What an honor! I was invited to be the guest lecture in a grad level course on “Engineering Human Potential”.  In this course students were being introduced to a range of topics on cutting edge technologies and approaches that can be used to “enhance human potential” and in particular, ways that researchers at UCI are developing capabilities to track human physiology through wearable devices. I was encouraged to discuss how these devices might be used in the context of the “self-tracking”/ “biohacking” measures that diabetic patients are already taking. While I am certainly not the innovators or direct biohackers, I am a kind of early adopter of these do-it-yourself technologies, for which I have enormous respect and gratitude. 

The class instructor is Dr. Timothy Downing (age 31, YOUNG!!!), assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, whose research demonstrates how extracellular signals can influence the final fate of cells. His discoveries have larger implications in the field of biomedical engineering, including regenerative medicine. In being able to guide neuronal tissue formation, challenges like spinal cord repair may be better met. He has 2 PhD degrees (UC Berkeley and UCSF) and was listed by Forbes magazine on their list of 30 Under 30 for Science (https://www.forbes.com/30-under-30-2017/science/#6c3d989027fa). Nothing intimidating there!!! (Thanks Dr. Elliot Botvinick for the opportunity!)

I told my story from my diagnosis 53 years ago (and the medications and technologies that were available in the “dark ages”) up through the #WeAreNotWaiting movement and do-it-yourself closed looping.  We discussed why “we are not waiting” and the ethics of those who develop better algorithms that are currently approved and available. 

I also gave 4 of the 25 class members a private task sheet (see below) to “mimic” the constancy and interruptions of living with T1.  Let me know what you think of the task.  Interestingly, 2 members even had trouble understanding the instructions … and all struggled with keeping track for a full 15 minutes!

It was a rousing afternoon … and I was thrilled to share what is going on in this amazing do-it-yourself community.  I directed them to explore the FaceBook groups for Loopers, CGM in the Cloud, Nightscout and more … and to take the time to talk to those of us who are jumping into the future without the net of the FDA.  Once again, thank you Kate Farnsworth, Katie Disimone, Pete Schwamb, Jeremy Lucas, Wes Nordgrun, Brandon Arbiter, Tim Street, Ben West, Dana Lewis, John Costik, James Wedding and more!  THANK YOU!


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