The National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed the Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations (PATHS-UP) engineering research center for another five years. With this extension, the PATHS-UP center’s researchers can continue their work in developing revolutionary and cost-effective technologies and point-of-care systems for underserved populations. 

First funded in 2017, the PATHS-UP research center is led by Texas A&M University and partners with the University of California at Los Angeles, Rice University, and FIU. PATHS-UP’s researchers aim to design technologies that can aid in managing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are among the leading causes for morbidity and death around the world. The research center also recruits and educates a diverse team of scientists and engineers to advance the development of cutting-edge technologies that can improve healthcare in underprivileged communities. 

Dr. Jessica Ramella-Roman, associate professor for the BME Department and the site PI for PATHS-UP at FIU, is working on optimizing the functionality of the devices in underserved groups, and specifically she is determining the limits of optical devices in individuals with elevated skin tone and individuals with obesity. Together with Dr. Peggy Wang, professor for the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a co-I in the effort, she is also developing a continuous blood pressure monitoring system.