Kayvan Najarian: Building Technologies That Save Lives

Kayvan Najarian: Building Technologies That Save Lives

Kayvan Najarian, PhD was interviewed by Medium for a series examining the lives and journeys of prominent Iranian-Americans who have made seminal contributions to their fields of endeavour that have led to significant achievements.

Heming Yao receives 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award

Heming Yao receives 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award

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Heming Yao was recently awarded the 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Yao was nominated by Kayvan Najarian, PhD, her mentor from the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics. 

The award recognizes participation and leadership in efforts that extend beyond the laboratory, broadening the impact of either research or scientific education. This can include starting a company, patenting a product or procedure, or the creation of educational programming. Awardees receive recognition and $500.

Yao is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and works in Dr. Najarian’s lab. The most recent project she is involved in is Drowsiness Detection by Video Processing. Yao is working with industry collaborator DENSO, a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components,to develop a real-time face localization and drowsiness detection system using videos recorded by an in-car camera. Ultimately, the technology would be embedded into the driver-assistance system and facilitate safe driving. Yao has been working on creating novel advanced machine learning algorithms for the detection of human affective states/drowsiness and has a key role in filing a patent. 

“Heming’s ability to create novel algorithms while considering their applications in the real-world has been an exceptional trait that is greatly admired by my group as well as our industry partners,” said Dr. Najarian. “In particular, Heming has been truly exceptional in working with our industry collaborators, which has resulted in multiple commendations by our industry partners.”

Yao has successfully applied her methods to other applications including the automated detection and assessment of hematoma in traumatic brain injuries.

Congratulations Heming!

MCIRCC Team ‘Brings Home the Hardware’ from Researchpalooza

MCIRCC Team ‘Brings Home the Hardware’ from Researchpalooza

Researchpalooza, an annual Michigan Medicine Ice Cream Social on August 8th that is organized by the Medical School Office of Research, is a fun opportunity for 91 exhibiting organizations of the Medical School to display what makes them an integral part of the Michigan Medicine machine. 

This year, members of our MCIRCC Catalyst Team brought their A-game, earning the event’s Most Spirited Award and a $50 Zingerman’s gift card, determined by input from last year’s winner (Medical School Office of Regulatory Affairs) and Ann Curtis, the Medical School Office of Research’s Director of Marketing Communications. Their criteria included looking for an organization that came up with an engaging activity (not necessarily expensive) and is having fun interacting with attendees.

While providing valuable information to passersby is ultimately the main objective, our team also wanted to share a nostalgic, yet MCIRCC applicable, experience with everyone who visited the table. 

Enter, tabletop “Operation MCIRCC.” 

Throughout most of the event, there was a real “buzz” around our large-scale version of the classic Operation game using a magnetic wand to remove large magnetic body parts. It didn’t seem to make a difference whether the surgeon playing was actually experienced in the OR, the threat of the buzzer going off during removal made for many steady hands. We’re sure that our science/ER themed music playlist could’ve only helped, too. Think “Bad Medicine” (Bon Jovi) and “Urgent” (Foreigner).       

The reoccurring response to the game – “I haven’t played this in years.” The candy participation prize (with the promise of more in exchange for the removal of more body parts) seemed to bring out everyone’s inner child and several actual children with the youngest being only a few years old. 

MCIRCC Team members who encouraged players (ok, there was some bantering, too) included: Sue Wozniak – Events Specialist, Denise Poirier – Administrative Specialist, Megan VanStratt – Director of Marketing & Communications, Raysha Simon – Marketing & Communications Specialist, and Meagan Ramsey – Proposal Development Unit Manager.

For a good time – and some funded and promoted research, you know where to go! 

 
 

Mad Minute with Meagan Ramsey

Mad Minute with Meagan Ramsey

What sparked your interest in working for MCIRCC? 

I was drawn to MCIRCC for two primary reasons. First, my work in the Proposal Development Unit allows me to be involved in the entire proposal development process, and I look forward to helping with everything from strategic planning to proposal submission. Second, I find it so energizing that MCIRCC focuses on bringing many people together from different disciplines to develop transformative solutions in critical care and on actually getting those solutions out into the world to save and restore patients during medical emergencies. This is important and exciting work, and I am very happy to be part of the MCIRCC team.   

 

What specific projects are you most excited about tackling?  

I am excited to help MCIRCC members with any proposal they are pursuing, but I am especially excited to help develop large, complex proposals (e.g., program projects, center grants). I am also excited to help with proposals that focus on developing innovative, life-saving products and technologies so we can get them to market faster. Finally, my professional passion lies in substantive grant editing, so I am very excited to help members ensure the technical pieces of their proposals are clear, concise, cohesive, and persuasive through comprehensive editing. My scientific background and strong proposal writing and editing skills allow me to provide input on strategic messaging as well as a critical review from the perspective of a non-subject-matter-expert (which many of your reviewers will likely be).  

 

What would you like MCIRCC members to know about the Proposal Development Unit?   

The Proposal Development Unit can do a variety of things to help you submit a competitive proposal, including finding funding opportunities and strategic positioning. We can also help significantly with proposal planning and development (e.g., creating writing and submission timelines, requirements checklists, and writing templates; drafting supporting documents; coordinating with your research administrator; providing writing, editing, and graphics expertise). The most important thing is that you reach out to me early—as soon as you know you might want to submit a proposal (or even if you just have an idea but aren’t sure of the appropriate sponsor). I am here to help in any way I can, but during busy periods when I am at maximum capacity, it might be difficult to accommodate late requests—so again, contact me ASAP!

 

Share something interesting about yourself that might otherwise not come up in conversation.  

I recently bought a fixer upper house that is constructed out of an old Quonset hut. The Quonset hut originally served as a military barracks during World War II, and it was later moved to its current location to become a home (with a normal exterior built around the Quonset shell). For the past year, we have spent all our spare time on extensive renovations. The house—which used to be very dingy, dated, and cramped—is now a beautiful blend of industrial, contemporary, minimalist, and mid-century modern styles. My favorite features are the open concept curved white walls, the exposed curved metal beams, the polished concrete floor, the bathroom wall covered in tiny grey hexagon tiles, and the mid-century modern furniture and fixtures. The house is not quite finished, but we are getting close! Next, we will renovate our outdoor patio area, create some curb appeal, and make some trails in the woods next to the house.

2018 Massey TBI Grand Challenge Funds 6 Teams

2018 Massey TBI Grand Challenge Funds 6 Teams

Congratulations to the six traumatic brain injury (TBI) teams whose projects have been funded this year thanks to the continued generosity of the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation! 

Mad Minute with Dan Taylor

Mad Minute with Dan Taylor

Dan is a part of MCIRCC’s newest team of data scientists. He focuses on implementing big data processing pipelines and designing machine learning models.

Game-changing Study Aims to Identify Pneumonia Pathogens Faster with Breakthrough Technologies

Game-changing Study Aims to Identify Pneumonia Pathogens Faster with Breakthrough Technologies

Pneumonia has been around for centuries and remains a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expense today.

The most commonly used method for identifying respiratory pathogens in pneumonia - bacterial culture - was first developed in the 1880s. Though there have been many breakthroughs in our treatment of pneumonia - such as antibiotics and mechanical ventilation - our clinical identification of respiratory pathogens still relies on the time-consuming culture-based techniques. In response, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has expressed a critical need for rapid, accurate identification of pathogens in pneumonia. 

Leading the team that is stepping up to the plate is Robert Dickson, MD, an Associate Director of MCIRCC and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. His work as principal investigator of Rapid Pathogen Identification in Pneumonia Using Real-time Metagenomics and Ultrasensitive PCR has the potential to transform the way pneumonia is diagnosed, and was recently awarded $428,875 in NIAID R21 funding over two years.

Pneumonia is a 21st century problem that we are still diagnosing with 19th century tools,” says Dickson. “This study aims to change that.

The project utilizes ultrasensitive PCR detection techniques for quantifying lung bacteria, as well as a new-to-market palm-sized DNA sequencer called the  MinIon (developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Oxford, UK) for real-time pathogen identification. 

This powerful combination could potentially tell clinicians which bacteria are present in the lungs (“who’s there?”) as well as the total bacterial burden (“how much?”) in less than four hours, and for less than $100. In addition, clinicians may also be able to use bacterial genetic information to rapidly determine antibiotic resistance and optimal antibiotic selection. Current culture-based techniques require 24-72 hours to provide this information.

“For the past decade, the University of Michigan has been a field-leader in the study of the microbiome, using bacterial gene sequencing to study the bacterial communities in our bodies. But until recently, these molecular techniques were too slow, expensive, and labor-intensive for clinical use,” explains Dr. Dickson. “Our study team has recently shown that by using recent advances in these DNA-based techniques, we can identify the pathogens that cause lung infections within hours rather than days or weeks.” 

Dickson partnered with Scott VanEpps, MD, PhD from Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, John Erb-Downward, PhD from Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Duane Newton, PhD from Pathology and the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory to bring together a powerhouse of clinical diagnostics and research expertise.

By accelerating the identification of respiratory pathogens, optimizing administration of appropriate antibiotics, and minimizing unneeded antibiotic use, Dickson and his team will improve the treatment of lung infections creating a timeless win for tackling pneumonia.

Mad Minute with Raysha Simon

Mad Minute with Raysha Simon

The MCIRCC Marketing team has grown! Raysha joined the team earlier this month and specializes in creative storytelling, design, and thoughtful audience engagement.

MCIRCC Members Promoted by Board of Regents

MCIRCC Members Promoted by Board of Regents

The Board of Regents at its May 17 meeting approved recommendations for new appointments and promotions for regular associate and full professor ranks, with tenure and/or promotion of faculty on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The promotions are presented below by school, in alphabetical order.

College of Engineering

James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.

Kayvan Najarian, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, without tenure.

College of Pharmacy

James J. Moon, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.

Anna A.S. Schwendeman, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.

Medical School

Colin R. Cooke, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

Michael Gaies, associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, with tenure.

Scott Hummel, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

Theodore J. Iwashyna, professor of internal medicine, with tenure.

James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.

Kayvan Najarian, professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, with tenure; and professor of emergency medicine, without tenure.

 

Clinical and research track promotions

The following U-M clinical professor track promotions and research professor track promotions were promoted to the Board of Regents May 17. 

Medical School

Neeraj Chaudhary, clinical associate professor.

 

Mad Minute with Chris Gillies

Mad Minute with Chris Gillies

This month MCIRCC welcomes Chris Gillies to the data science team. Chris is an expert in working with researchers to develop web applications and tools to suit each project.

One stop shop: New clinic bundles key services after ICU discharge

One stop shop: New clinic bundles key services after ICU discharge

Rooted in research, a Michigan Medicine clinic aims to help intensive care unit patients receive proper follow-up care and prevent readmissions.

After close observation and treatment in an intensive care unit, patients who have fought through their critical illness are sent home to continue recovery.

But then what?

For many patients, they may not be prepared for the recovery process following an ICU admission.

“It’s interesting, because we all celebrate when a patient survives a severe critical illness and is able to go home, but really that’s only half of the battle,” says Jakob McSparron, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Michigan Medicine. “The next step is thinking about follow-up care and how to help them recover effectively and keep them from being hospitalized again.”

And it’s why a new clinic at Michigan Medicine was established to aid in that recovery process.

The University of Michigan Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience Clinic (U-M PULSE) is one of just a few such clinics in the country. Set up to provide multidisciplinary care, it allows patients to be seen by a pharmacist, social worker and physician in the same visit.

Read the full story at Michigan Health Lab...

Mad Minute with Mohsen Hooshmand, PhD

Mad Minute with Mohsen Hooshmand, PhD

This month, we hear from a member of Kayvan Najarian's lab, Mohsen! He joined the team earlier this year and is an expert in all things mathematics and models.

Want to perfect your proposal? Start with a </br> kick-off meeting

Want to perfect your proposal? Start with a
kick-off meeting

No matter your proposal size, scope, or budget amount, a kick-off meeting is designed to set the stage for the proposal team to pursue an opportunity. It brings together anybody and everybody involved in this one proposal to get on the same page.

AHA Researcher of the Week: Kayvan Najarian, PhD

AHA Researcher of the Week: Kayvan Najarian, PhD

Kayvan Najarian, PhD, an American Heart Association-supported researcher, is another example of the extraordinary things happening here at the University of Michigan thanks to AHA funding.

MCIRCC launches new Seminar Series with Dr. Steffen Leonhardt

MCIRCC launches new Seminar Series with Dr. Steffen Leonhardt

Dr. Steffen Leonhardt, Philips Endowed Chair of Medical Information Technology at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany, was in Ann Arbor on March 9 discussing nonobtrusive and noncontact monitoring techniques for medical applications.

Recapping the 2018 HIMSS Conference

Recapping the 2018 HIMSS Conference

MCIRCC's Data Science team recently headed to sunny Las Vegas to catch up on the latest and greatest in the health IT industry. Don't miss their top three takeaways from the week.