• Tier 1 Canada Research Chair on Smart Medical Devices
  • Director of the Microsystems Research Alliance on Smart Medical Devices
  • Founder and Director of the Polystim Neurotechnologies Laboratory

1. I received my Ph.D. in Biomedical Microelectronics in 1990 ;

2. I have a distinguished record of scholarships and have shown outstanding academic leadership in biomedical engineering, particularly in the field of implantable bionics. The list of scholarships as well as national and international awards is shown in my Curriculum Vitae (pages 2-3) ;

3. I have contributed to a great number of publications in biomedical engineering, particularly implantable bionics. My list of contributions as principal author and co-author with my students includes more than 500 scientific publications in books, prestigious scientific journals and conferences (Appendix C) ;

4. I have developed and managed strong relationships and collaborations with the international medical device industry and have a strong record of successful interactions with professional organizations. In fact, I have contributed to the development of several technologies with several companies including Cochlear (Australia) and Medtronic (USA). But finally my discoveries (see list of patents in my resume) were awarded to a Canadian Company (Victhom Human Bionics). I have received financial support and carried out R&D contracts with several local companies including Telemedic, Scanview, Kyvox, etc. (Appendix E) ;

5. I have demonstrated a significant record of excellent achievement in teaching, courseware development and supervision at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I have supervised and co-supervised the Ph.D. theses of more than 38 candidates. 20 of them completed their thesis and half of them are holding academic positions in various universities around the word. 5 others are completing their degree this year. Also, over 80 candidates have completed their master’s thesis and more than 200 undergraduate students have completed their final year project in my laboratory and under my supervision (Appendix D) ;

6. Over the years, I have also managed to attract over $40M in equipment and research infrastructure and almost as much in operating funds from both the federal and provincial governments. My projects also frequently involve the financial support of an industrial collaborator (Appendix F) ;

7. I have demonstrated a record of achievement in academic administration both in my main institution and through 8 others where I am heading a multi-university research center (Appendix B).

Summary of accomplishments

Dr. Sawan has made outstanding contributions in bridging microelectronics into biomedical engineering to build smart medical devices dedicated to improve the quality of human life. For more than a decade his research has been directed towards designing and building wireless implantable microsystems to restore lost sensory ability or functions of body organs through monitoring and low-current stimulation. The medical applications of these microsystems have won Dr. Sawan worldwide visibility and recognition and multiple honors and awards. In particular, he was recently elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the most prestigious honor aspired to by Canadian engineering researchers, and a Fellow of the IEEE, the most prestigious honor aspired to by worldwide electrical engineers. Dr. Sawan was awarded the Medal of Honor from the President of Lebanon for his outstanding achievements, and the J. A. Bombardier Award for research innovation and technology transfer.

Dr. Sawan’s project dealing with visual cortical stimulation was selected as one of Québec’s top 10 inventions in 2000 by Quebec Science magazine. This project has received national and international recognition both in the technical literature and in the popular press and broadcast media. It has been widely reported by news media, such as major Canadian and international TV networks. This project was also cited as a technical breakthrough by many national and international authorities and research agencies. In addition, his project dealing with a bladder controller, which aims at recovering two essential functions (urinary retention and voiding) in spinal-cord injured patients, won the Barbara Turnbull award, one of the most prestigious awards in biomedical research in Canada. This project is one of his most significant contributions. Several versions of these implantable devices have been proposed, assembled, packaged, and tested in vivo. In addition, licenses of three of Dr. Sawan’s research projects were awarded to local companies for testing on human subjects, and subsequent introduction on the market. His research efforts therefore have far-reaching implications for neurological disorders, and injuries of the spinal cord and nervous system. Most of these devices have been evaluated in vivo in collaboration with various surgeons.

Dr. Sawan’s research results have been widely cited in the scientific literature. His innovations are based on innovative circuit techniques covering a wide range of microelectronic building blocks. Most of the medical devices he has proposed have had a great influence on recent neuro-stimulation system architectures. Several companies and research teams have adopted some of these systems and techniques in their own research programs. Dr. Sawan was the first to design, construct and package implantable selective micro-stimulators, to propose remote measurement techniques integrated in one chip, to achieve full-duplex data transmission of remotely powered devices, and to propose on-chip integrated electroneurogram measurement techniques to evaluate the volume of the bladder. In all these designs, a special attention was given to optimizing energy consumption and occupancy of small physical dimensions without compromising on reliability and flexibility. Also, he has made pioneering contributions in modeling the effect of propagated energy during the electromagnetic link and its effects on tissues. In most of these medical applications, Dr. Sawan has played a crucial role in successfully conducting in vivo tests on animals and validating the applied stimulation and measurement techniques.

Dr. Sawan is the holder of a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Smart Medical Devices. He leads the Microsystems Strategic Alliance of Quebec (Regroupement stratégique en microsystèmes du Québec – ReSMiQ). He is the founder of many international scientific committees and meetings such as the Eastern Canadian IEEE-Solid State Circuits Society Chapter and the IEEE-Northeastern workshop on Circuits and Systems (NewCAS). He is the cofounder of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society and of the IEEE conference on Biomedical Circuits and Systems (BioCAS). He also is the founder of the Polystim neurotechnologies laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal.

Dr. Sawan has published over 500 papers in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings and has been awarded 6 patents. He has received over 40 million dollars in grants and contracts from different Canadian agencies and companies. Dr. Sawan has supervised the research work of 30 Ph.D. students (17 completed), over 100 Master’s students (85 completed), and 27 postdoctoral fellows and research assistants (20 completed). He has also supervised the projects of over 200 undergraduate students.

© Mohamad Sawan 2011 / Last Update 14-11-2011