Research Areas

Diabetes and Obesity Management

The high prevalence of diabetes along with the poor health outcomes and the escalated costs of treatment and care pose the need to focus on prevention, early detection and improved management of the disease. Moreover, obesity, one of the greatest health challenges developed countries are facing, is strongly associated with the onset of serious and mortality related diseases such as diabetes, while its root causes are genetic predisposal and combination of lifestyle factors. Our research activities in the field of diabetes and obesity management are mainly focused on the following areas.

Cardiovascular Diseases

It is well established that carotid atherosclerotic plaques highly predispose to cerebral ischemic events, with the majority of stroke events being provoked due to the disease. As early and valid discrimination between vulnerable and stable carotid plaques is critical for optimal management of carotid atherosclerosis, our research heads towards novel noninvasive and low-cost markers for predicting strokes in asymptomatic patients using ultrasound-image-based features. In this context, echogenicity, texture and motion characteristics are combined to assist clinical decision towards improved prediction, assessment and management of cardiovascular risk. Our research in this field focuses on establishing novel markers for reliable early-detection and risk-stratification of carotid atherosclerosis based on ultrasound image analysis and can be summarized as follows.

Mobile Health

Implantable medical devices are a growing technology with a high potential for improving patient’s life and the quality of healthcare. Radiofrequency technology for implantable medical devices promises many benefits for both patients and caregivers. Our research in this field aims at the development of novel antennas to be implanted inside the human body as part of implantable biomedical devices used for wireless telemetry (intra-cranial pressure sensors, orthopedic implants, cochlear implants e.t.c.) and the establishment of a reliable communication link with external control/monitoring devices. Our work is supported by a grant on “Implantable and ingestible medical devices (IIMDs): optimal-performance-oriented design and evaluation methodology, DEM-II-MED” within the framework of the Program EXCELLENCE, and can be summarized as follows.

Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience

The considerable and rising economic burden of neurological, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, mainly due to an absence of effective treatments along with an increasingly elderly population, poses an urgent need for innovative treatments to prevent, delay onset, or alleviate symptoms of these diseases. The use of electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been proven to provide striking benefits for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia who have failed conventional therapies. Moreover, promising applications of DBS for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders have emerged, including treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, major depressive disorder, drug addiction and anorexia nervosa. Visual neural prostheses represent an approach to restore vision in blind people by direct stimulation of the visual pathway. To date, the most advanced prosthesis intervention is retinal prosthesis. A new generation of cortical visual prostheses is currently undergoing accelerated development. We focus our research on therapeutic interventions involving neural stimulation (Deep Brain Stimulation-DBS, visual prosthesis) to treat neurodegenerative diseases and aim at the optimization of the therapeutic outcome based on modeling the pathological state neuronal activity and the effect of stimulation on tissues. Our research work includes:

Smart Health Systems

We aim at the design and development of smart tools/systems, which incorporate sensing, computing and communication technologies, software/hardware modeling and system architectures towards personalized, pervasive, participatory, predictive and preventive healthcare. Our research work in the field has resulted in several products.