The Heart of the Matter


Igor Efimov gets straight to the heart of the matter with his work in the Department of Biomedical Engineering within GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

Dr. Efimov, chair of the department and the inaugural Alisann and Terry Collins Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has advanced new therapies in cardiovascular health that are at the forefront of medicine and technology. His current research focuses on an implantable, custom-fit device that wraps around a patient’s heart and detects impending cardiac arrest—and that has the potential to revolutionize the pacemaker industry in the coming years.

Unlike a traditional implantable defibrillator that can deliver up to 1,000 volts of electricity to the heart, Igor’s cardiac implant applies 100 times less energy. It uses sensors on the device to send signals to a smartphone, which gives doctors real-time data on the heart’s functions. It also provides a high-definition view of the heart, resulting in more precise, accurate disease monitoring. Every year, an estimated 600,000 people in the United States die from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Established through a gift from GW Trustee Terry Collins, DSc ’76, and his late wife, Alisann, the Collins professorship is an endowed faculty position in biomedical engineering or a related discipline. The professorship is part of a $2.5 million gift from the family that also provides scholarships for eight students and support for faculty in SEAS.

“We decided to provide a gift to help give others the power to change their lives. Biomedical engineering is a rapidly growing field that holds the promise of helping humanity in ways that few other fields can.”

– Terry Collins, DSc ’76, GW Board of Trustees

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