Abstract: Electromagnetic waves have been employed in various settings for biological and medical applications. The interaction of electromagnetic fields with biological systems can be extremely beneficial and lead to novel medical applications. In the first part of this talk, I will discuss the use of millimeter-wave imaging technology for the delineation of skin tissues and early detection of skin cancer. Millimeter-wave imaging is a relatively established technology which is mainly employed in security screening and non-destructive testing systems. Despite the various advantages that this technology would potentially offer in biomedical contexts including high image contrasts, it has not been applied to any such application. The main reason is its limitation in providing sufficient resolutions for diagnostic purposes. Our group has offered a novel approach by which an ultra-wide imaging bandwidth that cannot be realized by any conventional design method is assembled synthetically. This improves image resolutions to values previously unattained. I will explain our results on exploiting this technique for the development of a skin imaging system aimed at detecting skin tumors in ex-vivo tissue measurements. Next, I will talk about our work on Doppler radar-based heart health monitoring systems. These systems are non-contact sensors that use electromagnetic waves to detect or monitor the biological signs of a subject. Valuable physiological and motion-related information can be obtained from these sensors. Although the technology has engaged the interests of many researchers over the past years, it is still unsuitable for monitoring outside laboratory settings where multiple users and object interferences are present in the environment. Our work is focused on developing a new generation of these systems that transcend the current limitations of this technology and pave the way for its entrance into the healthcare market. Finally, I will discuss our research on developing cardio-mechanical sensing platforms with high robustness and motion tolerance. There has been significant effort recently on the development of non-invasive wearable systems for heart health monitoring in research and commercial settings, in particular devices that monitor cardiac electrophysiology (ECG). However, in addition to electrical aspects, a perspective on the mechanical activities of the heart and blood vessels also needs to be gained for a comprehensive evaluation of cardiovascular health. Progress in the area of wearable cardio-mechanical sensing is currently hindered by the challenge of overcoming motion artifacts. Our research is focused on a holistic hardware/software solution to this problem by employing an array of inertial measurement units which are placed around the chest wall and record both the linear and rotational components of heart-induced chest vibrations. A model-based signal processing algorithm which takes advantage of the redundant information provided by the sensor array will then be applied to remove motion noise components from cardio-mechanical recordings in an embedded platform.
Biography: Negar Tavassolian received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, and McGill University, Montreal, Canada, in 2003 and 2006, respectively. She received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011, and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Masssachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA from 2011 to 2013. She has been an Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology since 2013 where she is the Director of the Bio-Electromagnetics Laboratory. Her main research interests are non-invasive diagnostic methods, bio and applied electromagnetics, and wearable sensors and mobile health. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2016, and is on the Technical Program Committee of IEEE MTT-10: Biological Effects and Medical Applications of RF and Microwaves.