Georgia Tech researchers will develop more effective and personalized treatment approaches for chronic health conditions under a new grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The NIH is issuing $5.9 million in funding for a new national biomedical technology resource center (BTRC), called the mHealth Center for Discovery, Optimization & Translation of Temporally-Precise Interventions (mDOT). Georgia Tech, one of seven collaborators on the project, will receive $500,000, and mDOT will be headquartered at the MD2K Center of Excellence at The University of Memphis.
One of the biggest drivers of the nation’s rising healthcare spending is providing care for patients with chronic diseases, many of which are linked to daily behaviors such as dietary choices, sedentary behavior, stress, and addiction. The mDOT Center will be a new national technology resource for improving people’s health and wellness. It will conduct cutting-edge AI research to produce easily deployable wearables, apps for wearables and smartphones, and a companion cloud system. mDOT’s innovative technology will enable patients to initiate and sustain the healthy lifestyle choices necessary to prevent and/or successfully manage the growing burden of multiple chronic conditions.
Led by Jim Rehg, a Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech’s project will focus on analyzing streams of biomarker data to enable the development of more effective, personalized treatment approaches for chronic health conditions like smoking and physical activity. To achieve this, the team will develop machine learning methods that can discover important risk factors from sensor data and identify effective intervention targets.
“Consider developing an intervention to help people who are trying to quit smoking by providing personalized strategies for managing risk factors that are known to precipitate relapse,” Rehg said. “Researchers and practitioners would use our tools to analyze biomarker data and characterize the patterns that lead to relapse and identify potential intervention targets.”
The collaboration can then use the tools provided by the other teams to develop and tailor an effective personalized stress intervention and deliver it efficiently on a mobile device. Omer Inan, a faculty member in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will also collaborate with the team, leveraging work on novel non-invasive biosensors that detect cardiovascular changes in heart failure. Working alongside the mDOT team will enhance the ability to develop and deploy interventions based on his novel wearable sensors.
“Researchers and industry innovators can leverage mDOT’s technological resources to create the next generation of mHealth technology that is highly personalized to each user, transforming people’s health and wellness,” said Santosh Kumar, the lead investigator of mDOT, who is the director of MD2K Center of Excellence and Lillian & Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence Professor of Computer Science at the University of Memphis.
To ensure mDOT’s innovative technology can be used by scientists to solve real-world problems, mDOT will be working closely with over a dozen other federally-funded projects to engage in joint technology development, testing, and large-scale real-life deployment. To ensure that mDOT’s technological resources can fuel innovation in the health technology industry, the mDOT Center is establishing a new industry consortium to provide access to mDOT’s latest research and seek feedback to inform its ongoing research.
The mDOT Center will be administered by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
“The mDOT Center will be the first BTRC focused on developing innovative mHealth technologies. It is positioned to empower scientists to discover, personalize, and deliver temporally-precise mHealth interventions and treatments, ensuring that health and wellness tools are delivered at the right moment, via the right personal device, and is optimized to have the most influence,” said mDOT’s program officer Tiffani Lash, director of the NIBIB program inConnected Health.
The multidisciplinary mDOT team consists of leading researchers in artificial intelligence (AI), mobile computing, wearable sensors, privacy, and precision medicine from Harvard University, Georgia Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, The University of Memphis (lead), The University of California at Los Angeles, and The University of California at San Francisco.
About MD2K: The Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K), headquartered (in FedEx Institute of Technology) at The University of Memphis, was established in 2014 by a grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its Big-Data-To-Knowledge (BD2K) initiative. It has developed mobile sensor big data technologies to improve health and wellness. MD2K’s open-source software platforms for smartphones and the cloud are used across the nation to conduct scientific studies.