Speaker: Todd P. Coleman, UCSD

Title: Electrical Digestive Engineering

Abstract: Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are the second leading cause for missing work or school after the common cold, giving rise to 10 percent of the reasons a patient visits their physician and costing $142 billion annually.  Although obstructions and infections are easy to diagnose, more than half of GI disorders involve abnormal functioning of the GI tract, where diagnosis entails subjective symptom-based questionnaires or objective but invasive, intermittent procedures in specialized centers.   In this talk, we will describe electrical waves of pacemaker activity that underlie contractions for digestion, their interconnection with the nervous and immune systems, and how their propagation patterns can go awry in GI disorders. We will describe our development of high-resolution multi-electrode abdominal recording systems as well as dynamic spatial signal processing methods that in concert enable extraction of propagation patterns that are typically acquired invasively in specialized centers.  Development of a miniaturized recording system to perform 24-hour ambulatory recordings, with an example of how this aided in solving a complex patient case will also be discussed.  We will conclude with a vision for how modernizing gastroenterology with applied mathematics and engineering has transformational potential to remove bottlenecks, improve health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs by improving timely diagnoses, optimizing interventions, and predicting treatment responses.

Bio: Todd P. Coleman received B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering from the University of Michigan. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and did postdoctoral studies at Mass General Hospital in neuroscience. He is currently a Professor of Bioengineering at UCSD and directs the Neural Interaction Laboratory, which uses tools from applied probability, physiology, and bio-electronics to address basic science and translational problems. Dr. Coleman has been selected as a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer, a TEDMED speaker, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.