Senior Vice Provost for Research and Innovation
Georgia Institute of Technology
Micromachining is a manufacturing technology that uses microfabrication techniques typically used to create integrated circuits, augmented by some specialized microfabrication tools, to also create mechanical structures and devices. Such microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have the capability for small size, high functionality, and batch fabrication manufacturing economics. After a review of some current MEMS projects in our laboratory at Georgia Tech, this talk will discuss the history, design, fabrication, development, clinical testing, and commercialization of permanently-implantable, wireless silica MEMS sensors for measurement of pressure within blood vessels of the human body. These sensors have no internal power supply or circuitry and wirelessly communicate their measured pressure to an external reader. The design and fabrication, as well as medical use, of these sensors will be discussed. The first medical application of these sensors is as monitors of pressure within the excluded portion of endovascularly-repaired abdominal aortic aneurysms. For this application, the devices must be permanently implanted deep within the electrically lossy medium of the body and be functional for the remainder of the patient's life. Micromachining enables sensors with sizes and form factors suitable for endovascular delivery and permanent implantation. The sensors are interrogated with an external measurement antenna and a real-time waveform of the pressure environment is extracted. These devices are now commercially available in the United States. The second application for these devices involves measurement of pressure in the pulmonary artery for monitoring and control of congestive heart failure. Sensors are implanted in the patient and home readings are used to communicate vessel pressure through the internet to physicians, who can then adjust medication to keep the patients from decompensation and hospitalization. The results of a successfully completed 550-patient clinical trial in the US will be presented.
Dr. 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, and the S.M. and Ph.D. (1989) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he currently holds the rank of Regents' Professor and the J.M. Pettit Professorship in Microelectronics. His current research interests are in the field of microfabrication and nanofabrication technology, with emphasis on new approaches to fabricate devices with characteristic lengths in the micro- to nanoscale from both silicon and non-silicon materials. Professor Allen was the co-chair of the 1996 IEEE/ASME Microelectromechanical Systems Conference, is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, will co-chair the 2012 Power MEMS conference, and is a member of the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for Sponsored Research. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.
From 2007-2010, Professor Allen held the position of Senior Vice Provost for Research and Innovation at Georgia Tech. In that capacity was charged with overseeing Georgia Tech's interdisciplinary research centers, managing Georgia Tech's $500 million sponsored research portfolio, and guiding the commercialization of Georgia Tech research results and intellectual property.
Professor Allen is co-founder of several MEMS-oriented companies, including CardioMEMS (cardiomems.com) and Axion Biosystems (axionbio.com). CardioMEMS was founded in 2001 and is commercializing wireless implantable microsensors for treatment of aneurysms and congestive heart failure. CardioMEMS received the 2006 Company of the Year award from Small Times magazine and the 2006 Frost and Sullivan Patient Monitoring Product Innovation of the Year Award, and its wireless pressure monitor was highlighted by the FDA in its annual report as a cleared medical device likely to have a significant impact on patient care. Approximately 6,000 patients have been implanted with its technology. CardioMEMS completed a 550‐patient clinical trial for its second product in 2010. Axion Biosystems, founded in 2008, is commercializing microelectrode arrays for in-vitro neural interfacing. It is a revenue-generating company of approximately 12 employees and successfully completed a second round of financing for expansion in 2010.
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