Ari D. Brooks, MD - Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery

Translational Engineering

Dr. Brooks is a Surgical Oncologist who has a special interest in device development in Medicine.  He has experience in bringing new technologies from needs assessment through the engineering lab and through pre clinical and clinical studies.  Most of his work is done in collaboration with engineers and small businesses who are looking to solve today's healthcare problems with new technologies.

Dr. Brooks is also a member of a grass-roots group that is working with the engineering school to develop expertise around device development in medicine.  This group is gathering the experts and the students together to spin off new ideas into companies here at Penn.

Current Projects

  1. The Piezo-Electric Finger breast exam device.  Now called the iBE (intelligent breast exam), this device is a handheld module that quantifies and records a palpation type breast examination.  The device uses 16 'fingers' to palpate the breast in each area determining the presence or absence of masses within the tissue below.  The readout is a color map that does not require a radiologist for interpretation, and would allow other health care providers to do quantitative breast exams.  A new clinical screening trial is starting in the imaging center at Pennsylvania Hospital.  The next phase of study will be done in medically underserved areas such as India and Brazil.
  2. Quantum Dots for margin detection in breast cancer surgery.  This technology is based on the durability and high luminesence of Quantum Dots for use in 'painting' and rapidly imaging the surgical specimen after excision.  The idea is to quickly determine if there is a positive margin based on this rapid whole tissue staining/imaging technique.  A clinical trial will begin in Spring 2015.
  3. Natural Language Processing in Evidence Based Medicine.  In conjunction with Computer Science and the Penn Center for Evidence Based Practice, this project seeks to develop software that is able to filter the medical literature during a comprehensive review to identify the relevant papers for review. Additionally, this software should be able to pull out key facts and help score the paper on several axes with regard to relavence, validity, and methodological factors.  This study is still in the design phase.