University of Pittsburgh

The Signal Processing Approach to Biomarkers: Dynamical Biomarkers and Recent Advances in Swallowing, Gait, Handwriting and Preference Detection Research

Assistant Professor
Friday, November 15, 2013 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm

A biomarker is defined as a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention. In recent years, there has been growing emphasis on the utility of molecular biomarkers, usually to identify molecules whose detection indicates a particular disease state. Although, molecular biomarkers are useful under certain conditions, complementary approaches to probe other characteristics of a living system may provide crucial information when molecular biomarkers are difficult to identify. In this talk, I will present my efforts to develop dynamical biomarkers that can characterize temporal and spatial signatures (i.e., the unique patterns of moment-to-moment changes of physiologic variables under normal or pathologic conditions) and their relationship to other variables. Specifically, I will elaborate my research endeavours to develop a dynamical biomarker indicative of swallowing difficulties. I will also outline my work in multidisciplinary investigations of gait, handwriting processes and preference detection along with a description of my contributions to signal processing.
Building on my contributions to signal processing and biomedical engineering, I will then discuss my future research efforts centered on innovative computational approaches and instrumentation that will quantitatively predict the dynamical interactions between cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and autonomic control systems and their effects on functional outcomes such as gait, handwriting and swallowing. In particular, the goal of this program is to study age- and disease-related changes in vascular systems interactions and their contributions to functional declines under normal and pathological conditions. This will help us provide useful surrogates of the status of the system and such information can ultimately be used to develop and test interventions that help prevent, retard or reverse diseases.

Dr. Ervin Sejdic received B.E.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada in 2002 and 2008, respectively. From 2008 to 2010, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto with a cross-appointment at Bloorview Kids Rehab, Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation teaching hospital. From 2010 until 2011, he was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School with a cross-appointment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. From his earliest exposure to research, he has been eager to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge through carefully executed experiments and ground-breaking published work. This has resulted in co-authoring over 50 publications in the last 5 years. Dr. Sejdic’s passion for discovery and innovation drives his constant endeavours to connect advances in engineering to society’s most challenging problems. Hence, his research interests include biomedical signal processing, vascular aging, gait analysis, swallowing difficulties, advanced information systems in medicine, rehabilitation engineering, assistive technologies and anticipatory medical devices.

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