As an I-CUREUS participant my role was in the capacity of research assistant, I worked under the supervision of Dr. Andy Adler from the department of Systems and Computer Engineering. This project was part of an Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) project with the Ottawa Hospital, General Campus. I designed a protocol for collecting real time lung images using an EIT device and saw through its Research Ethics Board (REB) application for the research.

Currently, anesthesiologists guide ventilator settings by relying primarily on blood oxygen measurements. Unfortunately, no monitoring tools are currently available which are able to predict lung desaturation and allow proactive adjustment of ventilator settings. We were specifically concerned with two patient groups that are difficult to ventilate adequately because of the challenging breathing physiology: 1m) robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery in the Trendelenburg (head down) position, and 2) obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Our research objective was to assess the feasibility of a novel ventilation monitoring tool (EIT) for the operating theatre, able to help optimize patient ventilation and robustly predict lung desaturation events.

As a Biomedical and Electrical Engineering student, it is important to understand technologies and their application in health care and research for improvement of life. I have gained experience with writing research protocols. I have become well versed in REB requirements and standards in research involving human participants. I have understood some methods of applications of technology for improving healthcare. This research gave me the opportunity to apply these skills in the workplace.

To future I-CUREUS students: “Have conversations with your professors and take advantages of the resources they have available for you.”

Cecilia Odonkor