Iranian Scientist Develops Devices for Glaucoma, Cancer

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Active ImageBabak Ziaie, a professor of electrical and computer engineering of Purdue university develops devices to treat glaucoma, cancer.

Babak Ziaie, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, was torn between engineering and medicine when he was deciding what to do with his life. His solution was to work in the Birck Nanotechnology Center developing small and sophisticated machines that could help provide faster and more effective health care.

Ziaie and his team are currently working on a device that will improve the way radiation therapy is applied. Patients will have a small electronic device implanted in or around the cancerous area receiving the treatment. This device will measure the amount of radiation the target area receives and relay this information to medical personnel.

Active Image"This system could greatly reduce the side effects of (radiation therapy) because the doses of radiation could be much more precise," Ziaie said. "We are the only group to be doing this kind of research."

A prototype of the device has been developed and testing is in progress. Another product from Ziaie that has been fabricated is a "plug" for the human eye.

"Sometimes, when a patient has glaucoma, pressure in the eye must be corrected with surgery," Ziaie said. "We have developed a glaucoma device that protects the eye after surgery."

The device fits into an opening in the eye and can act as a drain for excess pressure. If ignored, this pressure could damage the optic nerves that allow a person to see, possibly leading to permanent loss of vision.

The device can drain very small amounts of pressure and is biodegradable. This means that it will completely dissolve in about two weeks without harming the body.

The team has many other projects and ideas, including the development of methods to deliver drugs to the brain, measure pressure in the brain and bladder, and track tumor progression throughout the body.

Trials on animals are conducted in conjunction with the Indiana University School of Medicine while all of the engineering work and fabrication takes place at Purdue.

"Seventy percent of my research is clinically based," Ziaie said. "My goal is to get products to patients for treatment."

Babak Ziaie received his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1994. His dissertation was related to the design and development of an implantable single channel microstimulator for functional neuromuscular stimulation. From 1995-1999 he was a postdoctoral-fellow and an assistant research scientist at the Center for Integrated Microsystems (CIMS) of the University of Michigan. He subsequently joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor (1999-2004). Since Jan 2005, he has been with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University where he is an associate professor. His research interests are mostly related to biomedical applications of MEMS and microsystems. These include implantable wireless microsystems for diagnosis and management of glaucoma, hydrogel-based microsystems for physiological sensing and active flow control, multi-channel wideband wireless interfaces for central nervous system (brain/machine interface), biomimetic sensors and actuators, and ultra-sensitive sensors for biological (molecular and cellular) applications. Dr. Ziaie is the recipient of the NSF Career award in Biomedical Engineering (2001) and McKnight Endowment Fund Award for Technological Innovations in Neuroscience (2002). Dr. Ziaie is a member of the IEEE, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society.

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