Bioelectronics meets medicine | UNC-Chapel Hill


When Woobin bae formed him laboratoryHe was intent on integrating and cultivating a culture of cooperation. Bay, an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been working on this approach throughout his work. His team of multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students — from APS and UNC School of Medicine — are getting attention for their new wireless sensor patch that reduces tissue damage after surgery, while improving user comfort compared to implantable deep tissue monitors.

“Working with researchers from different backgrounds adds more possibilities along the research journey,” Bay says. “Having different backgrounds can provide a source of ideas from different perspectives, which can spark important moments.”

The sensor patch is a wearable wireless patch for deep tissue monitoring of vital signs, including heartbeat, breathing, the amount of oxygen in the blood (pulse oximetry) and the amount of oxygen in the body’s tissues (tissue oximetry). With its wireless capabilities, the sensor patch allows clinicians to monitor patients remotely and in real time, potentially improving health outcomes.

Because it is wearable, the sensor patch reduces tissue damage and improves patient comfort compared to implantable monitors when it comes to the need for deep tissue monitoring. In addition, the correction can simultaneously provide local and global physiological information.

“We believe that the sensor patch we developed could open up a new opportunity for muscle monitoring,” says Bay, who came to UNC Chapel-Hill in 2021. “Traditional wearable electronics can capture pulse oxygenation, track walking distance or exercise intensity. But we wanted to make a device that could capture an area of ​​local tissue, especially deep in the skin rather than just at the skin interface. The sensor patch could benefit patients who may have a complex procedure or They have a higher chance of infection and inflammation.”

How does it work? For example, patients with catastrophic accidents sometimes require a muscle flap transfer. In these cases, the reconstructed flaps need close monitoring by clinicians to ensure that the newly transferred tissue will fuse into the adjacent tissue. Current strategies for postoperative care rely solely on a physical examination and external Doppler tests – both of which are restricted because they depend on the skills of bedside workers who must constantly check for the transferred flap. However, the dermal-interfaced patch developed by Bay’s lab uses microneedle waveguides that overcome light scattering and absorption associated with skin and fat tissue — allowing medical providers to assess health and healing deep in tissue.

“The sensing patch and its wireless synchronization ability allow for continuous monitoring and can instantly alert clinical personnel of any problems. This allows recovery to become more automated, and reduces the burden of postoperative monitoring or postoperative care,” says Bay. “The wireless sensor patch provides a safe, real-time, less invasive and low-cost way to monitor the recovery of flap transfer surgery.”

Pai’s team recently put out their paper “Skin Interfaced Deep-Tissue Sensing Patch via Microneedle Waveguides” on this technology. published in advanced materials technology.

“This is my first paper as a reporter and principal investigator, and it means a lot to me personally,” says Bay. “As professors, it is motivating that we can put together a team to make something publish. It gives us confidence that we can put our passion into action and show our ideas to make an impact.”

The collaboration with UNU School of Medicine provided Wubin and his team with the insight they needed to see if they could use existing technologies in the lab to create the solution, or whether they should explore additional technologies to solve the challenges they face.

“Association with different areas of research outside of APS greatly benefited the team and the work,” says Bay. “The collaboration with clinicians in the medical school was huge. The collaboration was very smooth and easy, and the passion of the team amazed me.”

As an undergraduate, graduate, and postdoc researcher, Bey has had extensive experiences working in a collaborative environment with multidisciplinary teams. Today, he incorporates the same approach in his lab with his students.

“Sometimes even a small, unintentional suggestion from a researcher in an entirely different field can save months of time figuring out a way to overcome a technical obstacle,” Bay says. “Collaborating with UNC medical experts, especially doctors on the front lines, helped us learn more about their personal experiences with current medical tools as well as potential challenges we might face.”

Bay works with Innovate Carolina’s technology marketing office To take the technology forward, the team has a provisional patent attached to the paper. OTC helps accelerate the translation of important ideas into meaningful products and services for the benefit of North Carolina, the world, and the university. Pai hopes that the technology will be available in the near future to address global unmet medical needs and challenges.


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