Francis J. Doyle III, Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
Doyle, who focuses his research in the areas of systems biology and biomedical control, is among 79 newly elected NAM members who were chosen by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. He is being honored for leadership in the field of biomedical control and for pioneering the design of control algorithms to enable the commercial development of the artificial pancreas.
As co-principal investigator of the artificial pancreas project, he leads a multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists who are developing an automated system to regulate the blood sugar levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Key members of the collaborative team that made great strides on the clinical translation of the engineering design are Dr. Howard Zisser, MD, presently with Verily Life Sciences, and Dr. Eyal Dassau, Research Fellow at SEAS.
Doyle’s research group also studies circadian rhythms and the links between a human’s “biological clock” performance and cognitive function. In addition, his team builds statistical and mathematical models to gain insights into the mechanisms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Doyle, the John A. and Elizabeth Armstrong Professor of Engineering & Applied Sciences, assumed leadership of SEAS on July 1, 2015, after serving as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering at the University of California. He also serves as Adjunct Senior Investigator at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara. He previously held faculty positions at the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University and the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware.
A prolific researcher, Doyle has co-authored more than 300 publications. He was recently honored with the 2015 Control Engineering Practice Award from the American Automatic Control Council, and is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Researchers will soon undertake one of the largest-ever long-term clinical trials of a system designed to help regulate blood sugar levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus. If the scientists’ so-called artificial pancreas system performs in patients as they hope, it could lead to commercial trials and eventual regulatory approval in the United States and abroad.
With $12.7 million in support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the system developed by a team of researchers from the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will be tested in 240 patients at nine sites in the United States and Europe. The two six-month trials will begin early this year, in collaboration with other institutional partners.
“The idea is that this can lead to an improved quality of life for individuals with this disease — not a solution to diabetes, but a means to really extend the quality of their healthful living,” said co-principal investigator and engineering lead on the project, Francis J. Doyle III, dean and John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard SEAS.
Francis J. Doyle III, a distinguished scholar in chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), has been appointed the next dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and will take the reins on Aug. 1.
Doyle most recently served as associate dean for research at UCSB’s College of Engineering, where he instigated a major push into bioengineering. He led faculty at two colleges in developing a strategic vision for research and education and in programming and designing a state-of-the-art facility. As founding associate director in 2003 and now director of the multicampus Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, Doyle brings together the research and educational efforts of 55 faculty spanning 15 departments and the campuses of UCSB, Caltech, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As a scholar, Doyle applies systems engineering principles to the analysis of regulatory mechanisms in biological systems. His work includes the design of drug-delivery devices for diabetes; modeling, analysis, and control of gene regulatory networks underlying circadian rhythms; and computational analysis for developing diagnostics for post-traumatic stress disorder. Doyle also applies control schemes to nonlinear, multivariable, constrained industrial processes such as particulate systems and pulp and paper operations, and works on control aspects of sheet/film processes.
Doyle has been named a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the International Federation of Automatic Control, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.