News: Livsvetenskaper och teknik related to Chalmers University of TechnologyThu, 24 Sep 2020 14:52:09 +0200 disease patients benefit from vegetarian diet<p><b>​Four weeks of vegetarian diet resulted in positive effects in patients with coronary artery disease, according to a study from Örebro University Hospital in collaboration with Chalmers and other partners.“The study showed positive effects on risk factors of cardiovascular disease, especially on blood lipids and oxidation of blood lipids. The latter is an important suggestive mechanism of arteriosclerosis,” says Rikard Landberg, Professor of Food Science at Chalmers University of Technology.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P"><span><span></span></span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p>The study, recently ​published in Journal of the American Heart Association (link), is a so-called cross-over study and included 31 patients who had experienced a myocardial infarction. For three months, participants were prescribed either a ​lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, i.e. a vegetarian diet that also contains eggs and dairy products, or a diet rich in meat. Thereafter, all participants switched to their habitual diet for four weeks, followed by four weeks with the diet they had not previously had.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Lower levels of LDL cholesterol reduce risk of new heart attack​</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>After four weeks of a vegetarian diet, participants showed lower levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol, compared with participants who ate a diet rich in meat.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“The oxidised LDL cholesterol affects the development of blood clots in the coronary arteries of the heart. Lower levels reduce the risk of participants suffering from a new heart attack,” says Demir Djekic, researcher and MD at Örebro University Hospital, who is also the first author of the study.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>The participants also showed a decrease in the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and a slight weight loss.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“Today we know very little about how to provide an optimal diet to prevent risk factors for cardiovascular disease in individuals who have already had a heart attack. The effects in the study were surprisingly clear and the effect of the diet was good, even though we did not ask them to eat very much vegetarian food and they were prescribed ready-made food, which is quite processed,” says Rikard Landberg.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Chalmers responsible for diet design and data analysis​</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>All participants were prescribed a specially designed diet delivered as ready meals, adapted to the individual calorie needs. Before and after each four-week period of an adapted diet, blood and stool samples were taken from the participants for analysis of risk markers for coronary heart disease, a wide range of molecules in the blood and the gut microbiota. The diet was designed by researchers in the Division of Food and Nutrition Science at the Department of Biology and Biotechnological Engineering at Chalmers. They were also responsible for the data analysis of the blood samples.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“This is an example of interdisciplinary research at its best, as we combine specific cutting-edge knowledge in nutrition, microbiology, data analysis and medicine. It was extremely stimulating and very enriching. We have all learned a lot,” says Rikard Landberg.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Lifestyle important part of treatment after a heart attack​</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Demir Djekic agrees and believes that the study shows that lifestyle is a very important part of the treatment after a heart attack, even though the number of participants in the study is relatively small.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“Changing the diet of this patient group is of great importance. We need to find methods and the right tools to help us improve lifestyle choices,” says Demir Djekic.</p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Microbiota effected effects of v​egetarian diet</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The study also showed that, on the risk factors examined, the microbiota of the participants effected the vegetarian diet.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“From our perspective, this is perhaps the most interesting finding and opens up new exciting opportunities for personalised diet, where the individual gets the right diet for optimal effect,” says Rikard Landberg.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Text: </strong></span><span style="background-color:initial">Susanne Nilsson Lindh, Chalmers and Elin Abelson, Örebro University Hospital<br /></span><strong style="background-color:initial">Photo:</strong><span style="background-color:initial"> Pixabay</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <div> <span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Read the study in</strong> <span style="font-style:italic;font-weight:700">Journal of American Heart Association:</span></span></div> <div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" style="font-weight:600" /><span style="background-color:initial">​<a href="">Effects of a Vegetarian Diet on Cardiometabolic RiskFactors, Gut Microbiota, and Plasma Metabolome in Subjects With Ischemic HeartDisease: A Randomized, Crossover Study​</a></span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div>Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:00:00 +0200 research lab for cancer treatment and new diagnostics<p><b>​A new medical technology research lab will be built at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, starting this fall. The lab is a major investment in clinical research, and a collaboration between the hospital, Chalmers, Sahlgrenska Academy and Region Västra Götaland.</b></p><div>​<span></span><span style="background-color:initial">New methods for diagnosis and treatment – and in the long run better healthcare – will be results of the new lab, which is expected to be completed in May 2021. The lab will house research equipment with microwaves and biomagnetic sensor technologies. Microwave research will initially focus on new treatment methods for head, throat and neck cancer, as well as non-invasive diagnosis of bleeding in brain and muscles, and breast cancer. For the biomagnetic sensors, functional studies of the brain are planned, with magnetoencephalography for patients suffering from diseases like epilepsy and dementia, and studies of heart rhythm disturbances with magnetocardiography.</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span></span>&quot;Define needs and develop solutions&quot;</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div>The new lab will provide improved opportunities for researchers from clinics, academia and industry in the west of Sweden to collaborate and conduct research projects with the patient in focus.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Chalmers gives high priority to strengthening the collaboration between the areas of medicine and technology, and the new lab is one more piece in this puzzle. When engineers and clinicians spend time in the same environment, and are really given the opportunity to interact, they are able to together define needs and develop solutions”, says Stefan Bengtsson, President at Chalmers University of Technology.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Stefan-Bengtsson_200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><div>The research lab will be run by MedTech West, a biomedical technology research platform that has also been in charge of planning. MedTech West is owned by Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Chalmers, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland and the University of Borås. Chalmers has also deepened collaboration with the other parties through newly launched Health Engineering Area of Advance, where close dialogue is conducted to develop new forms of collaboration in both research and education.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Unique environment</h2></div> <div> </div> <div>Investments in the lab are made together with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, and it is strategically very important for western Sweden. The lab will contain an electrically and magnetically shielded examination and treatment room, where research will be conducted. This room is the first of its kind outside Swedish capital Stockholm, and the unique setting creates long-term conditions for the development of research areas that require an environment close to patients. Collaboration between different cutting-edge competencies is also a cornerstone of the lab.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Ann-Marie-Wennberg_200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">“This is an important step in the right direction. Together, we drive healthcare forward through research in collaboration with other strong players”, Ann-Marie Wennberg, CEO and Professor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, comments.</span><br /></div> <div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Broad applications</h2></div> <div> </div> <div>The innovative medical technology tools planned to already be in place in the coming six months may be of great use in many areas. Examples include neuroscience, oncology, trauma, cardiology and psychiatry.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The lab’s technologies, and state-of-the-art expertise from Chalmers and collaborating companies, will give our researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy excellent opportunities to lead their research in new directions. The lab will be a completely new arena where we can develop our important collaboration with prominent researchers at Chalmers, says Agneta Holmäng, Dean at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.<br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Facts about the new research lab</strong><br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The new research collaboration lab will be a total of 36 square meters in size, and consists of a magnetically shielded examination and treatment room, a so-called MSR (Magnetically Shielded Room). Magnetic shielding from the outside world is required for the superconducting biomagnetic sensors used in MEG (magnetoencephalography) and MCG (magnetocardiography) to successfully capture the very weak magnetic fields emitted by the brain and heart. Previously, there is only one MSR used for medical research in Sweden, located at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The room will also be electrically shielded, which is required for microwave research.<br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The inauguration is expected to take place in May 2021. The research lab will be located in the Radiology Department’s premises on entrance level, in the new Image and Intervention Centre (BoIC), Blå Stråket 5, at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.</div> <div> </div> <div>MedTech West is a collaborative research platform, with the task of strengthening medical technology research in western Sweden. The research platform was founded in 2009 by Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region Västra Götaland, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås.<br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Mia Malmstedt, Helene Lindström</div> <div> </div> <div>Photo of Stefan Bengtsson: Johan Bodell. Photo of Ann-Marie Wennberg: Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Photo of Andreas Fhager, and of Paul Meaney and Samar Hosseinzadegan: Henrik Sandsjö.</div> <div> </div> <div>​<br /></div> <div> </div>Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0200 of Advance Award for wireless centre collaboration<p><b>​Collaboration is the key to success. Jan Grahn and Erik Ström, who have merged two Chalmers competence centres, GigaHertz and ChaseOn, to form a consortium with 26 parties, know this for sure. Now they receive the Areas of Advance Award 2020 for their efforts.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">A competence centre is a platform for knowledge exchange and joint projects. Here, academia and external parties gather to create new knowledge and innovation. The projects are driven by need, and can be initiated from industry – who have a problem to solve – or from the research community, as new research results have generated solutions that may be applied in industry.</span><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Stronger as one unit</h2> <div>The competence centre GigaHertz focuses on electronics for high frequencies, while ChaseOn focuses on antenna systems and signal processing. They overlap in microwave technology research, which is relevant for communication and health care, as well as defense and space industry. And even if some areas differ between the two centres, numerous points of contact have been developed over the years. The two directors – Jan Grahn, Professor at Microtechnology and Nanoscience, and Erik Ström, Professor at Electrical Engineering – saw that close collaboration would result in obvious advantages. In 2017, the two centres therefore formed a joint consortium, bringing together a large number of national and international companies.</div> <div>“Formally, we are still two centres, but we have a joint agreement that makes it easy to work together”, says Erik Ström.</div> <div>“For Chalmers, it is a great strength that we are now able to see the whole picture, beyond departmental boundaries and research groups, and create a broad collaboration with the companies. This is an excellent example of how Chalmers can gather strength as one unit”, says Jan Grahn.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Multiplicity of applications</h2> <div>Technology for heat treatment of cancer, detection of foreign objects in baby food, antenna systems for increased traffic safety, components to improve Google’s quantum computer, 5G technology and amplifiers for the world’s largest radio telescope… The list of things that have sprung from the two competence centres is long. The technical development has, of course, been extreme; in 2007, as GigaHertz and ChaseOn were launched in their current forms, the Iphone hit the market for the very first time. Technology that today is seen as a natural part of everyday life – such as mobile broadband, now almost a necessity alongside electricity and water for most of us – was difficult to access or, at least, not to be taken for granted.</div> <div>The companies have also changed, which is noticeable in the flora of partners, not least for GigaHertz.</div> <div>“In the early 2000s, when our predecessor CHACH centre existed, the collaboration with Ericsson was dominant. Today, we collaborate with a much greater diversity of companies. We have seen an entrepreneurial revolution with many small companies, and even though the technology is basically the same, we are now dealing with a multiplicity of applications”, says Jan Grahn.</div> <div>As technology and applications developed and changed, the points of contact between the two centres grew, and this is also what initiated the merger:</div> <div>“When we started, in 2007, we were competing centres. The centres developed completely independently of each other, but have now grown into one. The technical convergence could not be ignored, we simply needed to start talking to each other across competence boundaries – which in the beginning was not so easy, even though today we view this as the obvious way forward”, says Erik Ström.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Research to benefit society</h2> <div>The knowledge centres are open organisations, where new partners join and collaborations may also come to an end. Several companies are sometimes involved together in one project. Trust and confidence are important components and take time to build. One ground-rule for activities is the focus on making research useful in society in the not too distant future.</div> <div>Chalmers Information and Communication Technology Area of Advance can take some of the credit for the successful collaboration between GigaHertz and ChaseOn, according to the awardees.</div> <div>“Contacts between centres were initiated when I was Director of the Area of Advance”, says Jan Grahn.</div> <div>“The Areas of Advance show that we can collaborate across departmental boundaries, they point to opportunities that exist when you work together.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">They believe in a bright future</h2> <div>The competence centres are partly financed by Vinnova, who has been nothing but positive about the merger of the two. Coordination means more research for the money; partly through synergy effects and partly by saving on costs in management and administration.</div> <div>The financed period for both GigaHertz and ChaseOn expires next year. But the two professors are positive, and above all point to the strong support from industry.</div> <div>“Then, of course, we need a governmental financier, or else we must revise the way we work. I hope that Vinnova gives us the opportunity to continue”, says Erik Ström.</div> <div>“The industry definitely wants a continuation. But they cannot, and should not, pay for everything. If they were to do so, we would get a completely different type of collaboration. The strength lies in sharing risks in the research activities by everyone contributing funds and, first and foremost, competence”, says Jan Grahn.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">“Incredibly fun”</h2> <div>Through their way of working, Erik Ström and Jan Grahn have succeeded in renewing and developing collaborations both within and outside Chalmers, attracting new companies and strengthening the position of Gothenburg as an international node for microwave technology. And it is in recognition of their dynamic and holistic leadership, that they now receive the Areas of Advance Award.</div> <div>“This is incredibly fun, and a credit for the entire centre operation, not just for us”, says Erik Ström.</div> <div>“Being a centre director is not always a bed of roses. Getting this award is a fantastic recognition, and we feel great hope for the future”, concludes Jan Grahn.<br /><br /><div><em>Text: Mia Malmstedt</em></div> <div><em>Photo: Yen Strandqvist</em></div> <br /></div> <div><strong>The Areas of Advance Award</strong></div> <div>With the Areas of Advance Award, Chalmers looks to reward employees who have made outstanding contributions in cross-border collaborations, and who, in the spirit of the Areas of Advance, integrate research, education and utilisation. The collaborations aim to strengthen Chalmers’ ability to meet the major global challenges for a sustainable development.<br /><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/centres/ghz/Pages/default.aspx">Read more about GigaHertz centre</a></div> <div><a href="/en/centres/chaseon/Pages/default.aspx">Read more about ChaseOn centre​</a></div> <div>​<br />Areas of Advance Award 2019: <a href="/en/news/Pages/Areas-of-Advance-Award-given-to-research-exploring-the-structure-of-proteins.aspx">Areas of Advance Award for exploring the structure of proteins​</a></div> Thu, 10 Sep 2020 08:00:00 +0200 Chalmers method sheds light on DNA-repair<p><b>​DNA-breaks can cause great damage to cells, which in turn can lead to cell death or diseases such as cancer. Using a novel method, researchers from Chalmers have now identified a new potential role for the protein CtIP, which is an important component in the process of repairing DNA-breaks in human cells.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>“CtIP has several functions in the repair of DNA-breaks. The new potential role that we have identified is important for understanding how our cells repair damages to the DNA. Better understanding of the DNA repair process can increase the understanding of how and why we suffer from certain diseases,” says <strong>Fredrik Westerlund</strong>, Professor of Chemical Biology.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/ChemBio/FredrikWesterlund_340x400.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="width:300px;height:353px" /></span></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span></span></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">​Damage to DNA occurs in all kinds of organisms, from bacteria to humans. If so-called double-strand breaks, where the two DNA strands have been torn apart, are not repaired correctly, there is a great risk of mutations in the genome. This can lead to cell death or the initiation of various diseases, such as cancer.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Therefore, all cells have developed different systems for repairing double stand breaks. Knowledge on how these systems work, and why the repair sometimes is incorrect, can provide increased knowledge on different diseases, and can further be used to develop new drugs.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">CtIP important in the DNA-repair</h2> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Previous research studies have shown that the protein complex MRN is an important component in the repair of double-strand breaks. It is also known that the protein CtIP, which is a cofactor of MRN, is important for several of the later stages in the repair process.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“Our recent study shows that CtIP is also involved in the first steps of the DNA-repair, where the free ends of the DNA-molecule are connected,” says Robin Öz, PhD-student at the Division of Chemical Biology and first author of the study, which was <a href="">recently published in PNAS</a>.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​Free DNA-ends can be studied with new method </h2> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The study was made possible by a new method developed in Fredrik Westerlund's research group at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. The method, which is based on nanofluidics, enables the researchers to study individual DNA molecules using fluorescence microscopy. Freely suspended in solution, the DNA-molecules coils and form structures similar to balls of yarn. However, in the nanochannels, which are thin glass tubes, the long molecules are forced to stretch. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“In most methods for studying single DNA-molecules the DNA is usually tethered at the ends. This means that proteins cannot bind there. Since we can study the free DNA-ends with our method, we can also study different processes that take place at the ends, for example when different proteins are added. This is unique and has allowed us to characterise this specific function of CtIP,” says Robin Öz.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Repair mechanisms important to understanding diseases</h2> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The project is a collaboration with Professor Petr Cejka at IRB in Bellinzona, Switzerland, a biochemist with expertise in DNA-damage repair. He has access to several cleverly designed variants of CtIP that have enabled the Chalmers’ researchers to determine which parts of the protein that are important for connecting the DNA ends. The protein looks very much like a dumbbell, where the two ends of the &quot;dumbbell&quot; allow two different strands of DNA to be held close together.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“Understanding the role of CtIP is a small step towards completely understanding DNA-repair. Knowledge on the repair mechanisms is important to, in the long run, be able to determine why certain diseases occur, such as several different types of cancer. Studies have shown, for example, that CtIP is almost non-existent in tumour cells in certain aggressive forms of breast cancer,” says Fredrik Westerlund.</p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Next step​: Study MRN-involvement</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The next step is to study whether, and how, CtIP interacts with MRN to hold DNA-ends together. It is known that CtIP helps MRN in several other stages of the DNA-repair, but no one has yet studied how they interact in this initial stage.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The study is part of Robin Öz's doctoral thesis, which will be defended on 20 November 2020 and is also the first study related to the ERC Consolidator Grant that Fredrik Westerlund received in 2019 for the project &quot;Next generation nanofluidics for single molecule analysis of DNA-repair Dynamics&quot;. </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text: </strong>Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br /><strong style="background-color:initial">Photo:</strong><span style="background-color:initial"> Marti</span><span style="background-color:initial">na Butorac and</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">Johan Bodell </span></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="font-weight:700"><br /></span></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="font-weight:700">Read the study in PNAS:</span></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><a href="">Phosphorylated CtIP bridges DNA to promote annealing of broken ends​</a> </p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="font-weight:700">Read more about Fredrik Westerlund's research: </span></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/ERC-grant-for-next-generation-DNA-repair-analysis.aspx">ERC-grant for next generation DNA-repair analysis</a> </p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/His-methods-can-lead-to-better-cancer-treatment.aspx">His methods can lead to better cancer treatment​</a></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> ​Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200 for interdisciplinary master thesis projects<p><b>Chalmers, the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital will this October arrange their first joint thesis projects fair. The aim is to stimulate new collaborations and visions across boundaries. Last day for researchers to register projects is September 30.</b></p><div><div>On October 14, the first joint thesis project fair in the area of health is held. Chalmers Health Engineering Area of Advance, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the University of Gothenburg – Sahlgrenska Academy, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Education – will together outline a fair that will then reoccur twice every year. The fair is mainly targeted at master’s students, but students at both bachelor and master level at Sahlgrenska Academy are eligible. <br /><br /></div> <div>The aim of the fair is to offer students at Chalmers and the mentioned parts of GU an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary projects while writing their final thesis in the area of health and healthcare. For researchers, this is an opportunity to reach a wider audience of students to advertise project ideas. For students, the fair offers a unique possibility to work side-by-side with students with different competences, in projects that will be co-supervised by PI:s with both clinical and engineering background.</div> <br /></div> <div><div>”We also want to create new interdisciplinary contacts, and strengthen the regional network of researchers addressing challenges related to health, by presenting new research ideas and existing research challenges at a joint event”, says Ann-Sofie Cans, Director of Chalmers Health Engineering, and adds that researchers from all organisations are expected to participate.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Starting with a digital fair</h2></div> <div>The fair this autumn will be digital, but the plan is to arrange a face-to-face event, with opportunity to mingle, as soon as circumstances allow. The event will then be developed and held each autumn at Chalmers, and at Campus Medicinareberget every spring.</div> <div>”This year, we focus on internal and cross-organisational projects in the area of health. Long-term, we plan to also expand the fair together with Sahlgrenska Science Park, to also include companies”, says Ann-Sofie Cans.<br /><br /></div> <div>More information about the event will be posted on <a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/calendar/Pages/Master-thesis-project-fair.aspx">the event page here</a> shortly. You may also register right away, and will then receive upcoming information through email. Please observe you need to use the right link below to receive the information you need, as well as the link to the event.<br /><br /></div> <div><a href="">Researchers register here</a>. Last day to register as a researcher is September 30.</div> <div><a href="">Students register here</a>. Please note that at Chalmers only final thesis projects (examensarbeten) are considered. Students may register up to October 14, but note that you need to register in order to get a link to the fair.</div> <div><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photos: Johan Bodell</div> <div><br /></div>Wed, 02 Sep 2020 17:00:00 +0200 kick-off for Health Engineering<p><b>​Covid-19, interactivity and input from Sahlgrenska hospital, Gothenburg University and Region Västra Götaland. This, and much more, was on the agenda at Health Engineering’s kick-off event.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">In late August Health Engineering Area of Advance arranged a kick-off event, that moved from face-to-face to digital platform, and from spring to autumn, due to the pandemic.<br /></span><span style="background-color:initial"><br />Many participants had registered for the kick-off. The event was primarily focused on Chalmers researchers, but interest from other organisations was noticeable. </span><a href="">Watch the event here!​</a><br /><span style="background-color:initial"><br />A</span><span style="background-color:initial">nn-Marie Wennberg, CEO and Professor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, opened the event and talked about how collaboration is the way forward. Ann-Sofie Cans, Director at Health Engineering, described the Area of Advance and coming activities, before giving the floor to the profile leaders who introduced the five profiles. Three Covid-related research projects were presented, and a panel with representatives from the hospital, the University of Gothenburg and the region discussed future collaborations.<br /></span><span style="background-color:initial"><br />In connection to the event, some questions were posted from the audience. We have gathered all the questions, and answers, below.</span><div><br /><div><strong>Q: Does the AoA already have, or planning start, any collaboration specializing in trauma and health care data analyses using linked data?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: This is an interesting question and definitely relevant, but to answer your question in a satisfying and correct way we would like you to get in touch with us to discuss further.</em></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: Are there any possible support and funding opportunities for pilot projects, or other means?</strong><br /><span style="background-color:initial"><br /><em>A: As explained during the kick-off event we will soon release more information about how our Area of Advance can provide financial support for different types of initiatives, including but not limited to support for organization of workshops and other match-making events, center application coordination and seed projects. A close interaction with the Area of Advance management is preferred when a researcher or a group of researchers has a suggestion for an activity, a project or similar.</em></span></div> <div><br /><strong>Q: Is nuclear chemistry of relevance for your goals?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: Why not, we are an inclusive Area of Advance who see positively on all initiatives addressing challenges related to health and engineering. Please contact us for a deeper discussion of where this fits the best.</em></div> <div><br /><strong>Q: I would be interesting to know how to join the center and how to collaborate on projects.</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: First, we should clarify that Health Engineering is an Area of Advance, not a center. As an Area of Advance, we aim to engage all researchers active in addressing challenges related to health and well-being. We hope that you will actively participate in match-making events relevant to your research, but also that you propose activities that are in line with your interests and that you feel would strengthen our activities. Please contact anyone in the management team or any of the profile leaders. Also, make sure that you get our newsletter to see what we are planning ahead.</em><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: Is the urban environment is included in Health Engineering Area of Advance, and if so, how?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: Yes, this is included in our profile area Systems and built environments for health and care.</em></div> <div><br /><strong>Q: Research areas that is &quot;mentioned&quot; in one of the profile areas, have a risk of being neglected since the other (more dominant) research areas may dominate the discussions. How will you ensure that the profile areas are transparent and inclusive?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: This is a good point! Our approach is to have an open environment, with open invitations where researchers that feel connected to a certain profile (or several) can actively participate, and make their voices heard. It is a delicate balance between building on what is already strong, and supporting upcoming areas and initiatives, but long-term we definitively aim at doing both.</em><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: How can Health Engineering contribute to fighting pandemics in the future?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: We think the Health Engineering Area of Advance and Chalmers researchers can contribute on so many levels, both when it comes to modeling, helping understand the biophysics of new viruses, helping society and healthcare with the planning and processes around being better prepared, helping us all to prevent illness and injuries, and in many other ways. We hope you will join us in finding more ways; come join and help make it happen.</em><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: How does one make best use of recent modelling results, like Power Laws in Superspreading Events: Evidence from Coronavirus Outbreaks and Implications for SIR Models, Masao Fukui, Chishio Furukawa, ( and Impact of Superspreaders on dissemination and mitigation of COVID-19 Kim Sneppen, Robert J. Taylor, Lone Simonsen, (</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: Thanks for the references. We will definitely take a good look at them to see how we could possibly use them in our work. The literature on Covid-19 modeling is already vast and there is a plethora of modeling ideas that show promise. They are in line with existing evidence from the Mers and Sars outbreaks that we have discussed with the infectious disease doctors. They also seem to be in line with their hypotheses that the likelihood of health care mediated super-spreading events might be one factor that can help explain differences between the outbreaks in Italy and Sweden/Region Västra Götaland. On the other hand, super-spreading is not likely to be the single additional modeling assumption to &quot;rule them all&quot;; thus we also investigate how to use many different and rich data sources which Region Västra Götaland/Sahlgrenska University Hospital has access to but which is typically not publicly available. But yes, super-spreaders is one of many interesting modeling approaches.</em></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: Generating connections between Chalmers' researchers and health care professionals: If one has a project idea (e.g. within AI), how does one find a suitable counterpart or collaborator at (for example) the hospital?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: The best way is to actively participate in our upcoming match-making events. Please see the homepage for events that could fit. If your interest is within AI, please join </em><a href="/en/centres/chair/events/Pages/CHAIR-SU-Matchmaking.aspx"><em>the match-making event </em></a><em>September 23, 09.00-11.30.</em><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: I am a postdoc at Biology and Biological Engineering, and I would like to know how I can be more actively involved in activities of this AoA. </strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: We are happy about your interest. Please join the match-making events that we have planned. Also, please feel free to express your interest to the most relevant profile leader or to anyone in the management team. And make sure that you receive our newsletter to see what we are planning!</em><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Q: I am interested in how you will address questions indirectly aiming at good health within our population; such as design of tailor-made health-promoting food products. The latter could be an important tool e.g. in personalized nutrition as the product could be exactly made based on specific nutrition needs of the consumer using for example 3D-printing technology. Overall, it is unclear to me how/if production of health promoting food products can have a role in this AoA.</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>A: This is definitively relevant! It sounds that this fits best under the profile area of prevention, lifestyle and ergonomics. Please join upcoming events and feel free to approach any of us to discuss further.</em></div></div> <div><br /></div>Mon, 31 Aug 2020 00:00:00 +0200 predict the need for care for covid-19 patients<p><b>​Healthcare has a great interest in being able to plan the need for care for patients with covid-19. Two projects at the Department of Mathematical Sciences use different mathematical models and different input data to help with this.</b></p><h2>​How large is the need for care over time?</h2> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Philip Gerlee" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/philipgerlee200x250.jpg" style="margin:5px" />Through various contacts Philip Gerlee, Associate Professor in Biomathematics, was contacted by the Logistics Group at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in the end of March. They asked if he could help with predictions about whether the expected care need for covid-19 patients would increase or decrease over time, when the peak would come and when the number of cases would subside. Philip brought his colleague, Professor Torbjörn Lundh, and together with the logisticians Ingrid Fritzell and Julia Karlsson at Sahlgrenska, they sketched on a model which could answer when the peak would come and how high it would be.</p> <p>– At first, the model was simple. With data from Wuhan and Lombardy, we assumed that 0.2 percent of the population would be admitted to in-patient care. The question was, when? We assumed a normal distribution, but realised that this model perhaps was too rough. In parallel, we also used an infection model (SIR). The prognoses then became somewhat different, and Sahlgrenska used both these and other sources to form a balanced prognosis.</p> <h2>Measurements of infectivity</h2> <p>Now when the peak of the hospital admissions has passed and the need for care need seems to be on the way down, another model is needed. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has used an extended infection model, SEIR, which also includes the phase when a person is infected but not yet infectious, and fit the model for the Stockholm area. During late spring, Philip and Torbjörn used the same model for Gothenburg. In June, they received funding from Chalmers Areas of Advance to continue the development of the model and to develop new methods for measuring the infectivity in the population, which depends on both how many contacts people have each day and the probability that they infect through contact. The idea is that the disease transmission is high in the beginning of the pandemic but decreases when different restrictions causes people to have fewer contacts.</p> <p>Several indicators will be used to estimate the number of contacts. One of them is the number of passengers using the local transport company Västtrafik, since the infectivity in the model of the Public Health Agency matches the decline in travel well. The proportion of positive test results is another, and data from the telephone health care counselling 1177 a third. A study in Östergötland led by Armin Spreco showed that the number of calls to 1177 concerning breathing difficulties for adults could be correlated with the number of hospitalised covid-19 patients 15 days later. The goal is to be able to make better predictions of the need for care. There will also be a follow-up of the prognoses issued in spring in order to see what worked best, to continue to develop this before next pandemic.</p> <h2>Individual data – how serious will it be for the patient?</h2> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Marina Axelson-Fisk" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/marinaaxelsonfisk200x250.jpg" style="margin:5px" />Marina Axelson-Fisk, Professor in Mathematical Statistics, had previously collaborated with Robert Feldt, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Lars-Erik Magnusson, chief physician at the infection clinical department of the Östra Hospital. Then it was a matter of being able to distinguish early between blood poisoning (sepsis) and winter vomiting flu (norovirus). The two diseases may have a similar onset with fever, vomiting and dizziness, but sepsis is a serious condition that is important to detect early and not misdiagnose.</p> <p>A master’s degree project about this with Marina as supervisor began in January, and patient data was to be provided by the Östra Hospital. But then, the corona pandemic broke out and everything was put on hold. Would it be possible to work with input data from patients with covid-19 instead? The issue then became whether the patient has covid-19 or not, but also how early in the process the disease can be discovered and whether it is possible to tell how serious it will become for the patient, preferably a week before the patient needs to be admitted to hospital.</p> <h2>Lots of raw data</h2> <p>The master’s degree projects had to be about the theoretical models for the computations instead, so the basis is ready. Marina applied for and received funding from Chalmers Areas of Advance together with Robert and Richard Torkar, also a Professor at Computer Science and Engineering, so now the work of producing a software that works in reality begins. Lots of raw data has arrived and will now be handled and processed. Marina’s part of the work is to optimise the theoretical models, which are based on so-called Markov Decision Processes and are computionally complex. As they are heavy to handle, it takes approximations and all sorts of computer science “tricks” for healthcare personnel to be able to use it and get results within a reasonable time limit, and this is the main task for the computer scientists.</p> <p>– It would of course be good to have this ready quite soon, many people believe that the need for care may increase again. We therefore take some shortcuts now in the beginning, to build a more complete model in the long run. Even if the work does not have time to make such  big difference for the corona pandemic this autumn, healthcare will benefit greatly from the work in the future in other contexts – but of course we hope to come up with something that is possible to use soon.<br /><br /><strong>Texts and photos</strong>: Setta Aspström</p>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 18:05:00 +0200 conduction improves diagnosis of dizziness<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a test method that can be used to diagnose symptoms of dizziness more accurately, also giving the patient less discomfort. The results are very promising and several patient studies are now underway, using a specially designed vibrator to test the function of the balance system via bone conduction of vibrations through the skull.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Dizziness is one of the most common reasons why, not least, older people urgently seek medical attention. More than half of all over the age of 65 suffer from health problems related to dizziness at some point.</span><div><br /></div> <div>“This is a new research field that is emerging”, says Bo Håkansson, Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers. “The Promobilia foundation has recently granted us SEK 400 000 in a two-year funding period, which enables us to pursue further studies on different kinds of patients. Healthcare as well as academia show a great interest in our results. We are collaborating mainly with the ear clinics at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and also with the University Hospital in Halle, Germany.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Benledning%20ställer%20säkrare%20yrseldiagnoser/Yrsel_190610_03_500x667px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Boneconduction test" style="margin:5px;width:325px;height:423px" />Hearing and balance are related </strong></div> <div>Since hearing and balance are closely connected, sound can be used to diagnose diseases in the balance system of the body. The method is called VEMP, Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential. The mechanical vibrators used for VEMP tests in healthcare today, are either too weak or too large and cumbersome.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We realised that there simply was no equipment available, directly adapted for this type of tests of the balance organ”, says Bo Håkansson. “The vibrator we have designed is small and compact in size. The sound vibrator is attached with a headset behind the patient's ear. It is optimised to provide a high sound level at frequencies as low as 250 Hz, a frequency we found to be favourable for bone conduction VEMP testing. Therefore, we call it B250.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Improved results using bone conduction</strong></div> <div>The Chalmers researchers have shown that better results from VEMP tests can be obtained by using bone conduction technology rather than air conducted sounds – the most common method until now.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Our method also works on children, and it allows patients with a mechanically impaired hearing function to perform the test successfully”, says Bo Håkansson.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A first pilot study was conducted in 2018, and a second patient study in collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital has recently been completed, which included 30 healthy participants with normal hearing.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The results collected from the healthy and normal-hearing patient group fully support our previous results. This confirms that the method we propose can provide safer test results, and also avoid that patients need to undergo tests that risk damaging their hearing.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers aim at introducing the B250 as a standardised diagnostic method for VEMP testing of patients suffering from dizziness. The conditions are good for this to become a reality in a not too distant future.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We are collaborating with the Danish company Ortofon, that manufactures the vibrator prototypes used in our patient studies. Ortofon is planning to make the device commercially available as soon as the necessary specifications have been settled – hopefully within the coming year”, says Bo Håkansson.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><strong>More about the research – this is how it works</strong></div> <div>In patients with dizziness, sound is used to diagnose diseases that originates from the balance system. The sound triggers a reflex that gives a muscle signal (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential, VEMP) from the neck muscle (electrode shown in the picture) and the oblique eye muscle respectively, which gives different responses depending on the patient's underlying problem. The test can be performed either by emitting a loud air-conducted sound in the ear canal, or by using a mechanical sound conducted through the bones of the skull. The disadvantage of using air-conducted sound is that the volume must be so loud that the patient's hearing is at risk of damage. It can be compared to having a machine gun going off next to the ear, since the test procedure is repeated many times to obtain stable results by averaging.​</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Benledning%20ställer%20säkrare%20yrseldiagnoser/yrseltest_500x750px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="test for dizzinesss" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The method introduced by the Chalmers researchers, which is based on bone conduction hearing via a specially designed vibrator placed against the skull, has several advantages. The noise levels to which patients are exposed can be kept much lower, which makes the test procedure more pleasant and harmless. The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels, and the test can be performed at up to a 40 decibels lower level than today's method using air-conducted sounds. There is thus no risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with mechanically impaired hearing function, due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear, can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness in a VEMP test.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the design of the vibrator, Bo Håkansson has benefited from his <a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/40-years-of-bone-conduction-hearing.aspx">40 years of knowledge and experience from the development of hearing aid technology using bone conduction</a>.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Yvonne Jonsson<br />Photo: Johan Bodell (photo on top) and Henrik Sandsjö (other photos)</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read more</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/New-innovation-improves-the-diagnosis-of-dizziness.aspx">New innovation improves the diagnosis of dizziness</a>, news article in connection with the researchers’ publication of a scientific article in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, autumn 2018.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>The research is funded by<a href="" target="_blank"> the Promobilia foundation</a></strong></div> <div>The aim of Promobilia is to promote the development of technical aids so that disabled persons could benefit of a more active life. The foundation supports research and development of technical aids as well as ensures they get into production and reach those in need.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, contact</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/bo-hakansson.aspx">Bo Håkansson,</a> Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers, <a href=""></a></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/karl-johan-freden-jansson.aspx">Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson</a>, Researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers, <a href=""></a></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/sabine-reinfeldt.aspx">Sabine Reinfeldt</a>, Associate Professor and Head of the unit Biomedical Signals and Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers, <a href=""></a></div> <div>Måns Eeg-Olofsson, Associate Professor, medically responsible at the ENT clinic, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, <div style="display:inline !important"><div style="display:inline !important"><a href=""></a></div></div> <span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 +0200 investigates face masks<p><b>​How do particles spread when we cough in a face mask? That will be investigated in a new research project. The goal is to be able to provide guidelines for the use of face masks to prevent the spread of the virus that cause Covid-19.</b></p>​The work is both theoretical and experimental and involves a network of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology and Lund Technical University. Through the project, the network of researchers wants to contribute to the knowledge about face masks and the spread of infection. <div><br /></div> <div>“We will conduct experiments and simulations to investigate basic mechanisms that are crucial for setting up guidelines for the use of face masks during airborne pandemics” says Srdjan Sasic who is a professor of fluid dynamics at Chalmers. </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Will describe how mucus and saliva flow from the nose and mouth</h3> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The purpose of the research at Chalmers is to be able to describe how mucus and saliva flow from the nose and mouth during coughing and sneezing. Using simulations, the researchers will study how mucus and saliva get stuck in different types of face masks and how the fluids flow around face masks depending on the thickness and flow rate of the mucus and saliva. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“We will perform numerical simulations with pathogen drops in different types of face masks. How effective the face mask is will be described by measuring the ratio between infected droplet volumes upstream and downstream of the mask and the amount of air that the mask lets through” says Srdjan Sasic. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">By examining how particles of different sizes move when coughing and sneezing, depending on whether a face mask is used or not, they hope to manage to describe the effect of wearing a face mask. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The research project will run until the autumn of 2021 and has been granted SEK 1.8 million from the Swedish Research Council.</span><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"><span>Read more</span></h3> <div><span><a href="/en/research/efforts-and-expertise-corona/Pages/default.aspx">Efforts and expertise concerning corona/covid-19​</a><br /></span></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/srdjan.aspx">Srdjan Sasic​</a></div> <div></div>Tue, 11 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +0200 the survival of Covid-19 in air<p><b>​When a person infected with Covid-19 coughs, sneezes or talks small particles flow out that can infect a new individual. Researchers at Chalmers will now investigate how long these particles survive outside the body under different environmental conditions.</b></p>​The current recommendations and understanding of the transmission in respiratory infectious diseases are based on a simple model developed ninety years ago to understand the transmission of tuberculosis. <div><br /></div> <div>“I hope that our study can lead to more up-to-date guidelines that can be used by policymakers to more effectively slow down the diffusion of Covid-19 and future respiratory infections” says Gaetano Sardina, assistant professor in Fluid mechanics at Chalmers University of Technology. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The results of the project could, for example, lead to more secure assumptions about the distance that should be kept between individuals, as well as regulations and proposals for humidity in public environments that accelerate the evaporation of the pathogen-bearing droplets. Hopefully, the research can also improve the current epidemiological mathematical models targeting in estimating the diffusion of the pandemic. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Longevity is affected by the surrounding environment​</h3></div> <div>In the project, the researchers will study how the lifetime of pathogen-bearing droplets is affected by whether the person sneezes, coughs, talks or breathes, droplet size and various environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature and air turbulence. The study will use detailed, high-resolution numerical simulations and a new stochastic method to calculate a random drip path. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“From a scientific point of view, we know quite a lot about the spread of the virus, but there is a lack of detailed knowledge about the mechanisms that cause the respiratory droplets from a sick person to reach other individuals. The goal of the study is to close that knowledge gap” says Gaetano Sardina. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project is funded with computational time from the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe and funds from the Swedish Research Council and Chalmers Area of Advance Information and Communication Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Read more</h3> <div><a href="/en/research/efforts-and-expertise-corona/Pages/default.aspx">Efforts and expertise concerning corona/covid-19​</a><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/sardina.aspx">Gaetano Sardina</a></div>Thu, 06 Aug 2020 10:30:00 +0200's-disease-protein-damages-cell-membranes-.aspx's-disease-protein-damages-cell-membranes-.aspxNew method shows how Parkinson&#39;s protein damages cells<p><b>​In sufferers of Parkinson&#39;s disease, clumps of α-synuclein (alpha-synuclein), sometimes known as the ‘Parkinson’s protein’, are found in the brain. These destroy cell membranes, eventually resulting in cell death. Now, a new method developed at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, reveals how the composition of cell membranes seems to be a decisive factor for how small quantities of α-synuclein cause damage.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>Parkinson's disease is an incurable condition in which neurons, the brain's nerve cells, gradually break down and brain functions become disrupted. Symptoms can include involuntary shaking of the body, and the disease can cause great suffering. To develop drugs to slow down or stop the disease, researchers try to understand the molecular mechanisms behind how α-synuclein contributes to the degeneration of neurons.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">It is known that mitochondria, the energy-producing compartments in cells, are damaged in Parkinson's disease, possibly due to ‘amyloids’ of α-synuclein. Amyloids are clumps of proteins arranged into long fibres with a well-ordered core structure, and their formation underlies many neurodegenerative disorders. Amyloids or even smaller clumps of α-synuclein may bind to and destroy mitochondrial membranes, but the precise mechanisms are still unknown.</p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New method reveals structural damage to mitrochondrial membranes​</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new study, recently published in the journal <em>PNAS</em>, focuses on two different types of membrane-like vesicles. One of them is made of lipids that are often found in synaptic vesicles, the other contained lipids related to mitochondrial membranes. </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">The researchers found that the Parkinson’s protein would bind to both vesicle types, but only caused structural changes to the mitochondrial-like vesicles, which deformed asymmetrically and leaked their contents.</span><br /></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “Now we have developed a method which is sensitive enough to observe how α-synuclein interacts with individual model vesicles, which are ‘capsules’ of lipids that can be used as mimics of the membranes found in cells. In our study, we observed that α-synuclein binds to – and destroys – mitochondrial-like membranes, but there was no destruction of the membranes of synaptic-like vesicles. The damage occurs at very low, nanomolar concentration, where the protein is only present as monomers – non-aggregated proteins. Such low protein concentration has been hard to study before but the reactions we have detected now could be a crucial step in the course of the disease,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor of Chemical Biology at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering. </p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">&quot;Dramatic ​differences in how the protein affects membranes&quot;</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new method from the researchers at Chalmers University of Technology makes it possible to study tiny quantities of biological molecules without using fluorescent markers. This is a great advantage when tracking natural reactions, since the markers often affect the reactions you want to observe, especially when working with small proteins such as α-synuclein.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “The chemical differences between the two lipids used are very small, but still we observed dramatic differences in how α-synuclein affected the different vesicles,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“We believe that lipid chemistry is not the only determining factor, but also that there are macroscopic differences between the two membranes – such as the dynamics and interactions between the lipids. No one has really looked closely at what happens to the membrane itself when α-synuclein binds to it, and never at these low concentrations.” </p> <p></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Next step: Investigate proteins with mutations and cellular membranes</h2> <p></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The next step for the researchers is to investigate variants of the α-synuclein protein with mutations associated with Parkinson's disease, and to investigate lipid vesicles which are more similar to cellular membranes.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “We also want to perform quantitative analyses to understand, at a mechanistic level, how individual proteins gathering on the surface of the membrane can cause damage” says Fredrik Höök, Professor at the Department of Physics, who was also involved in the research.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“Our vision is to further refine the method so that we can study not only individual, small – 100 nanometres – lipid vesicles, but also track each protein one by one, even though they are only 1-2 nanometres in size. That would help us reveal how small variations in properties of lipid membranes contribute to such a different response to protein binding as we now observed.”</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text: </strong>Susanne Nilsson Lindh and Joshua Worth<br /><strong>Illustration:</strong> Fredrik Höök</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <div><strong>More information on the method</strong></div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li>Vesicle membranes were observed by measuring light scattering and fluorescence from vesicles which were bound to a surface – and monitoring the changes when low concentrations of α-synuclein were added.</li> <li>Using high spatiotemporal resolution, protein binding and the resulting consequences on the structure of the vesicles, could be followed in real time. By means of a new theory, the structural changes in the membranes could be explained geometrically.</li> <li>The method used in the study was developed by Björn Agnarsson in Fredrik Höök's group and utilises an optical-waveguide sensor constructed with a combination of polymer and glass. The glass provides good conditions for directing light to the sensor surface, while the polymer ensures the light does not scatter and cause unwanted background signals.</li> <li>The combination of good light conduction and low background interference makes it possible to identify individual lipid vesicles and microscopically monitor their dynamics as they interact with the environment – in this case, the added protein. Sandra Rocha in Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede's group provided α-synuclein expertise, which is a complicated protein to work with.</li> <li>The research project is mainly funded by the Area of Advance for Health Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, and scholar grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The researchers’ complementary expertise around proteins, lipid membranes, optical microscopy, theoretical analysis and sensor design from Chalmers’ clean room has been crucial for this project.</li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Read the full study in <em>PNAS</em>: </strong></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /><span style="background-color:initial"><font color="#5b97bf">Single-vesicle imaging reveals lipid-selective and stepwise membrane disruption by monomeric α-synuclein</font></span>​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read more about the researchers:</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/bio/research/chemical_biology/Wittung-Stafshede-Lab/Pages/default.aspx" title="Link to Pernilla Wittungs reserch group"><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></span> Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede</a><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Fredrik-Höök.aspx" title="Link to Fredrik Höök's bio"><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></span> Fredrik Höök</a><br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> ​Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00:00 +0200 co-director for Health Engineering<p><b>​He is a solid mechanics researcher with an interest in sports and health. With his broad – and somewhat different – perspective, Martin Fagerström is now starting his new assignment as Co-director of the Health Engineering Area of Advance.</b></p><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Hi Martin! Why did the position as Co-director appeal to you?<br /><br /></strong></span><div>For a number of reasons, but mainly because of its driving force in that research results very often, and in a concrete way, contribute to improved quality of life for many people. It feels great to be able to join and develop Health Engineering Area of Advance, with all the existing power and energy among a large number of researchers, teachers, students and other staff at Chalmers. This, paired with the fact that our combined expertise is so clearly in demand, from both the healthcare system and medical research, simply makes it very exciting. I would very much like to contribute to building and shaping a broad, but welded, Area of Advance. I also value Chalmers’ investment in sports, which I think is a fantastic arena for education, utilisation and research. Chalmers Sports &amp; Technology, and Chalmers’ commitment as one of the country’s National Sports Universities fits well into Health Engineering, I think.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What do you work with and what’s your background?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>I came to Chalmers in 1998 to study the Mechanical Engineering programme. Right from the start, I took a great interest in mechanics and solid mechanics, and after I graduated from the bachelor’s programme in material and structural mechanics, I continued as a doctoral student at the Department of Applied Mechanics. After finishing my thesis on numerical methods for predicting crack propagation and failure progression, I left Chalmers to test my wings as a CAE Engineer at a consulting firm. But pretty soon, I realized that I wanted to be in research. Since 2009 I am back at Chalmers, at the division of Material and Computational Mechanics, which is now located at the Department of Industrial and Materials Science.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What’s your research about?<br /><br /></strong></div> <div>In my current research I’ve continued to focus on describing the mechanical responses of materials and structures, with the main focus on describing fracture processes in lightweight materials and structures, mainly fiber reinforced polymeric materials. Within this area, I have a fairly wide range of interest with several areas of application, from light weight applications in industrial sectors such as the automotive and aerospace industries, to applications in sports and health.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>So that’s how you connect to the area of health?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>Yes. I am very interested in sports and love all kinds of training, and this has also led me to be involved in Chalmers Sports &amp; Technology for quite many years now. My involvement in S&amp;T has increased my interest in research challenges that are closely related to sports, with a focus on health, especially when it comes to sports injuries. In addition, I have recently been able to ascertain the strong driving force in working with challenges that, in one way or another, contribute to increased societal well-being.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Why is it important to have an Area of Advance like Health Engineering?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>Going forward, I believe we are facing major challenges in the area of health. Several of these are probably also difficult to solve if the scientific and engineering perspective is missing. I believe that initiatives such as our Area of Advance make it easier to identify and combine different important competencies, and to address challenges that no individual researcher or research group can handle on their own. As an individual researcher, it is also difficult to always have a good overview of what supplementary competencies exist within Chalmers. Coordination through an Area of Advance is an important enabler. In addition, in my own interaction with researchers from Gothenburg Sports Trauma Research Center within the Sahlgrenska Academy, it has become clear on several occasions  that a close contact and understanding of each other’s research can create ideas and opportunities that had not even been deemed possible in the perspective of an individual field. In this, the Area of Advance also plays an important role in identifying and enabling these meetings between researchers.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What will be your main contribution to the AoA?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>In terms of research, my own ambitions and projects currently lie mainly in sports technology and sports injuries. Apart from that, I am a positive and happy person with a lot of energy, and I believe I have a relatively good ability to engage people to work together and towards common goals. In projects, I like to have everything in order, which can always come in handy. However, it does not appear that way if you were to visit my office…<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What’s your first priority as Co-director?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>My first priority will be to get to know all the fine work in building and defining the Area of Advance that has been conducted by our Director Ann-Sofie Cans, the profile leaders, the AoA staff and all committed researchers at Chalmers, and try to get an overall picture of what health at Chalmers really means. For the Area of Advance to be successful, we need to identify and understand the whole picture, as well as ensure that everyone who wants to contribute is included in a good way.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What’s most important to do as a newly started Area of Advance?</strong><br /><br /></div> <div>To continue the internal work of constructing and anchoring the AoA, by identifying all the different dimensions of the health area represented at Chalmers. Here, the dialogue with the staff at the AoA, and the profile leaders is a good starting point. It is also important to work actively to meet the evident and great interest, and demand of our competences, from other universities – primarily the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg but of course also others – and from the healthcare providers and the region at large, from companies and from society as a whole. Continuing to establish and strengthen our contacts with these partners becomes an important activity in parallel with internal work.<br /><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Malmstedt</div> <div>Photos: Marcus Folino, Carina Schultz</div> <div><br /></div>Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:00:00 +0200 material to protect us from various pandemics<p><b>​A new material that can kill bacteria has now shown early promise in de-activation of viruses, including certain coronaviruses. The material, developed by researchers at Chalmers, is now being evaluated against SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19.</b></p><div>​The novel material, recently presented in a doctoral thesis, has proven to be very effective in killing common infection causing bacteria, including those that are resistant to antibiotics such as MRSA and a E. coli superbugs.<br /></div> <div>The basis of the research is a unique and patented technology where microbe-killing peptides are combined with a nanostructured material. So far, it has been targeted towards bacteria, but with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the researchers started a study to <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Amferia/porträtt_martin_320%20x%20400.jpg" alt="" style="height:229px;width:180px;margin:5px" />understand if the material would work against the virus. <br /><br />“Similar peptides that we work with have previously shown to be effective against various other coronaviruses, including those that have caused the outbreaks of SARS and MERS. Our premise is that the antimicrobial effect of our peptides seen on bacteria can be also be used to inactivate the coronavirus, says Martin Andersson”, research leader and professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.<br /> </div> <div>Tests with the new material on another human coronavirus has shown promising early results where the material deactivated 99.9 percent of the virus. The researchers now see great potential for it to work on SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. They have initiated collaboration with researchers, based in Gothenburg University/ Sahlgrenska Academy, with access to the SARS-Cov-2.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Can be produced in various forms - mimics the body's immune system</h2> <div>The material can be produced in many different forms such as surface treatments and as small particles. When microbes such as bacteria and viruses come in contact with the material surface, they are rapidly killed, and further spread is prevented. The material can easily be adapted for use in personal protective equipment such as face masks and medical devices including respirators and intubation tubes. This way, the material may offer reliable protection against the current and future pandemics. The researchers see it as valuable technology for our efforts towards pandemic preparedness.<br />   </div> <div>“A surface layer of our new material on face masks would not only stop the passage of the virus but also reduce the risk that it can be transported further, for example when the mask is removed and thus reduce the spread of infection”, explains Martin Andersson.<br />  </div> <div>The strategy is to imitate how the body's immune system fights infectious microbes. Immune cells in our body produce different types of peptides that selectively damage the outer shell of bacteria and viruses. The mechanism is similar to the effect that soap and water has on bacteria and viruses, although, the peptides have higher selectivity and are efficient while totally harmless to human cells. A major advantage is that the way the material works provides a high flexibility and gives it a low sensitivity to mutations. Unlike vaccines, the peptides continue to inactivate the virus even if it mutates. The idea behind the research is to make us less vulnerable and better prepared when the next pandemic comes.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Connection between the ongoing pandemic and antibiotic resistance</h2> <div>As covid-19 unfolds, another healthcare threat, what many call the “silent pandemic” caused by antibiotic resistance has been ongoing for decades. According to WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to humanity. Without drastic action, estimates show that more people are likely to die of bacterial infections than cancer by 2050. Unfortunately, there is a worrying link between the ongoing pandemic and antibiotic resistance. Many covid-19 patients develop secondary bacterial infections which must be treated with antibiotics. According to the researchers, the new material may prove efficient for preventing both the viral and bacterial infections. </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Meant to protect health care personnel and individuals</h2> <div>To enable societal benefit from the new technology, the researchers started a company, Amferia AB, with support from Chalmers Innovation Office and Chalmers Ventures. Amferia is based at Astrazeneca BioVentureHub in Mölndal, Sweden.</div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Amferia/porträtt_saba_320%20x%20400.jpg" width="320" height="400" alt="" style="height:244px;width:190px;margin:5px" /><br />Earlier this year, Saba Atefyekta defended her PhD at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers. She presented the new material in her doctoral thesis titled &quot;Antibacterial Surfaces for Biomedical Applications&quot;. Saba is one of the founders of Amferia and the company's research manager<br />   </div> <div>“If we are not going to meet a dark future, we must prevent infections from happening. We believe that the materials we develop can help prevent future infections and thus reduce the use of antibiotics, so that we can continue to use these life-protecting medicines in the future”, says Saba Atefyekta</div> <div> </div> <div>When the antiviral effect of the material on the SARS-CoV-2 is confirmed, the next step is to make it rapidly available to protect both healthcare professionals and the general public.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Text: Jenny Jernberg</div> <div>Portrait photo  Saba Atefyekta: Mats Hulander<span style="display:inline-block"></span></div> <br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Complementary fresh news about Amferia</h2> <div>Tuseday 30 June it was announced that Amferia has been selected as a “one to watch” in this year’s Spinoff Prize, which is organized by Nature Research and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.</div> <div> </div></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div>Mon, 29 Jun 2020 00:00:00 +0200 to reach new diagnostics<p><b>​Research to develop new techniques for diagnostics is found all over Chalmers. Read about some examples here!​</b></p><em><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/New-technology-to-give-more-healthcare.aspx">​These examples are linked to a main article published here.</a><br /></em><div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Combating antibiotic resistance</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Erik Kristiansson at the Department of Mathematical Sciences has developed algorithms to analyse patterns in bacterial DNA. This can pinpoint changes that lead to resistance to antibiotics, thus increasing the chances of effective treatment. </span><br /></div> <div>In partnership with Kristina Lagerstedt and Susanne Staaf, Kristiansson founded 1928 Diagnostics, whose cloud-based software analyses the genetic code of bacteria and provides information about its spread and treatment options.<br /><br /></div> <div>Fredrik Westerlund at Biology and Biological Engineering studies the DNA molecules, called plasmids, that primarily cause the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance. To identify plasmids, the scientists attach “bar codes” to them. In combination with the CRISPR gene-editing tool, they can also identify the genes that make bacteria antibiotic resistant. Now the method has been further developed to identify the actual bacterium, which is important as different types of bacteria cause infections of differing severity.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><em>Caption to picture above: Fredrik Westerlund studies the DNA molecules that primarily cause the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance. Here with colleagues Gaurav Goyal and Vinoth Sundar Rajan.</em></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Diagnostics using microwaves</h2> <div>Microwaves make it possible to detect patterns that can be used for diagnostics, by passing weak microwave signals through the body and processing them. The pattern created is analysed using algorithms for image reconstruction or AI-based classification.</div> <div> </div> <div>Researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering, along with Sahlgrenska University Hospital and other partners, are applying these methods to stroke diagnostics and mammography. The technology makes it possible to build small, mobile units, which make it easier to make a fast, early diagnosis – which is particularly critical when diagnosing a stroke. </div> <div>The so called “stroke helmet” developed by the research team can be used in an ambulance to determine, even before the patient arrives in hospital, whether a stroke was caused by a blood clot or a haemorrhage. This reduces the time to treatment, allowing more stroke patients to recover with fewer aftereffects. </div> <div>“Many factors indicate that microwave technology has the potential to be a highly efficient diagnostic tool,” says Andreas Fhager.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Caption to picture above</em></span><em>: Andreas Fhager and the “stroke helmet”, which can determine whether a stroke was caused by a blood clot or a haemorrhage.</em></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">AI and diagnostics</h2> <div>Artificial intelligence can provide significant help in making healthcare decisions, and several AI projects are under way at Chalmers.</div> <div>Robert Feldt, Professor of computer science, and Marina Axelson-Fisk, Professor of mathematics, are working with the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in a project about sepsis – blood poisoning. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical for survival, but modern screening tools have low precision. The aim of the project is to help doctors to make the right diagnosis faster through the use of AI. The method they are developing can also be tested on other diagnoses, and this spring the researchers have particularly looked at whether it can be used on Covid-19.<br /><br /></div> <div>Another field where AI support has potential is in the analysis of medical imaging, in which computers learn to interpret radiological images of human organs. Fredrik Kahl’s research team at Electrical Engineering has partnered with Sahlgrenska University Hospital to develop an AI-based method of assessing tomographic images of the coronary arteries. Cardiovascular diseases are still the most common cause of death in Sweden and worldwide. An AI assessment not only has the potential to be just as accurate as a human, but also goes much faster and is more consistent once the computer has been fully trained. </div> <div>In the next step, AI can help to discover hitherto unnoticed connections and patterns, and thus contribute to creating new medical knowledge.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Caption to picture above:</em></span><em> Fredrik Kahl is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research team is developing AI to diagnose medical imaging.</em></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Identifies disease before symptoms arise</span></h2> <div>Rikard Landberg at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering works in the field of metabolomics, an extensive analysis of molecules in biological samples such as blood plasma. Factors that affect health – genetics, lifestyle, environmental pollutants, medicines – make their mark on the metabolome, the pattern of tiny molecules in the sample. By measuring these indicators and relating them to health parameters and diseases, scientists can study the impact of various factors, as well as learning about underlying mechanisms. Research is also under way to find biomarkers that can identify diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or cancer.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Caption to picture above:</em></span><em> Biomarkers in blood samples can give information on the risks of developing common illnesses.</em></div> <em> </em><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Fast and accurate influenza test</span></h2> <div>At the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Dag Winkler and his colleagues are building a small portable device that will be able to diagnose influenza in less than an hour, eliminating the need to send the sample to a lab for analysis. Getting the test results within an hour means that patients with contagious diseases can be isolated in time. The research project is being carried out in collaboration with several partners, including Karolinska Institutet.</div> <div>The project is focused on influenza diagnostics, but the team say the equipment can also be used to diagnose other diseases, such as malaria, SARS or Covid-19. In the past year, the research team has improved the sensitivity of the device to such a degree that they have applied for a patent and are looking into commercialisation.</div> <div><br /> </div> Texts: Mia Malmstedt and Malin Ulfvarson<br /><br /><a href="">These texts are republished from Chalmers Magasin no.1, 2020</a> (in Swedish).</div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/New-technology-to-give-more-healthcare.aspx">The exampels are linked to a main article, published here.​</a></div> <div><br /> </div>Wed, 24 Jun 2020 18:00:00 +0200 technology to give more healthcare<p><b>​Major challenges await Swedish healthcare and the need for new technology to solve them is urgent. Diagnostics is one of the pieces of the puzzle. The healthcare system as a whole, as well as individual patients, can benefit from for example AI and precision diagnostics.</b></p><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Working-to-reach-new-diagnostics.aspx"><em>This article is linked to these examples of Chalmers research in the diagnostics area.</em></a><br /><br />Let us begin by emphasising that no, this is not yet another coronavirus article. Even if most every aspect of healthcare and diagnostics in the first half of 2020 has been about Covid-19, naturally there are many other challenges and future development projects for Swedish healthcare, both pre- and post-corona.</span><div><br /></div> <div>There is no question that Swedish healthcare is at the threshold of a major transition. Patient queues, overfilled emergency wards, primary care reforms and lack of staffing flit past our eyes daily in the news flow. Perhaps most of it can be boiled down to one question: Has healthcare become too good?</div> <div> </div> <div>“We can achieve more and more, at ever-increasing ages and with better and better precision,” says Peter Gjertsson, Area Manager at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. He is responsible for Area 4, which includes radiology, clinical physiology and all the laboratories – the majority of the hospital’s diagnostics. </div> <div>“But medical advances and the increasing numbers of elderly people in the population also lead to greater need for medical care. Now we need to turn to technology to help us. We cannot just keep working as we’ve done previously, we need technological solutions that allow us to do more with the same resources.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">AI makes diagnostics accurate and saves resources</h2> <div>A clear example of such a solution is AI and diagnostic imaging. If a computer can interpret images using artificial intelligence, the radiologist gets a pre-sorted selection to review; images in which the computer has already identified potential problems. This makes diagnostics more accurate, faster and more efficient. </div> <div>“We also see a development in which technology allows patients to manage more of their measuring and diagnostics at home,” Gjertsson says. “The patients become experts on their own illness, which is an advantage for the individual and saves healthcare resources.”</div> <div>He makes sure to point out that those who cannot use the new technology for whatever reason will still be taken care of with more traditional means.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Precision medicine is another burgeoning field. When genetic diagnostics can point out disease and diagnostic imaging identifies the problem area, treatments can be tailored to the individual.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Health research nearly all over Chalmers</h2> <div>Chalmers and Sahlgrenska University Hospital have collaborated closely for many years. Researchers from the two institutions have developed advanced medical engineering products, established new knowledge as the basis for better pharmaceuticals and conducted research on environments and architecture in healthcare. In fact, 12 of Chalmers’ 13 departments are conducting health-related research in a wide array of fields.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>It became clear just how multifaceted the research was when Chalmers catalogued all of its research projects in preparation for starting up its new Area of Advance, Health Engineering. The new Area of Advance aims to build a common thread through research at Chalmers, linking it with external partners. It opened its doors in January. <br /><br /></div> <div>“As we did an inventory of our research, we conducted interviews at every department and realised that many issues in the field of health were shared across department boundaries,” says Ann-Sofie Cans, Associate Professor at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Director of the Health Engineering Area of Advance.</div> <div>“Expertise is in demand, internally and externally, and as it turns out, Chalmers has a lot of it.” </div> <div>Cans thinks Chalmers researchers have developed a habit of working in “silos” for far too long.</div> <div>“Now we’re going to start up activities in which our over 200 health-related researchers at Chalmers can get to know each other, and also increase our external collaborations.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Collaboration in Chalmers’ AI centre</h2> <div>One field of collaboration that has already taken steps forward is AI. In December 2019, Sahlgrenska University Hospital signed on as a partner in the Chalmers AI Research Centre, CHAIR. In practical terms, the partnership agreement is a commitment of at least five years, with jointly funded research in AI for health and healthcare. The partners have carved out several challenges that take priority. One of them is diagnostics. With AI, computer systems can process huge amounts of data – measurements, text, images – and learn to recognise symptoms.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Fredrik Johansson, Assistant Professor at Chalmers’ Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the bridge between the Health Engineering Area of Advance, CHAIR and SU. He and his counterpart at SU are developing a joint research agenda. </div> <div>“Although we have worked together previously, we can coordinate our efforts by partnering within the Area of Advance and CHAIR,” he says. “For example, we can see if several researchers are actually working towards the same goal, so we can improve efficiency and find synergies.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Searching for patterns in patient groups</h2> <div>Johansson himself is coordinating a project in which students use collected data about patients with Alzheimer’s disease to have AI search for patterns. Alzheimer’s disease has many different forms of expression and is currently diagnosed using cognitive testing – things like memory tests.</div> <div>“We know that Alzheimer’s patients have plaques that form in the brain. But some patients develop severe symptoms while others don’t, despite having equally extensive plaques. Why is that? We want to develop a tool that can provide a comprehensive look at the patient to determine the cause of the differences. We are looking at factors that can be measured when they are diagnosed, and that can also be monitored over time. The idea is primarily to be able to predict how the disease can be expected to develop, but perhaps in the long term we will also be able to develop a tool that can diagnose subgroups of Alzheimer’s patients.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>There are plans for a shared infrastructure and also for training initiatives. One example is training in ethical review, which has been requested by many Chalmers researchers who have not had to work with this before, and which is of course important in healthcare.</div> <div>“We may need to train our staff in this,” Johansson says. “And vice versa, we are also talking about AI training for researchers at SU.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">“We’re here to support them”</h2> <div>Ann-Sofie Cans points out that Chalmers is also supporting the new innovation training course for clinicians that was recently started at SU.</div> <div>“Sahlgrenska wants doctors to be versed in a variety of technologies. We can help them to find the right people to hold a lecture or arrange a study visit, like the one this spring on AI and 3D printing,“ she says.</div> <div>“The healthcare system is realising more and more that they need the skills of engineers – and we’re here to support them. If no one uses our solutions, then they won’t benefit anyone.”</div> <div><br /> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">ABOUT: Chalmers’ Health Engineering Area of Advance</h2> <div>Chalmers’ new Area of Advance covers 12 departments and is organised in five profile areas:<br /><br /></div> <div>• Digitalisation, big data and AI</div> <div>• Infection, drug delivery and diagnostics</div> <div>• Prevention, lifestyle and ergonomics</div> <div>• Medical engineering</div> <div>• Systems and built environments for health and care</div> <div><br /></div> <div>These profile areas were defined based on the research represented at Chalmers, but they have also proven to serve as valuable access points to the university.</div> <div><br />In addition to Sahlgrenska University Hospital, the external partners include the Faculty of Science and the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, the Västra Götaland region, the AstraZeneca Bioventure Hub, the University of Borås and Sahlgrenska Science Park.<br /><br /></div> <div>The Area of Advance and the partnerships embrace not only research but also education. Chalmers and SU have started a pilot project with a joint graduate school in biomedical engineering. In the long term, it is possible that doctoral students accepted to the programme will be able to earn double degrees. Chalmers has also created the new Biomedical Engineering bachelor’s programme, in which the first students will start this autumn.<br /><br /></div> <div>The Health Engineering Area of Advance has defined three social challenges of focus, in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: <em>Changed population and new diseases</em>, <em>Increased need for healthcare in a society with limited resources</em> and <em>Health, climate and sustainability.</em></div> <div><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br /><br /></div> <div><em>Caption to the picture of the operating theatre:</em></div> <div><div><em>The operating theatre in the Imaging and Intervention Centre at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, fully equipped with nearly 400 medical engineering products for imaging-supported diagnostics or treatment. This is one of the most high-tech, advanced surgical wards in Sweden. There are several so called hybrid theatres in the building, where surgery and diagnostic imaging can be done in the same room. </em></div> <div><em>This year Chalmers’ MedTech West research centre is establishing a collaborative laboratory in the Imaging and Intervention Centre. Clinical trials in microwave-based diagnostics and magnetoencephalography (MEG) are planned to start in 2021.</em></div></div> <div><br /> </div> <div><a href="">This text is republished from Chalmers Magasin no. 1, 2020​</a> (in Swedish).</div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Working-to-reach-new-diagnostics.aspx">Read related article with examples of Chalmers research in the area of diagnostics here.</a></div> <div>​<br /></div>Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:00:00 +0200