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Mark DeBoer - Pediatrics Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research

Science & Engineering
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Mark DeBoer
Research Focus: 

We are studying adolescents with Type 1 diabetes, a disease in which patients have lost their body’s ability to make insulin and thus require injected insulin to help control their blood sugar.  Unfortunately, diabetes is a complex disease that requires the patient to think about how insulin, food, activity and other factors affect their blood sugar.  This can be difficult for adolescents to do on their own, and studies have shown that this process works better when parents remain involved in some of the diabetes-related decisions.  Our group has developed a new system (CloudConnect) for interpreting trends in blood sugars and alerting the adolescent and parent about how changes in insulin and activity could help control blood sugars better.  This study will recruit 100 adolescents who will be randomized to using our new system or using usual tools for diabetes control.  All adolescents will wear continuous glucose monitors to track their blood sugar levels at all times.  Those on CloudConnect will have the data entered into a computer algorithm to identify trends of high or low blood sugars. We will report these trends to the family and follow the extent of diabetes-related communication that the family engages in.

Position Description: 

This project involves working with a novel health informatics system that incorporates patient data from multiple sources: the adolescent’s continuous glucose monitor, Fitbit tracker, and insulin pump or “smart” injectable insulin pen.  The USOAR student in this project will work with a team including the clinical research coordinator and the engineer running the software, taking data directly from the participant and placing it in a format that can be entered into the computer algorithm. These data are then used to generate a report that the student will help pass on to the adolescent and family. The student will also become familiar with the literature in the field and participate in preliminary data analysis. Depending on interests, the student may be in contact with participants. This position will require some comfort with the use of basic computer programs.  Much of the work is likely to take place later in the week and in particular on Friday mornings.

Required Skills: 

Computer skills for data transfer and simple manipulation.

Computer software: 
The data will need to be entered into MatLab; the student will thus be taught simple methods for MATLAB use.
What will you learn: 

1. Understand the basic issues of how insulin, food, and activity affect blood sugar control in Type 1 diabetes.

2. Understand how data on these variables (insulin, food, and activity) is collected from adolescents in this study.

3. Be able to load data regarding these variables are entered into MatLab to generate a report for the adolescents.

Clinical research, pediatrics, systems engineering