Implantable Biomedical Microsystems: Permanent and Biodegradable Devices

Date: October 6, 2016, 4:00 pm
Location: 105 Annenberg
Speaker: Dr. Mark Allen, Alfred Fitler Moore Professor and Director, Singh Center for Nanotechnology, University of Pennsylvania

Implanted wireless sensors based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology can communicate information from within the body to guide medical treatment of disease. Two types of sensors will be discussed. First, a permanently-implantable, wireless silica MEMS sensor for measurement of pressure within blood vessels of the human body will be presented. These sensors, designed for chronic monitoring over the lifetime of the patient, detect the pressure within the excluded portion of endovascularly-repaired abdominal aortic aneurysms to monitor the status of the repair, as well as within the pulmonary artery to allow titration of medication for patients with congestive heart failure. The second type of sensor is fabricated entirely of biodegradable materials. Such biodegradable implants may be appropriate for acute medical applications such as bone or wound healing as they potentially eliminate the need for implant extraction when sensing is no longer required. Biodegradable materials are particularly challenging to process using conventional MEMS fabrication techniques because they are water-sensitive. Alternative MEMS fabrication approaches were combined with traditional techniques to fabricate biodegradable sensors, interconnects, and power supplies. Experimental results of both devices, including clinical implementation of the permanent sensors (which are now commercially available) and bench results from the newer biodegradable devices will be presented.

Mark Allen

Alfred Fitler Moore Professor and Director, Singh Center for Nanotechnology, University of Pennsylvania

Mark Allen Mark G. Allen received the B.A. degree in chemistry, the B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering, and the B.S.E. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, ultimately holding the rank of Regents’ Professor and the J.M. Pettit Professorship in Microelectronics, as well as a joint appointment in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In 2013 he left Georgia Tech to become the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Scientific Director of the Singh Nanotechnology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His research interests are in the development and the application of new micro- and nanofabrication technologies, as well as MEMS. Dr. Allen has held the posts of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, co-chair of the IEEE/ASME MEMS Conference, co-chair of the Power MEMS conference, and chair of the Solid State Sensors, Actuators, and Microsystems (‘Hilton Head’) Workshop. He is co-founder of multiple MEMS companies, including Cardiomems (which commercialized the first FDA-approved, wireless MEMS sensor for permanent endovascular implantation) and Axion Biosystems (which is commercializing electrogenic cellular interfaces). Professor Allen is a Fellow of the IEEE, and received the IEEE 2016 Daniel P. Noble Award for contributions to research and development, clinical translation, and commercialization of biomedical microsystems. More information about his group can be found at: