Shruthi Suresh: Innovation for Clinical Translation Fellow

Shruthi Suresh: Innovation for Clinical Translation Fellow

– We’re studying autonomic dysfunction in people with spinal cord injuries and what that means is
that your sympathetic or your fight or flight response goes into hyper drive
and your body is unable to necessarily cope with it. Our system uses simple
sensors, which are commercially available and they are
entirely non-invasive, in order to predict or detect
when a person is becoming symptomatic and then let’s
them know that, hey, you’re starting to get symptomatic
and it’s time that you do a couple of management techniques. So, this could be as simple
as adjusting the position of their chair. Through the ICT Fellowship,
we’ve established really good contacts with people at the
Rehab Hospital of Indiana, as well as IU School of Medicine. And, they’ve been crucial
in helping us understand how these different censors can
detect autonomic dysreflexia and how it can apply to
translate our work in the lab into a clinical setting. And, what we’ve established
through this is there is a need for such a device in the
clinic and there is definitely a need for this device in the community. So, through my collaboration
with the mentors at Purdue, I get a very technical base. I get a good understanding
of the technique which needs to be applied to the
engineering practices, which really need to go
into developing this system. And, through my interactions
with my mentors and the clinic, I actually understand how this would apply in a clinical perspective. And, sometimes there is a big
difference between the two, where the expectations of one
is different from the other. So, I think having that bridge
of sorts between the two areas, is extremely crucial
for developing a good system. Especially one, that could
potentially serve as a clinical tool in the future. – This is a great
opportunity, especially for a student like Shruthi, who
definitely has the engineering background, but really
wants to apply her research to the real world, to
solving healthcare problems. And, with the fellowship,
she could then work with clinicians to see its
impact, and validate and test it in the patient population. – So, the opportunity
to work with patients is actually an amazing thing
because when you develop a product, you never think
about what it’s like in the hands of a user. So, when a patient actually
gets to try it out and it helps in both research and getting
feedback on how the technology could be improved. I think that is a major advantage
of working with patients directly, and also allows
for a good understanding of not just the technical
know-how, but, also from a human point of view. How does your research
impact the general public, how does it affect people who
actually need this the most. (soft music)

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