Interdisciplinary research at UF aims to save lives in Africa

In News, Research & Innovation by Emily Stanton

An interdisciplinary effort between the University of Florida’s College of Engineering and the College of Medicine is aiming to save the lives of at-risk expectant mothers living in Africa. Electrical and biomedical engineering professor Jose Principe and the chief of obstetric anesthesia for UF Health Shands Hospital, Tammy Euliano, are developing a simple device to detect preeclampsia – a high blood pressure disorder that occurs among pregnant women and can lead to death.

In the U.S., preeclampsia affects 5 percent of pregnant women, while in Africa, 15 percent of expectant mothers are affected, according to Euliano.

In partnership with Convergent Engineering – a Gainesville-based company headed by Gator Engineering alum Neil R. Euliano – a wrist strap is being developed that measures a patient’s oxygen saturation and collects the same heart rate information as an EKG. With the current data, Principe and Euliano are able to detect within 85 percent accuracy which patients will develop preeclampsia.

Support for this research comes from a program funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to find novel ways to reduce the death rates of mothers and babies in developing countries.

Read more about the project here.