and JPL to explore and develop some of these solutions?

Biography: Tad Funahashi, MD joined Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region, Orange County in 1992, and maintains a busy clinical practice in orthopedic surgery. He is the Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer and Assistant Regional Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Dr. Funahashi also founded and Chairs the National Implant Registry Committee, and is a Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at University of California Irvine College of Medicine. He has given over 100 presentations across the county and internationally, and has authored numerous papers in publications such as the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, and Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Funahashi is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and an active member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Orthopedic Association, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, and the Orange County Medical Association. He served as the Chief of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Orange County from 1994 to 2012, the Regional Chief of Orthopedic Surgery from 2004 to 2012, Chaired the National Chiefs of Orthopedic Surgery from 2004 to 2012, and the Assistant Area Medical Director in Orange County from 1998 to 2012. He earned his medical degree and completed his orthopedic residency at UCLA School of Medicine, and then joined the faculty at the UCLA Department of Orthopedic Surgery prior to joining Kaiser Permanente.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Novel Microscopy: Deep Tissue Imaging with Optical Time-Reversal

January 11, 2016, 11:00 a.m 302-201 Conference Room

Professor Changhuei Yang
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering and Medical Engineering
California Institute of Technology


Time-Reversal Optical Focusing – We appear opaque because our tissues scatter light very strongly. Traditionally, focusing of light in biological tissues is confounded by the extreme scattering nature of tissues. Interestingly, optical scattering is time-symmetric and we can exploit optical phase conjugation methods to null out scattering effects. I will discuss our recent results in using different types of guidestar methods in combination with digital optical phase conjugation to tightly focus light deep within biological tissues. These technologies can potentially enable incisionless laser surgery, targeted optogenetic activation, high-resolution biochemical tissue imaging and more.

Fourier Phytography – Microscopes are complex and fussy creatures that are capable of delivering limited image information. This is because physical optical lenses are intrinsically imperfect. The perfect lenses we draw in high school ray diagrams simply do not exist. I will discuss our recent work on Fourier Ptychography - a computational microscopy method that enables a standard microscope to push past its physical optical limitations to provide gigapixel imaging ability.

Biography: Professor Yang's research efforts are in the areas of novel microscopy development and time-reversal based optical focusing. Prof. Yang joined the California Institute of Technology in 2003. He is a professor in the areas of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering and Medical Engineering. He has received the NSF Career Award, the Coulter Foundation Early Career Phase I and II Awards, and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. In 2008 he was named one of Discover Magazine's '20 Best Brains Under 40'. He is a Coulter Fellow, an AIMBE Fellow and an OSA Fellow.

Organized by: Dr. Siamak Forouhar, Microdevices Laboratory

Technology in Medicine:
An overview of how recent advances in technologies are helping to detect and treat heart problems and future challenges

December 17, 2015, 1:30 p.m - 3:00 p.m 180-101 Conference Room

Radha J. Sarma Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine
Western University of Health Sciences – Pomona, CA

Abstract: Heart disease is the number one killer all over the world. With the advancing technology we are now able to detect heart problems earlier and treat even the most complex problems so that quality of life is improved to the people suffering from heart disease. Heart is a complex organ which has to function nonstop day and night till death; it has its own electrical system, vascular system and it functions as the main pump which supplies blood and nutrients to all the organs. It is also under the control of circulating hormones and the nervous system. For many years cardiologists had only electrocardiogram (which is 100 years old but still the best diagnostic test) and few medicines. Now we have many imaging modalities like ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear isotope imaging, contrast angiography, implantable devices to treat cardiac rhythm problems such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, coronary artery stents, artificial heart valves some of which can be implanted using catheters and without having to open the heart, heart assist devices to pump blood out of the heart and return it back continuously over long periods of time to help the diseased heart recover. 3D printing is also being used to help the physicians plan the surgery in complex disease states. Miniaturization, remote monitoring, wearable personal health trackers robotics, remote sensing and newer pharmaceuticals all are helping patients in remote areas where medical help is not available. Drones are also being used to deliver health care in remote areas. The presentation will try to cover as many of these areas as possible.

Bio: Dr. Radha J. Sarma graduated from Andhra Medical College Visakhapatnam, India and came to USA as an intern in 1968. She did her residency in internal medicine at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and completed fellowship in cardiology at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and also at Keck School of Medicine Los Angeles, California. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease and also certified by the National Board of Echocardiography. Dr. Sarma is Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American College of Physicians and American Society of Echocardiography. After finishing her training at USC, she stayed on faculty there for many years as Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine. Worked as chief of cardiology at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, Downey CA, Medical Director of Cardiology and Critical Care at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Northridge, and Director of cardiac exercise lab., cardiac rehabilitation and Associate Director of echocardiography lab., at LACUSC Medical Center. She then moved to the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona CA in to be the Founding Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease there and also Director of Heart and Vascular Center at the Western Diabetes Institute from 2011 till July 2014. Dr. Sarma is currently Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona CA. She has done sponsored or funded clinical research for over 35 years and published several manuscripts in peer-reviewed medical journals. She was invited to lecture at several national and international conferences in Spain, China, Germany, Italy, Panama, Mexico and India. Dr. Sarma is listed in Marquis Who is Who in America.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Engineering Memories: A Neural Prosthesis for Cognitive Function

November 19, 2015, 1:30 p.m - 3:00 p.m 180-101 Conference Room

Theodore W. Berger Ph.D.
David Packard Professor of Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience
University of Southern California

Abstract: Damage to the hippocampus is frequently associated with epilepsy, stroke, and dementia (Alzheimer's Disease), and is considered to underlie the memory deficits characteristic of these neurological conditions. Dr. Berger leads a multi-disciplinary collaboration that includes the University of Southern California, the City University of Hong Kong, Wake Forest University, and the University of Kentucky, and that is developing a microchip-based neural prosthesis for the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for long-term memory. The essential goals of Dr. Berger's multi-laboratory effort include: (1) experimental study of neuron and neural network function during memory formation -- how does the hippocampus encode information?, (2) formulation of biologically realistic models of neural system dynamics -- can that encoding process be described mathematically to realize a predictive model of how the hippocampus responds to any event?, (3) microchip implementation of neural system models -- can the mathematical model be realized as a set of electronic circuits to achieve parallel processing, rapid computational speed, and miniaturization?, and (4) creation of conformal neuron-electrode interfaces -- can cytoarchitectonic-appropriate multi-electrode arrays be created to optimize bi-directional communication with the brain? By integrating solutions to these component problems, the team is realizing a biomimetic model of hippocampal nonlinear dynamics that can perform the same function as part of the hippocampus. Through bi-directional communication with other neural tissue that normally provides the inputs and outputs to/from a damaged hippocampal area, the biomimetic model can serve as a neural prosthesis. A proof-of-concept is presented using rats or monkeys that have been chronically implanted with stimulation/recording micro-electrodes throughout multiple regions of the CA3 and CA1 hippocampus, and that have been trained using a delayed, non-match-to-sample task (or delayed match-to-sample in the case of monkeys). Most recently, the team has extended their approach to humans, with recordings from hippocampus of epilepsy patients during memory tasks, and highly successful predictive models. These results show for the first time that it is possible to create "hybrid electronic-biological" systems that mimic physiological properties of the brain, and thus, biomimetic systems that may be used as neural prostheses to restore damaged brain regions – even those regions that underlie cognitive function.

Bio: Dr. Theodore W. Berger is the David Packard Professor of Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience, and Director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1976; receiving the James McKeen Cattell Thesis Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. After postdoctoral research at UC- Irvine, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow at The Salk Institute, he joined the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1992, he has been Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience at USC, and was appointed the David Packard Chair of Engineering in 2003. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and a Fellow of the IEEE. Dr. Berger has received numerous awards including and most recently, he was chosen as one of the "100 Global Thinkers of the Year" by Foreign Policy Magazine. He has published over 300 papers and edited seminal books. Translation of some of his research has led to commercialization efforts through: Safety Dynamics, Inc., Rhenovia Pharma, Inc., and Neuralgenix, LLC startups.

Organized by: Dr. Shouleh Nikzad: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

MEMS, a Perspective from Berkeley

November 5, 2015, 4:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m Annenberg 105, Caltech
(30 minute social to follow)

Richard S. Muller, Professor
Director of Dept. of EECS, BSAC
University of California - Berkeley

Abstract: This seminar provides a personal overview of MEMS at UC Berkeley as it has evolved from beginnings in integrated-circuit research. The author began teaching and research in Electrical Engineering at Berkeley in 1962. After initial research emphasis on integrated circuits, he shifted his research focus to nonelectrical micro-devices (in the late 1970s). The central goal was to build chip-scale engineering systems—which soon became known as MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems). In the early 1980s fewer than a half-dozen research labs (mainly in universities) had begun programs in MEMS. Those in the field generally co-operated with remarkable openness and their exchange of ideas was an important spur to finding fruitful directions for MEMS. An important early advance carried out at Berkeley in the early 1980s was to build mechanical elements compatibly with ICs on a single chip, demonstrated in the doctoral research of Roger T. Howe. This success, using polycrystalline silicon as a structural material, became known as surface micromachining and it played a major role in the founding of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC) in 1986. BSAC unites industrial partners and a consortium of professors to focus widely on MEMS, building on a framework of student researchers who work side-by-side in their development of materials and processes. In its almost 30-year history, BSAC has been guided by this philosophy as the center has been the research home for hundreds of students. Research at BSAC is now led by 13 faculty Directors who are associated with five different academic departments.

Bio: In 1962, after earning a PhD in EE at Caltech and carrying out design work at Hughes Aircraft Co, Richard Muller joined the faculty in EE at Berkeley for research and teaching focused on the then new field of integrated circuits (ICs). After developing several solid-state electronics and IC courses, he collaborated with his earliest PhD student, Dr. T.I. Kamins, then at HP Labs, in writing "Device Electronics for Integrated Circuits," (Wiley, 1977, 2nd edition 1986, 3rd edition 2003 (with Mansun Chan)). He is the co-founder (with Prof. R.M. White) of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (1986). Visit for more.

Organized by: Caltech Medical Engineering

Democratization of Next-Generation Microscopy, Sensing and Diagnostics Tools through Computational Photonics

October 8, 2015, 1:30 p.m. 180-101, JPL

Aydogan Ozcan, Ph.D.
Chancellor's Professor, UCLA Electrical Engineering & Bioengineering HHMI Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Director, California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)
Founder of Holomic LLC

Download a copy of the presentation from this seminar.

Abstract: My research focuses on the use of computation/algorithms to create new optical microscopy, sensing, and diagnostic techniques, significantly improving existing tools for probing micro- and nano-objects while also simplifying the designs of these analysis tools. In this presentation, I will introduce a new set of computational microscopes which use lens-free on-chip imaging to replace traditional lenses with holographic reconstruction algorithms. Basically, 3D images of specimens are reconstructed from their "shadows" providing considerably improved field-of-view (FOV) and depth-of-field, thus enabling large sample volumes to be rapidly imaged, even at nanoscale. These new computational microscopes routinely generate >1–2 billion pixels (giga-pixels), where even single viruses can be detected with a FOV that is >100 fold wider than other techniques. At the heart of this leapfrog performance lie self-assembled liquid nano-lenses that are computationally imaged on a chip. These self-assembled nano-lenses are stable for >1 hour at room temperature, and are composed of a biocompatible buffer that prevents nano-particle aggregation while also acting as a spatial "phase mask." The field-of-view of these computational microscopes is equal to the active-area of the sensor-array, easily reaching, for example, >20 mm2 or >10 cm2 by employing state-of-the-art CMOS or CCD imaging chips, respectively.

In addition to this remarkable increase in throughput, another major benefit of this technology is that it lends itself to field-portable and cost-effective designs which easily integrate with smartphones to conduct giga-pixel tele-pathology and microscopy even in resource-poor and remote settings where traditional techniques are difficult to implement and sustain, thus opening the door to various telemedicine applications in global health. Some other examples of these smartphone-based biomedical tools that I will describe include imaging flow cytometers, immunochromatographic diagnostic test readers, bacteria/pathogen sensors, blood analyzers for complete blood count, and allergen detectors. Through the development of similar computational imagers, I will also report the discovery of new 3D swimming patterns observed in human and animal sperm. One of this newly discovered and extremely rare motion is in the form of "chiral ribbons" where the planar swings of the sperm head occur on an osculating plane creating in some cases a helical ribbon and in some others a twisted ribbon. Shedding light onto the statistics and biophysics of various micro-swimmers' 3D motion, these results provide an important example of how biomedical imaging significantly benefits from emerging computational algorithms/theories, revolutionizing existing tools for observing various micro- and nano-scale phenomena in innovative, high-throughput, and yet cost-effective ways.

Bio: Dr. Aydogan Ozcan received his Ph.D. degree at Stanford University Electrical Engineering Department. After a short post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, he is appointed as a research faculty at Harvard Medical School, Wellman Center for Photomedicine in 2006. Dr. Ozcan joined UCLA in the summer of 2007 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate and Full Professor ranks in 2011 and 2013, respectively. He is currently the Chancellor's Professor at UCLA and an HHMI Professor with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, leading the Bio- and Nano-Photonics Laboratory at UCLA Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering Departments, and is also the Associate Director of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA.

Dr. Ozcan holds 31 issued patents (all of which are licensed) and more than 20 pending patent applications for his inventions in nanoscopy, wide-field imaging, lensless imaging, nonlinear optics, fiber optics, and optical coherence tomography. Dr. Ozcan gave more than 250 invited talks and is also the author of one book, the co-author of more than 400 peer reviewed research articles in major scientific journals and conferences. In addition, Dr. Ozcan is the founder and a member of the Board of Directors of Holomic LLC.

Prof. Ozcan received several major awards including the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dr. Ozcan received this prestigious award for developing innovative optical technologies and signal processing approaches that have the potential to make a significant impact in biological science and medicine; addressing public health needs in less developed countries; and service to the optical science community including mentoring and support for underserved minority undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Ozcan also received the 2015 UCLA Postdoctoral Scholars Mentoring Award for his dedicated efforts to training and mentoring of postdoctoral researchers. In addition, Dr. Ozcan received the 2013 SPIE BioPhotonics Technology Innovator Award, the 2011 Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, 2011 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award, the 2010 NSF CAREER Award, the 2009 NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the 2009 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award, the 2009 IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award and the MIT's Technology Review TR35 Award for his seminal contributions to near-field and on-chip imaging, and telemedicine based diagnostics.

Prof. Ozcan is also the recipient of the 2013 and 2015 Microscopy Today Innovation Awards, 2012 Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, 2012 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award, 2011 Innovators Challenge Award presented by the Rockefeller Foundation and mHealth Alliance, the 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award, the 2010 Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Award, the 2010 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, the 2009 Wireless Innovation Award (Vodafone Americas Foundation) and the 2008 Okawa Foundation Award.

Prof. Ozcan was selected as one of the top 10 innovators by the U.S. Department of State, USAID, NASA, and NIKE as part of the LAUNCH: Health Forum organized in 2010. He also received the 2012 World Technology Award on Health and Medicine, which is presented by the World Technology Network in association with TIME, CNN, AAAS, Science, Technology Review and Fortune. Dr. Ozcan is elected Fellow of SPIE and OSA, and is a Senior Member of IEEE, a Member of AAAS and BMES.

Organized by: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Invitation to JPL Medical Technology Physicians Roundtable

August 28, 2015, 1-3 p.m. 180-101, JPL

Please join us to hear about the forefronts, emerging areas and future technology needs of medicine from leading physicians from Huntington Memorial Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, LAC-USC Medical Center and other hospitals.

The topics of discussion include: Spinal Cord Disorders; Brain & Nervous System Disorders Such As Epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease; Cerebrovascular Diseases; Cardiometabolic Disorders; Eye Disorders/Diseases such as Glaucoma or Cataracts; Medical Technology Needs.

The Speakers Include:
1. Dr. William L. Caton, MD: Chairman, Dept. of Neurological Surgery, Huntington Hospital
2. Dr. Srinath Samudrala, MD: Neurosurgeon, Huntington Hospital
3. Dr. Robbin Cohen, MD: Associate Prof. of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Keck Hospital of USC
4. Dr. Benjamin Remington, MD: Neurosurgeon, Modesto
5. Dr. Gregory Lekovik, MD: Neurosurgeon, St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles
6. Dr. Neil Martin, MD: Chair of Neurosurgery Dept. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
7. Dr. Alfredo Sadun, MD, PhD: Ophthalmologist, Doheny Eye Institute/UCLA Ophthalmology
8. Dr. Radha Sarma MD: Cardiologist, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona

Heartbeats in Rubble: How FINDER Saved Lives in Nepal

August 25, 2015, 4:45 p.m. von Karman Auditorium, JPL

Jim Lux
JPL Principal Investigator for HERMA and SCaN Testbed

In the wreckage of two buildings in the Nepalese village of Chautara, four men were rescued, thanks to FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response)—a technology that was able to find their heartbeats under about ten feet of brick, mud, wood, and other debris. The suitcase-sized device helped uncover these survivors following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal on April 25, 2015.

FINDER sends a low-powered microwave signal—about one-thousandth of a cell phone's output—through rubble and looks for changes in the reflections of those signals coming back from tiny motions caused by victims' breathing and heartbeats. FINDER's development was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, going from concept to field trials in a bit more than a year. Please join us as Jim Lux discusses this lifesaving technology's development, testing, and use.

Jim Lux was the Task Manager for FINDER and is currently the Principal Investigator for HERMA—Heartbeat Microwave Authentication for cellphones and mobile devices—that aims to authenticate a user's identity by detecting the unique features of his or her heartbeat. In addition, he is the JPL Principal Investigator for the SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation) Testbed, which was installed on the International Space Station in 2012, for which he received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. Prior to his JPL tenure, Jim performed award-winning work in physical special effects for film and television; design and development of electronic warfare and signals identification systems; and large distributed software systems for database and dispatch applications.

This event is free. All members of the Campus and JPL communities and retirees are welcome. Caltech personnel and guests can access the auditorium via the external gate. For more information, contact Randii Wessen, (818) 354-7580. Or email

Presented by CALTECH MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION (CMA), a Leadership Forum

Taking Stephen Hawking's speech system open-source

August 20, 2015, 1:30 p.m. 180-101

Lama Nachman
Director of Anticipatory Computing Lab

Abstract: Intel was faced with the challenge of improving Professor Hawking's communication system without making it unfamiliar. The Intel team spent time with Dr. Hawking and his staff to understand how he used his system and managed to reduce the number of interactions it took to complete simple tasks from three or four minute to ten seconds. Professor Hawking has spoken about the development of his assistive context aware toolkit and what a difference it has made to him. This talk will discuss the work with Professor Hawking, expanding his speech system to include the assistive context aware toolkit, and making it an open-source project that allows Intel to work with various researchers and enhance the system.

Bio: Dr. Lama Nachman is the Director of Anticipatory Computing Lab and a Senior Principal at Intel Labs. Her research is focused on creating contextually aware experiences that understand users through sensing and sense making and act on that context to help with many aspects of their lives. Her team develops sensing systems, algorithms and applications to realize these experiences for future Intel products. Examples include activity recognition, social proximity, audio context, emotions, sleep, gestures and many others. Previous assignments at Intel involved researching and developing the next generation of self-organizing sensor network nodes (Intel Mote Platforms), which she deployed in health applications as well as various commercial and industrial settings.

Organized by: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

Wireless Health: Individual and Population Monitoring and Guidance

July 16, 2015, 1:30 p.m. 180-101

William Kaiser, PhD
UCLA Electrical Engineering Department
Co-Director, UCLA Wireless Health Institute

Abstract: Wireless Health is a new mission dedicated to advancing the quality and accessibility of healthcare with new personal wireless platforms, networkedsensing systems, and embedded computing. Wireless Health is predicted to be one of the most important global technologies providing individuals and populations with a continuous and comprehensive "ambient care". Wireless Health will also provide a global data resource of unprecedented value. Wireless Health may have one of its most important benefits in guiding healthcare and providing direct assurance of treatment outcomes. This assurance is based not only on the brief and intermittent evaluations provided in the clinic with traditional methods but now includes long term, continuous monitoring to provide the first detailed assessment, guidance, and source of motivation to all individuals in the home and workplace.

UCLA has developed the Wireless Health Institute (WHI) combining medicine, nursing, public health, and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. WHI develops complete end-to-endsolutions, verified in clinical trials, directed to the most critical outcomes for healthcare to new consumer products. WHI has launched the Wireless Health Conference series now in its fifth year.

This presentation will describe a diverse set of enabling technologies and compelling applications. This includes a new form of detailed motion monitoring of individuals based on Wireless Health sensing, computing, networking, and novel sensor fusion methods. These WHI systems now support patients in neurological rehabilitation, orthopaedic rehabilitation, orthopaedic injury assessment, pharmaceutical trials, and exercise promotion. These have been deployed on an international scale in 13 countries for stroke rehabilitation promotion and is also now in use supporting the world's fastest middle and long distance runners.

Wireless Health architectures have also created new opportunities for biomedical monitoring that were not previously feasible. This includes, for example, a novel wireless system providing subsurface imaging of tissue properties for wound treatment that has been recently developed completed clinical trials, and is now being supplied as a commercial product.

This presentation will also describe a recent breakthrough – the first wearable monitor of human digestive processes. This system, AbStats, has been proven in multiple large scale clinical trials for direct detection of critical digestive disorders. It has been recognized with recent awards and is now in both FDA and CE Mark regulatory approval cycles. Finally, recent developments of patient interaction and guidance systems also serving patients will be described.

Wireless Health provides a monitoring and guidance capability that advances health and wellness, disease diagnostics, healthcare delivery and accessibility and new applications in advancing human performance.

Bio: Kaiser received a PhD in solid state physics from Wayne State University in 1984. From 1977 through 1986, as a member of Ford Motor Co. Research Staff, his development of automotive sensor and embedded system technology resulted inlarge volume commercial sensor production. At Ford, he also developed the first spectroscopies based on scanning tunneling microscopy. From 1986 through 1994, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Kaiser and his group developed and demonstrated the first electron tunnel sensors for acceleration and infrared detection and initiated the NASA/JPL microinstrument program. With Douglas Bell, he developed the first scanning probe microscopies providing subsurface imaging of microelectronic device electronic structure. In 1994, Kaiser joined the faculty of the UCLA Electrical Engineering Department. At UCLA, he initiated the distributed networked embedded sensor field that has led to the creation of many new technologies in the new Internet of Things field. Professor Kaiser served as Electrical Engineering Department Chairman from 1996 through 2000. He has over 230 publications, over 140 invited presentations, and 44 patents. He has received the Allied Signal Faculty Research Award, the Peter Mark Award of the American Vacuum Society, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Arch T. Colwell Best Paper Award of the Society of Automotive Engineers, two R&D 100 Awards, the Brian P. Copenhaver Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology, the 2007-2009 Gold ShieldFaculty Prize, and Best Paper Awards at the BodyNets 2008 and Wireless Health 2011 conferences. He has been general chair and started the Wireless Health Conference series that is now the lead conference in the field.

Organized by: JPL Medical Engineering Forum

COH NCBI regional Bioinformatics workshop for biology and medical researchers

Tuesday, June 30- Thursday July 2 2015

Argyros Auditorium, City of Hope Medical Center, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010

Online registration required:

Click for more detail information: Flyer and Map.

Contact information:

  • Registration and related questions: Ryan Chiechi, Manger, Core Facilities Operations at, 626-218-9001
  • NCBI training information: Peter Cooper, PH.D. at
  • Library Services: Andrea Lynch, MLIS, Director of Library Services at, 626-256-4673 x60520
  • Bioinformatics and Scientific Collaborations: Yate-Ching Yuan, Ph.D., Director, Bioinformatics Core at, 626-256-4673 X 62161

Note: People will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging and need to bring their own laptop with browser and NCBI CD3D software installed prior to attend the computer and one-on-one hands-on training. Please arrived 15 mins earlier before the workshop start to setup the power and internet connections.

CN3D installation instruction: or email to for assistance.

Bringing Space Medicine Advances Down to Earth

June 18, 2015, 1:30 p.m. - 180–101

Jeffrey P. Sutton, M.D., Ph.D.
CEO, President and Institute Director
National Space Biomedical Research Institute

Abstract: Medical engineering is critical to enable human health and performance on long-duration space missions. New technologies enhance autonomous care, provide unobtrusive and practical devices for real-time monitoring, integrate diagnostic and therapeutic platforms, promote non-invasive procedures, and bring space medicine into alignment with 21st Century precision medicine. Advances for space also have applications to improve health on Earth. This talk will present progress made by investigators supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). Working in partnership with NASA, NSBRI is a national academic consortium of approximately 60 institutions that leverages the nation's investment in biomedical research to assist NASA in mitigating biomedical risks associated with long-duration human spaceflight. Innovative technologies and approaches to reduce high-priority risks for human space missions will be emphasized, along with their Earth-based applications.

Bio: Jeffrey P. Sutton is President, CEO and Institute Director of NSBRI. Dr. Sutton holds the Friedkin Chair for Research in Sensory System Integration and Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also a tenured Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Space Medicine. Dr. Sutton's education and training were at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. He holds M.D., M.Sc., and Ph.D. (theoretical physics) degrees, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Sutton's career spans research, education, clinical care, and administration. He has made significant contributions in the fields of smart medical systems, computational neuroscience, neuroimaging, and space medicine. He founded and directed the Neural Systems Group at the Massachusetts General Hospital and was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for more than a decade. He served twenty years as an affiliate faculty member in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. As NSBRI director, Dr. Sutton has overseen the institute's maturation into a leading scientific consortium, focused on translational biomedical research, technologies, and deliverables for NASA with applications for health on Earth. Dr. Sutton's academic leadership is internationally acclaimed, and he has received numerous awards for his achievements, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, an NIH Career Development Award, President's Citation from the Society of NASA Flight Surgeons and Diploma from IBMP of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

New Frontiers of Medical Technologies

Dr. Shouleh Nikzad, JPL

Abstract: JPL's focus in developing new technologies, devices, instruments and engineering techniques for space exploration provides a wealth of potential medical technologies, devices, and instruments. The requirements for small, powerful instruments that are not resource hungry are a common theme in both space applications and medical field.

Because of this commonality of requirements and because of the interest of individual researchers, there has been a steady level of effort at JPL to focus on medical applications. With establishment of Caltech Medical Engineering and with the increasing interest at JPL toward the field, efforts toward medical engineering and technologies are gaining more momentum. To help further this effort, I am hoping that my presentation would serve as an initiating bridge that would help us establish better ties between the efforts at JPL and Caltech Medical Engineering. In this presentation, I will introduce the concept of using space technologies for medicine, which could inspire Caltech researchers and help foster collaborations amongst the campus and the lab.

Bio: Dr. Nikzad leads the Advanced Detectors, Imaging System, and Nanoscience Group at JPL where she has initiated and developed many successful detector, device, and imaging instrument programs, including high performance back illuminated imaging arrays, end-to-end post fabrication processing, human-eye inspired curved focal plane arrays, III-N photocathodes, low-energy particle detectors, novel UV imaging spectrometer, high speed UV camera, and compact UV camera. Her research interests include UV-NIR imaging array, advanced epitaxial techniques and device applications; bandstructure and interface engineering using epitaxial techniques; kinetics of growth; nanostructures fabrication and nanostructure-based devices. Her interests extend into the application including space and medicine.


September 22nd, 2015

This is the first JPL/Caltech Medical Engineering Workshop which is designed for Caltech faculty and JPL principal investigators to interact and discuss their respective research projects and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Agenda and Caltech Map

Additional Seminars

Director Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series Medical Engineering

Objective: To expand our exposure to and knowledge of the field and increase our cross section for collaborations.

Seminar Location: 180-101

June 18th, 2015 Dr. Jeff Sutton, Director,National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
July 16th, 2015 Dr. William Kaiser, Professor UCLA Electrical Engineering
August 20th, 2015 Dr. Lama Nachman, Intel Corp. Director of Anticipatory Computation “Hawking Project”

Other Speakers (TBD): Said Bolorforosh (Chief Technology Officer, Medtronic Diabetes), Michael Roukes (Caltech), Ted Berger (USC), Azita Emami (Caltech), Joel Burdick (Caltech), Elizabeth Holmes (CEO, Theranose), Behnam Badie (Chief of Neurosurgery City of Hope), Keith Black (Chief of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center).