2018: Dr Timothy Angeli, University of Auckland, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, has been awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship for research entitled: ‘Electrophysiologically-based diagnostics and therapeutics for gastrointestinal disorders: bridging the gap from engineering benchtop to clinical bedside.’
Dr Timothy Angeli is a Senior Research fellow at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute of the University of Auckland with multidisciplinary interests spanning the fields of biomedical engineering, experimental physiology, gastroenterology and surgery. His research has been published in high-impact international journals and further highlighted by numerous editorials and international research awards. Since being awarded his MSc from the University of Michigan, USA and his PhD from the University of Auckland in 2014, he has built a research group consisting of two PhD students and a Masters student. In addition, he is an associate investigator of the MedTech Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), an affiliated researcher with the Riddet Institute CoRE and has numerous collaborations with national and international research groups.
Symptomatic gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders affect up to 25% of the population and are characterised by severe recurrent nausea, bloating, pain and vomiting. Diagnosis can take months or even years, and once diagnosed therapeutic options are routinely inadequate. Similar to the heart, the contractions in the stomach during digestion are initiated and coordinated by underlying bioelectrical waves, termed ‘slow waves.’ In the healthy stomach, slow waves consistently propagate in an organised pattern. Abnormal slow wave patterns, termed ‘dysrhythmias,’ have been associated with many digestive disorders, creating a target for diagnosis and treatment. However, current approaches for detecting GI dysrhythmias require invasive surgery, and there is no proven therapy for correcting these dysrhythmias.
In this Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Dr Angeli will establish the Laboratory for TrAnslational Research in Gastroenterology and Emerging Technologies Laboratory (TARGET Lab) which will contribute a new generation of minimally-invasive, electrophysiologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for GI disorders. A prototype device for high-resolution endoscopic (via the throat) gastric electrical mapping will be applied to define the slow wave patterns in patients with healthy stomachs versus with digestive disorders, expanding our understanding of dysrhythmias and validating endoscopic mapping as a minimally-invasive detection method. New iterations of this device will be designed to integrate stretchable circuit technology, and temperature and pressure sensors. A custom analysis and visualisation pipeline will be developed for endoscopic mapping data, creating a clinically-useful diagnostic package. In parallel, gastric ablation therapy will be developed and validated as a method for treating dysrhythmias. This fellowship will directly address the urgent need for new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to address symptomatic GI motility disorders.