Northern California Science Writers Association


  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Spice Monkey, 1628 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612
  • 22


  • (One guest allowed at member price)

Registration is closed

Your cellphone can already find your car and tell you what song is playing at the bar. How about an app to screen for eye disease?

By coupling the sophisticated imaging capabilities of smartphone cameras with lenses and software for examining the retina, UC Berkeley’s Daniel Fletcher and his students have developed a hand-held, user-friendly version of the eye doctor’s ophthalmoscope and are teaming up with clinical collaborators to detect retinal disease caused by diabetes.

Dr. Fletcher, professor of bioengineering, will describe this and other small, economical medical devices his lab has perfected, and discuss the potential for such devices to aid a phone user’s self-diagnosis. In 2009, his group developed a mobile phone-based otoscope, an instrument used to detect ear infections.  They formed a startup company, CellScope Inc., and the instrument is now on the market.

The team is now working on a project to tackle river blindness in West Africa using a portable smartphone-based microscope that contains software to determine in a pinprick of blood if a drug for the disease can be safely given to patients.

Schedule (tentative):

6 pm Drinks

7 pm Dinner

8 pm Speaker

Menu: Steak, chicken, and tofu "street tacos"; seasonal autumn veggies; hummus and falafel platter; grilled tofu; and star anise brined chicken.

Price: Members $24/Nonmembers $35/Students $15

Registration/cancellation deadline: 12 midnight Friday, March 8, 2019

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