Nil Gurel received the runner-up prize at the 2018 IEEE Body Sensor Networks Conference Best Paper Award competition. The conference was held March 4-7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gurel is a Ph.D. student in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), where she is a member of the Inan Research Lab. The title of Gurel’s award-winning paper is “Toward Closed-Loop Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation using Peripheral Cardiovascular Physiological Biomarkers: A Proof-of-Concept Study.”
Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (t-VNS) is a promising technology for modulating brain function and possibly treating disorders of the central nervous system such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this work, real-time non-invasive physiological biomarkers of t-VNS derived from wearable cardiovascular physiology measurements were introduced and verified with experimental studies. Additionally, t-VNS applied after traumatic recall for subjects with prior trauma was shown to decrease the fight-or-flight response to this mental and emotional stressor, demonstrating the potential for such stimulation technologies in potentially reducing such responses for patients with PTSD in future work.
This work represents a highly collaborative effort between researchers at the Georgia Tech School of ECE and Emory University in the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health. Gurel’s coauthors are fellow ECE Ph.D. student Mobashir H. Shandi; J. Douglas Bremner of the Emory School of Medicine Department of Radiology and Department of Psychiatry and the Atlanta VA Medical Center; Viola Vaccarino of Emory Rollins School of Public Health and School of Medicine/Division of Cardiology; Stacy L. Ladd, Emory Department of Radiology; Lucy Shallenberger, Emory Rollins School of Public Health; Amit Shah, Emory Rollins School of Public Health and School of Medicine/Division of Cardiology; and Omer Inan, director of the Inan Research Lab and ECE Ph.D. advisor to both Gurel and Shandi.