Center for Implantable Medical Microsystems (CIMM)-Engineering Research Accelerator - Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Implantable Medical Microsystems (CIMM)

Center for Implantable Medical Microsystems (CIMM) is a new center in ICES with the vision to impact medical practice and quality of life through the use of implantable microsystems for early diagnosis and for precision intervention in the treatment of disease and trauma. Envisioned implantable microsystems resulting from the center’s activities include electronic sensing and stimulation systems that are ultra-miniature, ultra-low power, and largely or completely biodegradable. In specific cases, these systems will be engineered to safely and controllably degrade in the body after the system is no longer needed.

CIMM brings together faculty members and students from multiple departments with the mission to develop “near-zero invasive” implantable diagnostic monitors and therapeutic tools by merging a range of microsystem technologies; to develop modular technologies that enable rapid design of these implantable microsystems for specific applications; and to partner with physicians to drive design, implementation, and clinical studies of implantable microsystems.

The resulting implantable microsystems aim to solve unmet needs and improve outcomes for a multitude of medical applications such as cancer, hepatitis B&C, sudden cardiac death, HIV, epilepsy, diabetes, musculoskeletal disease, trauma, transplantation, obesity, resuscitation, spinal cord injury, and management of activity under extreme conditions.

The center has established collaborations with physicians and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the West-Penn Allegheny Health System in the areas of neurosurgery, tissue regeneration and cryosurgery. Further collaborations with the medical community are continually being sought.

Some initial projects within CIMM include:

  • a bone strength monitor and an electrical stimulator for tissue and bone regeneration;
  • an electrocorticography system with neural signal processing for prosthetic control (a brain-computer interface);
  • temperature and heat flux multi-sensors for monitoring and controlling thermal surgery and for monitoring brain ischemia;
  • a bedside biochemical monitor capable of continuously monitoring proteins, glucose and drugs, with the eventual goal of developing a fully implantable system; and
  • a MEMS gravimetric sensor for disease marker and chemotherapeutic agent monitoring

The expected long-term outcomes for the Center are:

  • a superior understanding of major diseases and trauma and their associated therapies, through the use of continual, localized monitoring;
  • improvements in outcomes from precision medical interventions;
  • the training of a new generation of engineers that is knowledgeable in medical applications by learning alongside and from physicians, and
  • the creation of translational opportunities for new implantable microsystems by partnering with industry.