David Myers - Moving MEMS into Medicine: A Microsystems Journey From Ballistics to the Bedside
From Katie Gentilello on August 27th, 2020
Microsystems have dramatically changed how we interact with the world, from tracking fitness-related activity to improving transportation safety, yet microsystems have failed to live up to their potential in biomedical and clinical settings. In this talk, I review my efforts at addressing this issue and detail my journey from state-of-the-art microsystem development to cutting edge biological and clinical research. Beginning with a discussion of advanced microsystem design, I highlight the exceptional capabilities of today’s microsystems, including some of my own work on high-performance automotive and ballistic sensors. I demonstrate that these microsystem tools have enormous potential in biomedical research and clinical settings, but that fully realizing the capabilities of this established field lies in designing new robust microsystems capable of answering clinically relevant problems. As a case study, I examine the creation of the platelet contraction cytometer, a tool that has led to important insights into our understanding of the process of hemostasis. By applying a microsystems-based toolset to a challenging biomedical question, I show how we have started to better define the mechanical behavior of clots, which is pathologically linked to bleeding and thrombosis. Moreover, I discuss how our microsystems-based approach may represent an entirely new class of biophysical biomarker for bleeding that is independent of existing tests. Finally, I conclude with how quantitatively defining the platelet has led to interesting new insights into biomechanical structures.