Preview: Dr. Edward Damiano and ‘The Bionic Pancreas’

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On Feb. 26 in the Student Union Theatre, Dr. Edward Damiano will be giving a talk as part of the UConn Leadership Legacy Experience about his research and innovations in the way type 1 diabetes and other glycemic dysregulation conditions can be managed and the bionic pancreas device that he and his company have in the works.  


On Feb. 26 in the Student Union Theatre, Dr. Edward Damiano will be giving a talk as part of the UConn Leadership Legacy Experience about his research and innovations in the way type 1 diabetes and other glycemic dysregulation conditions can be managed and the bionic pancreas device that he and his company have in the works.  Photo by     PhotoMIX Ltd.     from     Pexels

On Feb. 26 in the Student Union Theatre, Dr. Edward Damiano will be giving a talk as part of the UConn Leadership Legacy Experience about his research and innovations in the way type 1 diabetes and other glycemic dysregulation conditions can be managed and the bionic pancreas device that he and his company have in the works. Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

According to the Legacy Office, the Legacy Experience brings in scholars who are exploring new programs and technologies.  

“The Leadership Legacy Experience is the university’s most prestigious leadership development program; through lectures, discussions and presentations, the Leadership Legacy Speaker Series offers the campus community access to renowned scholars and leaders who explore critical issues of the day,” the press release said.  

Dr. Damiano is a biomedical engineering professor at Boston University, as well as the co-founder, ceo and president of Beta Bionics, a Massachusetts-based public benefit corporation dedicated to the mission of creating a bionic pancreas for commercial use, according to Beta Bionics. 

The insulin regulation business is a personal one for Dr. Damiano, as his son was born with Type I diabetes, and keeping his condition under control has been a cause of worry ever since. 

As Dr. Damiano explained in his 2015 TED Talk, Type I diabetics constantly have to monitor their condition and self-administer the correct insulin dose for however high or low their blood sugar is. Mistakes can lead to decline in health and in severe cases can even be fatal. The goal of Beta Bionics is to take the managing responsibilities out of the hands of the patient and completely automate the process using a wearable, handheld sized bionic pancreas that administers the correct doses of insulin without the wearer constantly having to think about it. 

The product is called the iLet™. Dr. Damiano has been working on bionic pancreas technology for over a decade. The first prototype was hooked up to a laptop, then streamlined into an iPhone compatible machine. Now, the current iLet™ is completely independent of another device and removes some of the worry for diabetic patients. A clinical trial made up of 440 Type I diabetics (adult and child) is planned for later this year, and the goal is to have the iLet™ hit shelves within the next 18 months, according to the official press release from Veronica Jacobs, the leadership programs coordinator. 

For more information on Dr. Damiano’s talk or about the Leadership Legacy Speaker Series as a whole, visit leadershiplegacy.uconn.edu, for the Corporation’s website, visit betabionics.com


Sam Zelin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sam.zelin@uconn.edu.

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