SXSW Interactive 2015: Our future selves, a maturing health tech industry and why failing is productive

SXSW Interactive has grown to include almost 50 events related to health and medical technologies. This year featured the Impact Pediatric Health pitch competition. More than 150 startup companies applied for the opportunity to pitch to a slate of venture capitalists, executives from four major children’s hospitals and ABC “Shark Tank” investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

The emerging genetic mosaic of lymphatic and vascular malformations

Our genes can mutate at any point in our lives. In rare cases, a mutation randomly occurs in a single cell of an embryo and gets carried forward only in the descendants of that particular cell, leaving its mark in some tissues, but not in others. This pattern of mutation, called somatic mosaicsm, can have complicated consequences down the road.

AudioHub app: Bringing hearing tests into the 21st century

For the past seven years, audiologists at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement have recorded hearing test results using an audiogram software application called Mi-Forms. The software was developed in 2007 to help with documentation.

Seizure-detecting wristwatch moves forward: Embrace

As Epilepsy Awareness month closes out and we embark upon the holiday season, we’re pleased to see an innovation initiated here at Boston Children’s Hospital move toward commercial development.

A portal for beating-heart surgery

Open-heart surgery offers clear and direct access to the heart, but it also requires stopping the heart, draining the blood, and putting the patient on an external heart and lung machine. Catheterization—insertion of a thin, flexible tube through the patient’s groin and up into the still-beating heart—is less invasive. But it’s not suitable for very complicated ...

Pitching pediatric innovation at SXSW Interactive

A major theme at Taking on Tomorrow 2014 was the difficulty in making the business case for innovation in pediatrics, since the market size is small relative to the adult market. Muna AbdulRaqqaq Tahlak, MD, CEO of Latifa Hospital in Dubai, was among many who urged innovators to collaborate and aggregate their data to make the most impact.

How does a techno-phobic nurse become a hacking aficionado?

Margaret McCabe, PhD, director for nursing research in the medicine patient services at Boston Children’s Hospital, is an unlikely hacker. A former techno-phobe and chronically fatigued mother of four, McCabe didn’t think she had time for another project. Some opportunities, however, are too good to resist.

Medical device panel outlines pathways to market

Physicians often dream of creating new devices to help their patients, but few are able to bring a device to market. At a panel discussion earlier this month at Boston Children’s Hospital, an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist and medical device industry experts offered advice for inventors who want to make their medical device a commercial reality. Here’s some of what they had to say.

Featured Researchers + Innovators

  • David G. Hunter, MD, MPH

    David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, dreamed of a career as a rock star. Instead, he became Boston Children’s Hospital’s ophthalmologist-in-chief and invented the Pediatric Vision Scanner.

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  • Visner Lab
    Kaifeng Liu, MD, a research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, takes his inspiration from ants. Liu has taken this inch-by-inch approach in a radical redesign of the conventional suturing needle: “I started to play with the surgical needle in graduate school in 1986.”
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  • Martha Murray, MD has been on a 30-year quest to devise a better way to treat anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

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  • William Pu

    With all of the recent buzz about precision medicine, it’s no wonder that William Pu, MD is gaining recognition for his innovative application of stem cell science and gene therapy to study Barth syndrome, a type of heart disease that severely weakens heart muscle. Pu’s research was recently recognized by the American Heart Association as one of the top ten cardiovascular disease research advances of 2014.

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  • Daniel S.  Kohane, MD, PhD

    He’s a big thinker focused on harnessing the hyper-small. Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, is a leading drug delivery and biomaterials researcher, leveraging nanoparticle technology and other new vehicles to make medications safer and more effective.

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  • Susan Faja, PhD

    Improbable as it sounds, autism researcher Susan Faja, PhD, likens her job to improv. “I really like Tina Fey’s description of her days as an improv comedian,” says Faja, who joined ...

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Featured Research Laboratories

  • Beggs Laboratory: Current studies are aimed at identification of new nemaline myopathy genes, understanding the basis for the variability observed, and determining how these mutations affect muscle function and lead to weakness.

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  • The Lencer Laboratory is located in the GI Cell and Developmental Biology Laboratories in the GI Division at Boston Children's Hospital.

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  • Sports Medicine Research Laboratory
    Led by principal investigator Dr. Martha M. Murray, focuses on sports medicine injuries, including those of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), knee meniscus and articular cartilage.

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  • Sankaran Laboratory
    Utilizing rare and common human genetic variation to improve our understanding of red blood cell production and globin gene regulation with application to numerous blood diseases.

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  • The Zon Laboratory focuses on the use of the zebrafish model for research into hematopoiesis and as a screen for oncogenic genes and proteins.

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  • The Gaab Laboratory
    Our multidisciplinary team of researchers brings together curious scientists from the basic and applied sciences, such as neuroscience, psychology, and education.
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