NEPA Scene Staff

Northeast PA Innovation Conference in Scranton covers latest bioscience and health tech Aug. 10-11

Northeast PA Innovation Conference in Scranton covers latest bioscience and health tech Aug. 10-11
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From a press release:

Wilkes University’s Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and tecBRIDGE are hosting the second annual Northeast Pennsylvania Innovation Conference at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center on Thursday, Aug. 10 and Friday, Aug. 11. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the conference opening at 9 a.m.

This year’s conference theme centers on bioscience and technology with a focus on significant bioscience research, commercialization efforts, and community initiatives occurring in the region, along with existing resources for professionals. The closing of the conference will include a discussion of the future of bioscience. Attendees will explore the advancements being made in the bioscience field occurring at college and university laboratories, businesses, firms, and healthcare systems.

Nationally recognized keynote speakers will also present at the two-day event, including:

  • Nancy Lawton-Kluck, chief philanthropy officer of Geisinger Health System in Danville, will present on healthcare solutions through philanthropy at a national and global scale.
  • Dr. Michael Murray, director of clinical genomics at the Genomic Medicine Institute, will offer a discussion on GenomeFIRST, a subset of MyCode Community Health Initiative.
  • Dr. Stephen Dahmer, chief medical officer of Vireo Health, will present on the use of cannabinoid-based medicines in the treatment of chronic pain.
  • Dr. Ken Kester, vice president of Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, will address development of vaccines and roles he has served in the field of infectious disease research.

Attendees will gain insight into medical devices, healthcare innovations, bioinformatics, as well as research and discovery through four breakout panels featuring leading regional professionals. Panel topics include the future of breast cancer imaging, detection, and monitoring; using machine intelligence to cure Lyme disease; the hidden costs of healthcare; and advancements in teaching cardiovascular physiology.

Sessions by panelists, expert presentations, and invited poster displays from top high school and college students will also be included in the conference.

The two-day conference fee is $150 per participant. For more information and to register, visit

Four Wilkes University professors will present their research at the Northeast Pennsylvania Innovation Conference. They are involved in significant research in bioscience and are among more than 30 keynote speakers, invited presenters, and panelists presenting their research.

Abas Sabouni, assistant professor of electrical engineering, and Gregory Harms, associate professor and chair of physics, will be presenting in the medical device track.

Sabouni’s presentation, “Future Technology for Breast Cancer Imaging, Detection, and Monitoring Treatment,” will focus on his research in the area of low-power microwave tissue monitoring for breast cancer detection, which relies on the contrast between the electrical properties of tumors and normal breast tissue. The technique has many benefits, including the fact that it is non-ionizing, requires low-power levels of illumination, is low cost, and may not require the breast compression that is used in mammography. He will also talk about the development of a wireless sensor to monitor the regrowth of cancer in order to increase the quality of the life for breast cancer survivors.

Harms will discuss “Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease in Model Mice: Imaging, Behavior, and Blood Biomarker Analysis.” His research focuses on retrieval of information to detect the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Techniques includes whole-brain imaging with retrograde labeling, behavioral and clinical analysis, and screening of blood-born biomarkers of RNA, lipids, and metabolites to link neural dysfunction to new biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.

William Terzaghi, professor of biology, and Del Lucent, assistant professor of physics, will be presenting as part of the bioinformatics track. Bioinformatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data.

Terzaghi is presenting “Using Bioinformatics and Synthetic Biology for Bioremediation of Atrazine and to Develop Novel Treatments for Kidney Stones.” His research applies bioinformatics to identify genes which can be used to develop plants that can detoxify atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S. He also will discuss three techniques utilizing bioinformatics to alleviate kidney stones. Most kidney stones are caused by excess calcium oxalate. His research includes redesigning the DNA of enzymes that destroy oxalate and modifying probiotic E. coli to express the enzymes to destroy oxalate in the digestive system.

Lucent will present “Protein Folding and Design: Interdisciplinary Science in a Digital Laboratory.” Proteins – the molecules that sustain all life – must somehow know how to fold into the correct shape needed to sustain all of the processes of life. Using state-of-the-art data science techniques combined with cloud computing, Lucent collects data that could enable treatment for numerous diseases that occur when proteins mis-fold in the human body. It has implications for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Lucent will explain how the protein-folding knowledge can be applied to he field of bioengineering, allowing us to design proteins with great potential to rectify national and global problems.