Bridging Medicine and Biomedical Technology Special All-Congress Session

Bridging Medicine and Biomedical Technology Special All-Congress Session

Bridging Medicine and Biomedical Technology: Enhancing Translation of Fundamental Research to Patient Care

This special all-congress session will briefly introduce the fundamentals of translational research and highlight, through two examples of important clinical problems, the challenges to overcome by physician scientists in order to identify, develop and bring to clinical practice novel biomedical technologies that provide relevant solutions.
One example in dermatology features the development of novel diagnostics for cellulitis. Cellulitis is a common and costly bacterial infection of the skin. Currently there are no objective diagnostics and therefore diagnosis depends on clinical exam alone. However, due to the many clinical mimics of cellulitis, misdiagnosis of cellulitis occurs in over one-third of patients. The misdiagnosis of cellulitis leads to unnecessary hospitalization, overuse of antibiotics, and over half a billion dollars in spending per year. Strategic approaches to develop novel diagnostics include non-invasive optical techniques and minimally invasive skin sampling, however significant technical challenges remain.
The other example in ophthalmology presents a new surgical procedure to prevent the development of high myopia. Briefly, the mechanism behind high myopia is an over-elongation of the eye during its growth period. This elongation can be halted by modulating the biomechanical properties of the growing sclera - in particular, by inducing crosslinks in the extracellular matrix. Several approaches have been made to induce those scleral crosslinks, all with certain difficulties.
The panel discussion that will conclude the session will give an opportunity for audience to ask questions and engage the dialogue with other participants and the speakers.
 Session Chair

Gabriela Apiou, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She received her PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers Angers, France in 1998 and her Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches in Health and Life Sciences from University Paris Est Créteil, France in 2010. Between 1995 and 2011, Dr. Apiou worked for global leaders in the biomedical engineering and pharmaceutical industry where she performed and directed research with a particular focus on inhaled therapeutics and delivery devices. Since 2011, she has been working at Massachusetts General Hospital as the Director of the Translational Research Core for Wellman Center for Photomedicine and since 2015 as the Director of Translational Research Training and Development at the Research Institute. In these roles, she is leading the development of new initiatives to help scientists engage in sound collaborations with industry at all stages of their work.


 Adam Raff, M.D., Ph.D. is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and a dermatologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He conducts research on infectious diseases of the skin, specifically cellulitis, in the laboratory of R. Rox Anderson, MD at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine. Dr. Raff is the recipient of an NIH T32 training grant for his work in cellulitis. He obtained his MD/PhD with Alpha Omega Alpha honors at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. His PhD research in cutaneous immunology and virology was conducted in the laboratory of W. Martin Kast. He obtained his B.S. summa cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors at Georgetown University.

 Theo G. Seiler, M.D., is an ophthalmology physician-scientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the laboratory of Irene Kochevar, PhD at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland. He graduated from Medical School in 2013 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and was trained in Ophthalmology at the Technical University in Munich, Germany, at the Institut für Refraktive und Ophthalmo-Chirurgie (IROC) in Zurich, Switzerland and the University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland. His research focuses on corneal biomechanics and ways to enhance rigidity of ocular tissues as well as refractive surgery.