Scholars and Fellows News: Winter 2016

closeup of a stethoscope hanging on a healthcare professional's chest

XPRIZE Contest Finalist

Institute Fellow Andrew Ahn’s team, Dynamical Biomarkers Group, was selected as one of two team finalists in a global competition to develop a portable Star-Trek-style health diagnostic device. Teams vying for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE were tasked with creating a device weighing no more than five pounds that can be used anywhere to capture vital signs and assess 13 health conditions, such as pneumonia and skin cancer. The first place winner, to be announced in April 2017, will receive a $10 million prize. More importantly, the device has the potential to empower patients around the world to take greater control of their health.

Health of the States Report

Institute Scholar Steven Woolf’s team at Virginia Commonwealth University, in partnershp with the Urban Institute, published “Health of the States” (HOTS), a report on the status of America’s health at the state level. HOTS is distinct from similar efforts in both its breadth and depth: It includes data on 39 different health outcomes and 123 health determinants, from social and economic conditions to health systems and public policy.

Neuroscience Pioneer

Scholar George “Bud” Brainard was honored last month by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Brainard, whose work with NASA helps astronauts maintain healthy sleeping patterns while in space, delivered a presentation for the Pioneers in Neuroscience Lecture Series: “Human Circadian Regulation by Light: from International Space Station to Hospital Lighting.”

Meditation for Chronic Pain

Institute Fellow Jeffrey Greeson was interviewed about the use of mindfulness meditation to relieve chronic pain in a recent broadcast of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio. Dr. Greeson, who is studying the impact of mindfulness on inflammation and gene expression, says that when we’re in pain, meditation helps us recognize we can “be with those sensations and the world does keep turning. (The pain) doesn’t have to define who we are.” Hear it at