Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

University of Memphis awarded $5.9m mhealth research

Steve Rogerson
August 11, 2020

The University of Memphis has received a $5.9m grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build a national centre for AI-based mhealth research.
The biomedical technology resource centre (BTRC), called MDot for the mhealth centre for discovery, optimisation and translation of temporally-precise interventions, will be headquartered at the university’s MD2K Center of Excellence.
The multidisciplinary MDot team consists of researchers in artificial intelligence (AI), mobile computing, wearable sensors, privacy and precision medicine from the University of Memphis, Harvard University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at San Francisco.
One of the biggest drivers of the USA’s rising health care spending is providing care for patients with chronic diseases, many of which are linked to daily behaviour and exposures such as dietary choices, sedentary behaviour, stress and addiction.
The centre will be a national technology resource for improving people’s health and wellness. It will conduct AI research to produce easily deployable wearables, apps for wearables and smartphones, and a companion cloud system. Its technology will aim to enable patients to initiate and sustain the healthy lifestyle choices necessary to prevent or successfully manage the growing burden of multiple chronic conditions.
“Researchers and industry innovators can leverage MDot’s technological resources to create the next generation of mhealth technology that is highly personalised to each user, transforming people’s health and wellness,” said Santosh Kumar, lead investigator of MDot and director of MD2K Center of Excellence.
To ensure MDot’s technology can be used by scientists to solve real-world problems, it will be working closely with more than a dozen other federally funded projects to engage in joint technology development, testing and large-scale real-life deployment. To fuel mhealth technology innovation in the industry, it will establish an industry consortium to provide access to its latest research and seek feedback to inform its research.
“This latest award not only appropriately recognises the expertise and impact of Dr Kumar and his team, the importance of their life-changing work, but also the remarkable progress of the University of Memphis as a national research university,” said UofM president David Rudd.
The centre will be administered by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering (NIBIB).
“The MDot centre will be the first BTRC focused on developing innovative mhealth technologies,” said MDot’s programme officer Tiffani Lash, director of the NIBIB programme in connected health. “It is positioned to empower scientists to discover, personalise and deliver temporally precise mhealth interventions and treatments, ensuring that health and wellness tools are delivered at the right moment, via the right personal device and is optimised to have the most influence.”
The MD2K Center of Excellence for mobile sensor data-to-knowledge, headquartered in the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis, was established in 2014 by a grant from NIH under its big-data-to-knowledge (BD2K) initiative. It has developed mobile sensor big data technologies to improve health and wellness. MD2K’s open-source software platforms for smartphones and the cloud are used across the nation to conduct scientific studies.