Electrical engineering assistant professor selected as SPARC fellow


By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Aida Ebrahimi, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was recently awarded a Stimulating Partnerships among Researchers and Clinicians (SPARC) Clinical-Research Exchange Fellowship.

The SPARC fellowship pairs Penn State researchers with clinicians in order to “initiate and nurture interdisciplinary collaborations as a powerful way to address unmet medical needs while, simultaneously, expanding health sciences research at Penn State,” according to the program’s website.

Ebrahimi will collaborate with Dr. William Hazard, of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and the Department of Neurosurgery at Penn State College of Medicine.

The goal of their joint research venture is to develop a sensory platform that will allow for early detection of compartment syndrome, a condition that causes pressure to build in muscles to often dangerous levels; and ischemia, a related condition of restriction of blood supply to tissues. If left unchecked, compartment syndrome and ischemia can result in permanent muscle and nerve damage. Currently, accurate diagnosis of these conditions, especially early on, is difficult.

Ebrahimi and Hazard aim to create a multimodal point-of-care diagnostic system for on-time diagnosis of compartment syndrome and ischemia.

The researchers will conduct preliminary research remotely, followed by in-person collaboration, most likely in the fall semester.

“I am truly grateful for this exciting opportunity,” Ebrahimi said. “The SPARC fellowship will provide me with the time required to travel to Hershey to observe the surgical treatment of compartment syndrome. More specifically, by visiting the neurocritical care unit, I will get familiar with the existing technologies and their utilization which will help us in design consideration for our point-of-care diagnostics. In parallel, Dr. Hazard will visit my lab at University Park to get familiar with different processes involved in design and development of point of care sensors and the laboratory setups utilized for characterizing the sensors.”


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Megan Lakatos