Electrical and Computer Engineering Colloquium

February 8, 2017
February 8, 2017
Speaker: Mark G. Allen, Ph.D.
                 University of Pennsylvania
Title: MEMS in Medicine: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon


Abstract: Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, trace their history back almost five decades. Since their conception, forward thinkers have considered their use in biomedical applications for the monitoring and ultimately treatment of disease. This presentation will discuss some of the historical foundations of MEMS in medicine, and illustrate their their use through several examples from our own laboratory, including: microneedles for transdermal drug delivery; microfabricated in-vitro interfaces to electrogenic cells; and biodegradable sensors and power sources. A MEMS-based lab-to-approved product, endovascularly-implantable wireless pressure sensors, will then be discussed. The sensors, microfabricated from silica, have no internal power supply or circuitry and wirelessly communicate the pressure of the environment in which they are embedded to an external reader. Two applications of these sensors will be discussed: detecting the pressure within the excluded portion of endovascularly-repaired abdominal aortic aneurysms to monitor for graft failure; and detecting the pressure within the pulmonary artery for patients with congestive heart failure to titrate medication and reduce heart-failure-related hospitalization. The talk will conclude with a discussion of future directions and prospects for MEMS in medicine.

Biography: Mark G. Allen received the B.A. degree in chemistry, the B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering, and the B.S.E. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, ultimately holding the rank of Regents’ Professor and the J.M. Pettit Professorship in Microelectronics, as well as a joint appointment in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In 2013 he left Georgia Tech to become the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Scientific Director of the Singh Nanotechnology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are in the development and the application of new micro- and nanofabrication technologies, as well as MEMS. Dr. Allen has held the posts of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, co-chair of the IEEE/ASME MEMS Conference, and is co-founder of multiple MEMS companies, including Cardiomems and Axion Biosystems. A Fellow of the IEEE, Dr. Allen received the 2016 IEEE Daniel P. Noble Award for contributions to research and development, clinical translation, and commercialization of biomedical microsystems.