Soft Materials and Patient-Specific Designs: Strategies for addressing complex human anatomies

Featuring Simon Dunham, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in Radiology
Dalio Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging and Weill Cornell Medicine

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Abstract: Patient anatomies are complex and each is unique. It is challenging to develop robust devices that can operate successfully across the plethora of patient anatomies. Today, this results exclusion of certain patient populations and contributes to the occurrence of adverse events such as device leakage, device migration, and even embolization.   More recently, 3D printing and other rapid prototyping technologies have allowed for creation of patient-specific designs.  Similarly, advancements in functional soft materials allow for conformable designs that can adapt to complex anatomy, while performing additional functions.  My work seeks to utilize these strategies to demonstrate effective solutions to a variety of common clinical applications, particularly those in the cardiac environment.  I will describe how conformable and patient-specific designs can address critical challenges associated with treatment of Myocardial Ischemia, Cardiac Arrythmia, and Structural Heart Disease.  I will discuss the unique digital workflows and fabrication approaches my lab has developed to implement these technologies.  From here, I will describe the performance of these devices as well as some approaches for evaluating device performance in real patient anatomies.  Finally, I will discuss many of the challenges and limitations of patient-specific and conformable solutions.  

Bio: Dunham is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.  He received his B.S. at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (UIUC), both in Materials Science and Engineering.  He also served as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Chemistry at GT.  During his training his research primarily focused on nanomaterials, stretchable electronics, soft materials and non-traditional fabrication.  After completing his postdoc, Dr. Dunham joined the faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine as a member of the Dalio Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging, where he oversees a research group focused on developing translational technologies in collaboration with the clinical faculty at Weill Cornell.  Dr. Dunham has authored over 45 publications, 15 patents and sits on regulatory panels for a wide variety of regulatory groups (ISO, AAMI, and IEC) addressing topics from cardiac occluders to wearable electronics.  

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