From a series on researchers and innovators at Boston Children’s Hospital
For a researcher who started her career studying sound waves in the ocean, winning a BRAIN Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) grant from the National Science Foundation is a pretty impressive accomplishment. The grant, part of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative to advance transformative research on the brain, affirms Caterina Stamoulis’s shift of focus from the depths of the sea to the depths of the brain. She’s not alone: the neuroscience field is attracting scientists from the physical sciences who bring a fresh perspective to the analysis of brain signals.
Today, Stamoulis, who holds a PhD in underwater acoustics from MIT, holds faculty appointments in radiology and neurology and at Boston Children’s.
What are the goals of your BRAIN project?
We aim to characterize age-related changes in the brain’s rhythmic activity (neural oscillations) during the first three years of life. The brain changes at a remarkable pace during this period. It is also a period when several neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), manifest themselves.
To understand how these disorders affect brain activity and consequently cognitive function, we first need to better understand how fundamental aspects of brain activity, such as neural oscillations, change with age in the typically developing brain. To characterize the trajectories of these oscillations, we will use novel computational tools and large volumes of human electrophysiological (EEG) data. …
Children’s hospitals face the challenges of a relatively small patient population, regulatory barriers and care outcomes that may not be measurable for decades. But challenges also bring opportunities. This fall 2014 panel, hosted by Children’s Hospital Association President and CEO Mark Wietecha, gathered CEOs from some of the world’s most respected pediatric hospitals:
Carlos Dominguez is a technology evangelist, social media maven and a Senior VP at the IT company Cisco Systems, Inc. In this animated keynote presentation, he poses the question: how can health care organizations innovate in a world transformed by the web, social media and mobile phones, where “distance is dead,” knowledge is totally democratized and kids are born digital? Innovation isn’t luck, he contends, it’s a discipline that should work its way into an organization’s DNA.
At age 13, Jack Andraka lost a family friend to pancreatic cancer. At age 15, he developed a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that early findings suggest is highly accurate. In this session, Andraka describes his journey, the Johns Hopkins professor who took him on, his fascination with carbon nanotubes and how open access to scientific journals can help people around the world create solutions to problems. The diagnostic itself is in the early phases of testing.
Rare diseases offer a lot of opportunity for gene discovery, but getting a drug to market presents many challenges, and costs per patient are high. This 50-minute session explored this complicated landscape from multiple angles. The panelists: …
It was an ABC “Shark Tank” lover’s dream: At this pediatric Innovation Tank moderated by Daymond John, venture capitalists and clinicians fielded pitches from innovators looking to advance their care solution before a packed audience. The contenders:
What’s IBM’s Watson been up to since winning Jeopardy? Among other things, it’s been trying to help doctors make decisions. “We live in an age of information overload,” says Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President of the IBM Watson Group. “The challenge is to now turn that information into knowledge.”
Interestingly, most of the inquiries Rhodin received post-Jeopardy were from doctors, who were interested in the way Watson sorted and ranked possible answers. Here, Rhodin and Dan Cerutti, VP of Watson Commercialization, outline IBM’s vision to improve global health care through a technology platform called CarePlex:
Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel MD, PhD, former health advisor to President Barack Obama and current Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at University of Pennsylvania, has plenty to say about where health care is headed. Keynoting at the Global Pediatric Summit 2014, Zeke outlines six predictions and what academic medical centers and the larger industry will need to do to survive.
Your first job as an innovator is to persuade your colleagues that playing it safe is the riskiest strategy of all, says Bill Taylor, Fast Company’s cofounder and founding editor. During his keynote address, “A Practically Radical Prescription for Health Care,” Taylor urged health care innovators to embrace change and look broadly to other fields–even the circus–for lessons.
He invoked what George Carlin called “vuja de”: The opposite of deja vu, it’s seeing a familiar thing in new way. “We learn and grow the most when we meet with people unlike us,” Taylor said.
Ask yourself, “What are we offering that is hard to come by?” Fill a need before other organizations even see it. It may be hidden in plain sight. Here’s Taylor’s talk in full: