Wearable Health Futures Workshop

November 29, 2019, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Kaiser 2020/2030, UBC 2332 Main Mall, Vancouver

Final Program:

08:45   Welcome Remarks

Prof. Peyman Servati
Electrical and Computer Engineering, UBC


09:00   Stretchable Electronics for Ubiquitous Physiological Monitoring

Prof. Michelle Khine
Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine

Abstract - While great advances in medicine has been made in the past century, the overall infrastructure of the healthcare system has not progressed. Patients (who are not feeling well) are still expected to travel to a centralized location for discrete, reactionary based care where the healthcare provider only has a brief window to assess the patient’s health. Unless the symptoms are overt at the time of examination, the subjective evaluation relies heavily on the self-reporting of symptoms from the patient. This often results in delayed or improper diagnoses. In contrast, we know that physiological signals precede clinical deterioration. We have developed a suite of low-cost, unobtrusive, Band-Aid © like physiological sensors to continuously monitor patients’ cardiopulmonary functions. We seek to continuously quantify subtle physiological changes to predict – and eventually prevent -- the onset of acute clinical events.

Bio - Michelle Khine is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. She is the founding Director of Faculty Innovation at the Samueli School of Engineering and founding Director of BioENGINE (BioEngineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at UC Irvine. Prior to joining UC Irvine, she was an Assistant & Founding Professor at UC Merced. Michelle received her BS and MS from UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering and her PhD in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley and UCSF. She is the Scientific Founder of 6 start-up companies. Michelle was the recipient of the TR35 Award and named one of Forbes ’10 Revolutionaries’ in 2009 and by Fast Company Magazine as one of the '100 Most Creative People in Business' in 2011. She was awarded the NIH New Innovator's Award, was named a finalist in the World Technology Awards for Materials, and was named by Marie‐Claire magazine as 'Women on Top: Top Scientist'. She was named Innovator of the Year 2017 for the Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. Michelle is a Fellow of AIMBE (American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering) and well as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

10:00   Integrated Flexible and Wearable Microfluidic and Electronic Platforms on Textiles

Prof. Bonnie Gray
Microinstrumentation Lab, Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University

Abstract - The fields of flexible electronics and microfluidic-based labs-on-a-chip continue to advance, with new devices and systems-level technologies reported on a daily basis. However, much of this advancement is limited to each of these fields separately, rather than development of platforms for combining flexible electronics and microfluidics together to realize wearable systems. Intense research into wearable electronics by many researchers has resulted in innovations that include: polymer, roll-to-roll and other  printed devices; printing and weaving of conductive textiles; “tatoo”-type sensors; and perspiration sensors. However, these devices typically have difficulty integrating microfluidic components with electronics for wearable sensor electrodes, fluidic sample control, and electronic read-out.We present new approaches for combining electronics and microfluidic devices together on wearable textile substrates, resulting in combined systems that are highly portable, mechanically flexible, and can be easily integrated with clothing. We develop alternative methods for flexible electronics designed specifically for integration with microfluidics, such as conductive polymer nanocomposites and metal transfer methods.  We develop polymers traditionally used for artistic designs on clothing for use as engineering materials, i.e., as the base polymer for conductive electronics that can be integrated with polymer microfluidic channels printed in the same materials. Unlike many other techniques, our technologies and materials are highly compatible with clothing-based textiles, and result in non-polarizable electrodes for improved frequency response. These plaforms can be fabricated on textiles that can be laundered, facilitating rugged wearable devices and systems for biomedical and safety applications. Example applications include: wearable safety vest lighting; and bioelectric and biochemical sensors and microfluidic devices on clothing.

Bio - Bonnie L. Gray is a Full Professor, and the Graduate Chair, of Engineering Science (ENSC) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She is Director of the SFU Microinstrumentation Lab, a ratified Associate Member of SFU Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, an elected member of SFU Senate, and an elected Advisory Board member of the Vancouver Medical Device Development Centre. Dr, Gray is a devoted mentor, receiving the 2014 SFU Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Student Supervision. She has over 120 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, including 25 invited and keynote papers, as well as 3 issued patents and 4 invited book chapters. Her group’s research was featured on the front page of IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine in 2014, on the front page of SFU News in 2009, and has been highlighted by the Journal of the Electrochemical Society and the Journal of Micromechanics and Micromachining. Dr. Gray was Chapter Chair for the Vancouver IEEE Electron Devices Society from 2007-2017, including the organization of two mini-colloquia in 2012 and 2017. She has chaired the SPIE Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems Conference from 2014-2020; and is currently a member of the program committees for the 2020 IEEE MEMS Conference and 2019 IEEE Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference. Her current research interests include the development and application of novel materials and fabrication techniques for biomedical, microfluidic, and acoustic devices and systems; development of flexible and wearable microfluidic technologies and instruments; and development of chip-based biological cell sorting and trapping methods.

10:40   Coffee Break

10:50   Optical Monitoring of Spinal Cord Hemodynamics

Prof. Babak Shadgan
Department of Orthopaedics, UBC and International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD)

Abstract - Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurological condition resulting in permanent morbidity and impaired quality of life. In spite of advancements in the acute treatment of SCI, preventing neurological deficits in affected patients is highly limited. The hemodynamic management of acute SCI patients to maintain blood supply and maximize oxygenation of the injured spinal cord tissue is currently one of the few aspects of critical care in which clinicians can improve neurologic outcomes. However, optimizing the hemodynamic management in acute SCI is limited and challenging due to the lack of a real-time technology for monitoring spinal cord blood flow, oxygenation, and hydrostatic pressure. The overall objective of our research team is to develop a novel optical method and device, using an implantable optical sensor that work based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to provide real-time measurements of spinal cord hemodynamics in acute human SCI. Such an intervention would provide information to guide clinicians in their treatment decisions and allow them to personalize the hemodynamic management of acute SCI patients to optimize neurologic outcomes.

Bio - Dr. Babak Shadgan is a MSFHR Scholar, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a principal investigator at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), where he is directing the Clinical Biophotonics Laboratory. He is a medical doctor specialized in Sports Medicine, graduated from Queen Mary College of the University of London, with a PhD in Experimental Medicine from UBC. He also completed a fellowship on NIRS-Diffused Optical Tomography at Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging of Harvard University. Shadgan's post-doctoral fellowship at UBC was focused on remote optical monitoring of muscle dysfunction in people with spinal cord injury. With more than two decades of medical practice and research, he has developed a specific knowledge in clinical biophotonics with a unique bedside-to-bench approach. His current research focuses on advancing a novel optical method for real-time monitoring of spinal cord hemodynamics, metabolism, and function in people with acute spinal cord injuries. As an Olympic sports physician, Dr. Shadgan is also actively working on novel biosensing developments and applications in sport and exercise medicine.

11:30   Cortical Network Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Huntington’s Disease

Prof. Lynn Raymond
Department of Psychiatry, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC

Abstract - Huntington’s disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease characterized by profound degeneration of the striatum and cortex, with patients showing progressively disordered movement and cognition.  Before the onset of motor symptoms and cell death, mutant huntingtin (mHtt) expression causes abnormalities in synaptic and neuronal activity.  Although the striatum is well studied in HD models, fewer studies have examined cortical neuron function in HD and in particular in vivo cortical network connectivity.  Preliminary in vivo data from our labs with mesoscopic imaging using voltage-sensitive dyes (VSDs) showed a more extensive spread of evoked sensory signals across the cortical surface in YAC128 HD mice.  To further examine mHtt-induced changes in the cortex, we used tetrodes -- chronically implanted electrodes -- in multiple cortical areas to measure local field potential (LFP) oscillations, and in some cases single neuron activity. Consistent with the VSD imaging experiments, our data suggests that YAC128 mice show an augmented response to evoked sensory input.  Cortical instantaneous LFP power remained elevated in YAC128 longer than wild-type, particularly in alpha frequencies.  We also tested awake-behaving mice to correlate spectral densities across cortical areas with body movements using a deep learning network for video analysis.  Currently, in vivo electrophysiology signal fidelity is lost over weeks as implants are walled off as foreign bodies by the immune system.   Biocompatible probes with mechanical properties closer to brain tissue would enable the tracking of single neurons for longer periods and unlock new avenues for basic and clinical neuroscience research.

Bio - Dr. Lynn Raymond completed her MD and PhD degrees in New York and trained in Neurology at the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore. She combines a career in neuroscience research with clinical practice in Neurology. Dr. Raymond is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia, as well as Clinic Director of the Centre for Huntington Disease and served as Director of the UBC MD/PhD Program for more than 10 years. Her research focus for the past two decades has been on understanding the specific roles of altered neuronal circuits and amino acid neurotransmitter receptors - like the NMDA-type glutamate receptor - in the inherited neurodegenerative disorder, Huntington disease (HD). More recently, her work has focused on changes in cortical and striatal synaptic plasticity and circuit changes that may underlie early cognitive and motor deficits and potentially contribute to neuronal vulnerability to degeneration in HD. In addition to managing patients with HD in the clinic, she has been the UBC site investigator for several multi-centre clinical trials and observational studies in Huntington disease.

11:55   NaturalMouseTracker: High-Throughput, Low-Cost Automated Analysis of Mouse Social Interaction

Braeden Jury and Prof. Timothy Murphy
Department of Psychiatry, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC

Abstract - The use of animal models is widespread in the field of psychiatry to examine the impacts of psychiatric disorders on complex behaviours related to social interaction and decision making. Quantifying these behaviours often requires either labourious manual labelling or the use of a high cost automated system prohibiting the animals from being tracked in their standard home cage environment. In this paper, we present a high-throughput and low-cost solution to this problem, using open-source computer vision and RFID-based identification to track animals and monitor their behaviours continuously over several days. This system is robust to occlusions and produces a full classification of behaviour for up to four mice in a standard cage. We highlight the capabilities of this system by examining the correlation of the behaviour analysis with the standard dominance test.

Bio - Braeden Jury is an undergraduate Engineering Physics student working with Dr. Timothy Murphy at the UBC Center for Brain Health. The lab develops new imaging and optogenetic methods that have parallels to human brain imaging and stimulation tools.  In developing these tools that laboratory participates in the Canadian Neurophotonics Platform and leads UBC’s Dynamic Brain Circuits in Health and Disease Cluster which actively seeks to articulate new optical methods that are applied to questions related to diseases of the nervous system.  Murphy has been a past instructor in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Imaging Neurons and Neural Activity course and UBC’s 3D-microscopy courses.  By understanding the stroke recovery process on a circuit level, the lab hopes to advance patient translatable brain stimulation or other plasticity-inducing treatments.  More recently the laboratory has extended these approaches to mouse models of psychiatric disorders such as depression and autism.  To facilitate circuit interrogation in vivo the lab develops high-throughput models which automate animal imaging. The lab will use tracking cage to assess new metrics for how mice recover from stroke but to also develop new assays for social interaction that provide clues into the mechanisms of psychiatric  disorders such as depression and autism. In addition to work in the Murphy Lab, Braeden also leads the electrical and software subteam of the student design team Bionics Engineering Analysis and Research UBC, which is working to develop a bionic arm for competition at ETH Zurich's Cybathlon 2020.

12:15   Lunch Break

13:00   Innovation in Textile Electrode of Electrochemical Devices: Water Transport and Thread-based Temperature and Humidity Sensors

Sadegh Hasanpour and Prof. Mohsen Akbari
Laboratory for Innovations in Microengineering (LIME), UVIC

Abstract - Wearable health monitoring utilizes the advances in textile technologies for transporting biomarkers and physiological sensing. These advances are beneficial for textile electrodes of electrochemical devices for managing reactants and by-products transport and monitoring environmental parameters. Herein, a wicking property and flexibility of threads are used to control water (by-product) transport within a textile gas diffusion layer (GDL) of the electrode of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). By ex-situ and in-situ characterizations, it was found that the impact of threads on GDLs microstructure and transport properties is minimal with the achievement of generating water highways within the GDL. Furthermore, a low-cost procedure was developed to transform a commodity thread into temperature and humidity sensors by coating the thread with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) ink. The resistance of CNT coated thread is responsive to both parameters, in this work, the response to humidity was cancelled by coating fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). A linear change of resistance by increasing temperature (~-0.31 %/T) was achieved, and relative humidity (RH) is monitored with another thread coated with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which follows a quadratic function of RH. The combinations of both threads monitor local temperature and RH of a textile GDL in PEMFCs.

Bio - Sadegh Hasanpour is a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria (UVic). He is working in the Laboratory of Innovations in Microengineering (LiME) working toward his interdisciplinary Ph.D. project, developing a thread-based temperature and humidity monitoring for a textile electrode of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). He is also a researcher at the Institute for integrated energy system at UVic (IESVic) and worked in research and development at Ballard power systems. Prior to joining UVic, he obtained his master of applied science (M.A.Sc.) from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2016 working on the characterization of the electrode of PEMFCs.

13:45   Wearable Sensors to Challenge Arm and Hand Use After Stroke

Lisa Simpson and Prof. Janice Eng
Department of Physical Therapy, UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

Abstract - While it is well established that greater practice of arm and hand movements after stroke leads to better outcomes, motivating and monitoring patients is a challenge in rehabilitation.  We will provide an overview of our research using wrist accelerometers to quantify upper extremity movements after stroke.  These studies have shown that the amount of upper extremity activity is very low after a stroke.  In addition, patients may have good function of their upper extremities as measured by traditional functional scales in the hospital, but measure low activity or use of their upper extremities in the home.  We also present preliminary validity and reliability of a new custom wrist sensor to measure the number of discrete grasps and releases, hence a “hand pedometer”.This technology has potential to benefit current and future stroke patients as monitoring and motivating upper extremity activity has the potential to significantly improve activities of daily living, reduce secondary complications, and improve the well-being of these individuals.  This technology may be applicable to many other health conditions where upper extremity impairment and disuse occur (e.g., spinal cord injury, surgery of the shoulder and hand).

Bio - Lisa Simpson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Janice Eng. Lisa completed her MSc in Rehabilitation Sciences with Dr. Eng and has clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist working in acute rehabilitation in the U.S. Her research to date has focused on the measurement of upper limb use after stroke through the use of self-report measures and wearable technology. She is currently planning a clinical trial that will examine the effect of the combination of exercise and feedback from a custom wearable sensor on upper limb movement practice and recovery after stroke.

Janice Eng is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia and Director of the Rehabilitation Research Program, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.  She has clinical training in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as training in biomedical engineering.  She is a Senior Canada Research Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation and has published over 250 peer-reviewed publications in the field of neurological rehabilitation. Two of her stroke exercise programs, GRASP for improving arm and hand function and FAME for improving fitness and mobility, are used in over 1500 sites in 40 countries.

14:30   How Wearable Technology Helps Neurologists to Effectively Monitor and Manage Treatment in People with Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Maryam S. Mirian
Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre (PPRC) and Centre for Brain Health, UBC

Abstract - People living with Parkinson’s disease visit their neurologist sporadically. As a result, the neurologist has to make important treatment decisions based on patient/caregiver anecdotal reports. Reliable information on disease symptoms collected in the home setting by means of wearables may improve medication prescribing in these patients. We will present an overview of our research into the use of wearables in people living with Parkinson’s disease. We will discuss the development of a sleep headband that aims to accurately measure sleep while being comfortable to wear. Currently available technologies for sleep assessment are either highly accurate, expensive, and invasive or inexpensive, non-invasive, but inaccurate. We will talk about how measuring sweat using a wrist-worn sensor can help remind patients to take their medication and how wearable gloves can monitor tremor. Finally, we will discuss the development of a portable electrical vestibular stimulator that may represent an innovative therapeutic to treat balance and gait impairments in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Bio - Maryam S. Mirian is a research associate at the Pacific Parkinson Research Center (PPRC) and Centre for Brain Health. Prior to joining PPRC, she was an assistant professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Tehran where she worked in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Dr Mirian has earned a Ph.D. in AI and Robotics and is interested in applying statistical pattern recognition and machine learning techniques to biomedical signal, such as EEG, fMRI, electrodermal activity and IMU data. She aims to discover clinically meaningful information from the patient recordings that can be used as a biomarker or for non-linear dynamical patient identification.

15:10   Coffee Break

15:20   Wearable Technology: Implications for Research and Education

Prof. Michael A. Hunt
Faculty of Medicine, UBC

Abstract - This talk will feature 2 separate, but complementary topics. First, a discussion on the use of wearable technology for movement assessment and modification will feature recent research linking human movement and wearable systems. The ability and effectiveness of providing feedback to consciously alter movement patterns will be highlighted. Second, opportunities will be provided for interdisciplinary training and education of graduate and health professional students in the area of wearable technology to improve healthcare outcomes. An emphasis will be on using wearable technology as a facilitator to bring together students from a variety of backgrounds.

Bio - Dr. Michael Hunt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral Education) in the Faculty of Medicine. Having received research training in biomechanics, and clinical training in physical therapy, his research is focused on using biomechanical principles to understand musculoskeletal pathology and to develop innovative treatment approaches to target clinically-relevant biomechanical outcomes. His main area of research is conservative treatment of knee osteoarthritis, and he has led a number of clinical trials aiming to improve clinical and biomechanical outcomes in this patient population. His recent work has utilized wearable technology to assess movement, and provide feedback on knowledge of performance, outside of laboratory and clinical settings.

16:00  Cellulose Nanofibrils Based Substrates for Flexible Electronics

Prof. Feng Jiang
Department of Wood Science, UBC

Abstract - The global electronic waste (E-wastes) production has been escalating and is expected to reach to 120 million tonnes by 2050 if the current growth rate continues. Among the E-wastes, over 18% are silicon or carbon-based plastics that could not be degraded in nature. It is therefore of significant urgency to produce electronics devices using natural biodegradable materials. As the most abundant natural polymer on earth, cellulose nanofibril represents an excellent candidate due to its nanoscale dimension, abundant surface functional groups for modification, high surface charge density, and low thermal expansion coefficient. In our lab, we are working on the development of nanocellulose based materials that could be used for flexible electronics. Ionic conducting materials show great promise in applications such as energy storage and sensors. A cellulose nanofibrils based solid state electrolyte was developed for lithium ion battery application, showing good ionic conductivity as well as electrochemical stability at 60 °C. For the application as sensors, a strong and elastic cellulose nanofibril hydrogel was developed showing high transparency (85% transmittance in the visible light range), mechanical strength (tensile strength of 2.1 MPa), and elasticity (660% elongation at break). The hydrogel also showed anti-freezing properties that can maintain high ionic conductivity at -70 °C. Transparent and strong films are also developed using cellulose nanofibrils or nanocomposites, which demonstrate high light transmittance and flexibility, as well as mechanical strength for application as substrates for flexible electronics.

Bio - Feng Jiang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia, and a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Functional Biomaterials. He received his BS and MS training in Wood Science and PhD training in Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Aiming at developing advanced materials from bio-based materials, his research interests include isolation and functionalization of bio-based nanomaterials, assembly of these nanomaterials into fibres, films, aerogel, and hydrogels, additive manufacturing, thermal management, as well as applications in energy storage and environmental remediation.

16:45   Integration and Analytics for Wearable Devices

Prof. Homayoun Najjaran
School of Engineering, UBC Okanagan

Abstract - Wearable devices are meant to change the way practitioners assess the performance of their subjects: patients, athletes, pilots, machine operators, to name a few. In practice, however, this notion is more involved than it sounds. The human physiological system is complex, having evolved over a few billion years, so incorporating an artificial piece into the system is often nontrivial. A systematic study of what, where, when and how to measure human physiological signals is a precursor to practical wearable devices. To demonstrate this, an end-to-end human motion reconstruction system is presented as an example of an integrated study for the development of a wearable device. With significant advancements in the development of soft and flexible sensors, system integration considerations and data analytics are the remaining necessities of applicable and adequately reliable human motion monitoring devices. Our recent research focuses on non-intrusive monitoring of nervous and immune systems using wearable devices sensitive to stress-related biomarkers, hence avoiding the side effect of invasive examinations that can cause dysregulation of these systems. In particular, we investigate the detection of larger molecules like proteins and peptides that play an apparent role in regulating the neuro-immune interactions. Particularly, non-invasive and continuous measurement of cytokines, such as pro and anti-inflammatory biomarkers found in biofluids including sweat, via wearable devices can lead to preventative measures against chronic diseases associated with metabolic syndromes (MetS), including inflammatory and cardiovascular problems. With the scientific and technological breakthroughs of the last decade thanks to the wearable research community, it is now more conceivable than ever that the wearable technology in conjunction with AI tools will soon and likely create the devices that are most compatible and even undistinguishable part of human sensory system.

Bio - Dr. Homayoun Najjaran is a professor of the Okanagan School of Engineering and the Associate Director of Manufacturing Engineering program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He founded the Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems (ACIS) laboratory in 2006. Prior to that he worked at the National Research Council (NRC) Canada. He has made significant contributions to the fields of automation, robotics, mechatronics and MEMS. His biotechnology research relates to sensing technologies including lab-on-a-chip (LOC), point of care testing (POCT) and wearable devices. With 20 years of industrial experience and a vast network of industrial partners, Dr. Najjaran is also the President of the Advanced Engineering Solutions Inc. providing consultation in the area of system design and integration.

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