An eye toward better treatment

David Walsh, a doctoral candidate in the lab of associate professor Shashi Murthy, has developed a device that could improve monitoring and treatment efficacy for diseases of the eye. Photo by Mariah Tauger.
David Walsh, a doctoral candidate in the lab of associate professor Shashi Murthy, has developed a device that could improve monitoring and treatment efficacy for diseases of the eye. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Every two months, North­eastern bio­engi­neering grad­uate stu­dent David Walsh’s 91-​​year-​​old grand­mother goes to the doctor to receive a drug injec­tion into her eyes. She has wet age-​​related mac­ular degen­er­a­tion. There is no cure, only this inva­sive, recur­ring treatment.

“She wor­ries a lot because she goes in, they inject her, and she leaves, and since the effect of the drugs is so gradual, she doesn’t know if it’s working or not,” said Walsh.

“She wor­ries that maybe she got too much drug, not enough drug, or if the drug is doing any­thing at all for her condition.”

To solve this problem, Walsh is devel­oping a device that will pro­vide valu­able feed­back to patients such as his grand­mother and their clinicians.

As a member of asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­ical engi­neering Shashi Murthy’s lab, Walsh helps design microflu­idic devices that use a single drop of blood or other bodily fluid to diag­nose a range of dis­eases. In work recently reported in the journal Lab On a Chip, Walsh and his col­leagues have cre­ated a device that mon­i­tors the effi­cacy of treat­ments for two eye dis­eases: age-​​related mac­ular degen­er­a­tion and dia­betic retinopathy

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