IEEE Life Sciences talks with Mohamad Sawan, Professor, Polytechnique Montreal, and General Chair of this year’s IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) Conference about the growth in life sciences connections.
IEEE LS: What research areas are the focus at this year’s conference?
MS: ISCAS is the flagship event of the IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society. The topics of this annual symposium cover theory, design, implementation, and tests of CAS for all types of applications (security, telecommunications, multimedia, power, control, and of particular interest, the biomedical and life science applications). The theme of this year’s conference is “Toward Innovative Nanosystems for Greater Well Being,” and to support it, two out of three keynotes are related to life sciences and biomedical engineering. These keynotes are: 1) “Analog and Stochastic Computation in Living Cells and Cytomorphic Chips,” and 2) “Clinical and Research Challenges in Vascular Diseases.”
Also, the biocircuits and biosystems (BioCAS) community is growing, where colleagues deal with advances in medical devices and techniques such as biosensors and actuators and brain-machine interfaces.
IEEE LS: What were the reasons behind choosing this theme? Why on a focus on “Greater Well Being”?
MS: Actually, advanced technologies and circuits and systems techniques allow us to build smart devices for better diagnostics and to understand the body functions, in particular the brain, and propose treatment to solve or enhance human functions. The BioCAS community within this symposium is committed to push these above directions.
IEEE LS: What potential does research in the circuits and systems area have for health and well being?
MS: Several research areas for health and well being are emerging within ISCAS. Among them are the neuroengineering field, which requires sensing tools and actuators such as several types of stimulators, brain-machine interfaces, as well as all kinds of medical instrumentations, imaging techniques, lab-on-chip hybrid structures for cell manipulation and monitoring, and DNA sequencing for miniaturized tools.
IEEE LS: In general, what areas are seeing innovation and growth in the field?
MS: Every year, we identify the annual grand challenges, and this year the committee identified the following three topics: Green Telecommunications, Wireless Microsensors, and Green Power. These challenges emerge from the reviews of all submitted contributions, from the quality and quantity of corresponding contributions, from the concentration of submitted contributions, and from the priority given by authors to these emerging fields.
IEEE LS: What do you hope attendees take away from this year’s conference?
MS: We would like them to remember the Montréal’s edition forever! Actually, we added several new technical activities and programs, such as Late Breaking News, Transactions papers, Emerging CAS (CASFEST), and Pitch your Startup. Networking opportunities will continue to be important, and the conference venue will support this. We hope attendees will be impressed by the richness of the overall program, the quality of contributions, and also, the beauty of Montréal.
Cynthia Weber, PhD, is Associate Editor for the IEEE Life Sciences Newsletter.