Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2020
Home Department: Electrical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Ada Poon (Electrical Engineering), Justin Annes (Medicine – Endocrinology, Gerontology, & Metabolism), and Joseph Wu (Medicine – Cardiovascular Medicine and Radiology)

Research Title: An Implantable Artificial Pancreas Using Direct Electrical Depolarization of Beta Cells to Control Insulin Release

Research Description: Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder of glucose homeostasis caused by beta-cell destruction and insulin insufficiency. Available systems to treat T1D include electronic artificial pancreases, which are limited by the need for exogenous insulin replenishment; and biological systems, which are limited by the difficulty of co-localizing glucose sensing and hormone release while maintaining immune isolation. Ella’s work aims to develop an implantable artificial pancreas that spatially separates an electronic glucose sensor from an immune-isolated, electrically-controlled cellular insulin source, to control insulin release via device-triggered depolarization of implanted beta-cells. This hybrid system will combine the advantages of electronic and biological systems into an implant for better patient outcomes.


Ella is an electrical engineer at Microsoft.