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Sunday: ‘New Technologies in Health and Security’

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 09:02

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Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

University President Anthony Monaco delivered an introductory speech to a crowded Cabot Auditorium at the EPIIC Symposium Friday night.

 

The EPIIC Symposium concluded Sunday afternoon with its final panel, titled “New Technologies at the Juncture of Health and Security.”

Senior David Meyers served as the moderator of the panel, which brought Ira Herman, professor and director of the Tufts Center for Innovations in Wound Healing, to discuss how he and his colleagues are especially focused on producing advanced therapies for chronically open, non-healing wounds, using bioactive peptides developed at Tufts.

“We have come a long way,” he said. “We have taken advantage of this basic knowledge base…[to] create advanced therapies for both civilian and combat use.”  

  Professor of Chemistry David Walt, the director of the Walt Laboratory at Tufts, spoke next on how the technologies used to complete the Human Genome Project have sustained further advancement since the project’s completion in 2004.  

“Science advances by enabling tools,” Walt said. “By developing these tools you have the ability to push science forward. What we have seen is a huge, exponential rise in the amount of genomes available today.” 

Walt said his lab’s work on proteins would help detect residual cancer tumors that cannot be detected using today’s methods.

Livio Valenti, an Empedocle Maffia Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, discussed how problems managing vaccine temperatures during transportation is one of the main reasons why many children in developing countries do not have access to these vaccines. Stabilizing vaccines using silk can actually remove the need of refrigeration, he explained.  

“We need to try to understand what the real needs are,” Valenti said. “If that one solution can work for one person, we can scale it up.” 

Gillian Javetski and Nnenna Okoye, who work for Dimagi, a software consultancy company working to incorporate technology into the health sector, gave the last presentation of the day. Speaking about the utility of mobile platforms, the two presenters described how Dimagi’s mobile platform, CommCare, increases respect for community health workers and client satisfaction. 

“As a community health worker, I can actually track where my clients are,” Javetski said. “I can also register my clients and track their cases.”

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