THIRD DAY: 28/08/2020
Initial Presentation

Jorge Monzón presented an overview of the trajectory of Biomedical Engineering during the decade since EMBC’10, an event that he described as an essential milestone in the participation and integration of the discipline in Latin America and a turning point in the contributions of the region to the international sphere.

Exposition of Mg. María de los Ángeles Apólito, Undersecretary of Knowledge Economy, Ministry of Productive Development of the Nation

Mg. Apólito began her presentation by expressing the willingness of the Undersecretariat of the Knowledge Economy to collaborate in the growth of biomedical and diagnostic technology.

She pointed out that the knowledge economy and its activities are a competitive factor that can modify the country’s productive matrix. For this, it is necessary to take advantage of all the scientific-technological potential of state agencies and the capacities of the private sector, to dump all that energy into production.

She pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic clearly showed that, thanks to public universities, the scientific-technological system and the innovative business sector, it was possible to give concrete and timely responses through the development of diagnostic kits and various preventive and therapeutic proposals.

She stressed that the Ministry of Productive Development works jointly with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, coordinating their initiatives and projects so that the knowledge and results obtained with funding from the state sector can return with concrete solutions to society and citizens. The Undersecretariat has, within that cycle, a central role in the last stage of the process, when the knowledge gathered gives rise to validated products that can be used and adopted by society.

She stated that Argentina has always stood out for the excellence of its professionals in the area of bioengineering and biomedical engineering, and that the Undersecretariat has a central role so that knowledge can be channeled into productive activities.

Later, she made reference to the new draft Law on the Knowledge Economy that is in Congress (with a half-sanction in Deputies), the requirements it specifies and the benefits it offers to companies within its scope. She pointed out that this area includes the whole of biomedical engineering, bioengineering, biotechnology, bioinformatics, genetics, clinical trials, software in medical equipment, R&D in health, among others.

She concluded by highlighting that what is sought through this Law is to strengthen production based on knowledge, favoring investment in research and development and training, and calling on the private sector to act – together with universities, research organizations, chambers and civil society organizations – to give effective responses to all of society.

Presentation of Mg. María Apolito:
Presentation and Exposition of Dr. Yosemin Akay (Houston University) Plenary Speaker

Jorge Monzón was in charge of the presentation of Dr. Yosemin Akay for her plenary conference on “Effects of COVID-19 on the brain.”

Dr. Akay began her presentation by stating that COVID-19 not only attacks the respiratory system, but also affects other systems, either from the beginning or after the respiratory infection.

Although the current pandemic has focused on pulmonary, cardiovascular and hematological complications, neurological complications are increasingly recognized in terms of morbidity and mortality.

Complications involving the central nervous system can occur during the initial or advanced phase. Early symptoms may be fever, loss of smell or taste, headache, visual impairment, vertigo, ataxia, and seizures. In advanced stage, neurological complications can combine hypoxia and respiratory or metabolic acidosis; problems that also involve other neurological risks that were specified by the presenter.

Subsequently, she referred, in detailed detail and illustrations, to the following major complications registered in COVID-19 patients: (a) Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), (b) Encephalitis and encephalopathy, (c) Guillain-Barré syndrome, and (d) Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. She then made precise reference to the interactions between drugs recently proposed to treat COVID-19, as well as their possible neurological effects.

She concluded by noting that: (a) Significant neurological complications associated with COVID-19 have been recorded, (b) Some of the drugs used to treat COVID-19 have potential neurological effects and may interact with drugs indicated for pre-existing pathologies, ( c) Doctors treating patients with COVID-19 must be aware of the aforementioned complications, and (d) The best drug against COVID-19 is prevention.

Presentation of Prof. Dra. Yosemin Akay| PLENARY LECTURE: “Covid-19 and Brain”: 
Presentation and Exposition of Dr. Metin Akay (Elected President of IEEE EMBS) Plenary Speaker

Jorge Monzón presented Dr. Metin Akay for his plenary lecture on “Advanced technologies for innovations in health care”

Metin Akay’s presentation included three components: (a) characterization of the IEEE-EMBS, (b) description of markets and innovation hubs, and (c) innovations in biomedical engineering.


In the first part he highlighted that the IEEE EMBS is the largest and oldest organization in the world in the field of biomedical engineering, and provided data on its membership, countries represented, student chapters and clubs, international summer schools, sponsored publications, annual conferences global values, as well as the values and indicators of diversity and inclusion that are manifested in the different aspects of Biomedical Engineering. He concluded this part by convening the EMBC 2021 Conference to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, between July 26 and 30, 2021.

In the second part, relating to markets and innovation centers, he described: (a) the expected evolution of the “main causes of death” between 2004 and 2030, highlighting the notable variations associated with foreseeable changes in the environment, habits and biomedical innovation, (b) the relationship between countries’ gross domestic product and its relevance in technological innovation markets, (c) the value of biopharmaceutical markets (“lifestyle drugs”, oncology drugs, etc.) and of medical devices (cardiovascular, orthopedic, etc.), (d) location and characteristics of the main innovation hubs in the US, highlighting that the respective confluences of academia, industry, and the entrepreneurial disposition for business with innovative products , yields great economic benefits for the institutions and for the country, (e) the biotechnology clusters of the United States and their characteristics (with a focus on Houston-Texas), and (f) the areas with ma greater development potential. He concluded this part by pointing out the following points of attention for the 2020 biomedical engineer: (i) exploit science to develop technologies, (ii) capture new technologies that demand new science, (iii) promote an education that leads to technological advances, ( iv) the greatest opportunities for growth reside in the interface between disciplines (biomedical engineering, biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials science, etc.), and (v) induce in graduates analytical capacity, creativity, ingenuity, professionalism and leadership.

In the third part (innovations in biomedical engineering), he began by stating the following peculiar characteristics of medical innovation: (a) it is essential for the development of health, (b) it contributes to the public good, (c) the discoveries are supported by the public sector, (d) drug development is a lengthy, costly and risky process, (e) end products are strictly regulated and protected by patents, and (f) equitable access to innovation is a critical factor. Later, he presented an overview of some innovation axes that are re-shaping health care and attention, such as implantable or wearable devices (for example: sensors, effectors) (“wearables”), bioprinting of tissues and organs in 3D, the brain-computer interface, artificial intelligence systems, nano-robotics, among others. He concluded by noting that, in terms of access to health care, medical innovation during the last 200 years has been more productive than throughout the rest of recorded human history. The current focus is on improving innovation for developing countries.

Presentation of Prof. Dr. Metin Akay | “Embracing Emerging Technologies for Enhancing Medical Humanism”: 

The closing was in charge of Ricardo Armentano, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, who said that the event resulted in a wealth of knowledge and lessons for all participants.

He characterized as a historic milestone having had two presidents of international institutions as plenary speakers: Prof. Shankar Krishnan, president of the International Federation of Medical Engineering and Biology (IFMBE), and Prof. Metin Akay, president-elect of the Society of Engineering in Medicine and Biology (IEEE-EMBS).

He thanked each of the speakers, exhibitors, moderators and panelists, all the collaborators who contributed to the success of the event, as well as all the participants.

Finally, he expressed his deep gratitude to the members of the Chamber of Medical Diagnostic Institutions (CA.DI.ME), and of the Foundation Institute for Productive and Technological Business Development of Argentina  (Fundación DPT), and particularly to the president of both institutions , Mr. Guillermo Gómez Galizia, for having made this event possible and that it took place –with great efficiency- by virtual means.