Artificial Pancreas: Models, Signals and Control


Claudio Cobelli

Department of Information Engineering,
University of Padova, Italy

11:30 – 12:30
Thursday, 27 August 2015
Brown 3



People with diabetes face a life‑long optimization problem: to maintain strict glycemic control without increasing their risk for hypoglycemia. Since the discovery of insulin in 1921, the external regulation of diabetes became an interdisciplinary endeavor, which included a significant bioengineering component. Over the past 50 years the diabetes technology field progressed remarkably through continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, mathematical models and computer simulation of the glucose system, real-time continuous glucose sensors, and control algorithms driving closed-loop control systems known as the “artificial pancreas” (AP). I will discuss how these bioengineering developments have accelerated AP research and will focus in particular on three key ingredients: the first computer simulator accepted by FDA as a substitute to animal trials in the design of diabetes optimization strategies, the smart glucose sensor concept, and the model predictive control strategies. Following a number of in-clinic trials, the quest for wearable ambulatory AP systems is now under way, with prototypes tested in outpatient and home studies during the past four years. Outpatient results are exciting and show that AP – still not a cure – is arguably the most promising bioengineering treatment of diabetes to date.


Claudio Cobelli is Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Padova, Italy. He has been Chairman of Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering (2000-2009) and Ph.D. Program in Bioengineering (200-2011), University of Padova. His main research activity is in modeling and identification of physiological systems, especially metabolic systems. His research is supported by NIH, JDRF and European Community. He has published 450 papers in internationally refereed journals, co-author of 8 books and holds 11 patents. He is Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering and Journal of Diabetes Science & Technology. He is on the Editorial Board of Diabetes and Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. Dr. Cobelli has been Chairman (1999-2004) of Italian Bioengineering Group; Chairman (1990-1993 & 1993-1996) of IFAC TC on Modeling and Control of Biomedical Systems, and member of IEEE EMBS AdCom Member (2008-2009). He has been a member of the Gruppo di Esperti della Valutazione (GEV), Area 09, of the Agenzia Nazionale per la Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca (ANVUR) for the period 2011-2013. He is President of the Organo di Indirizzo of the Azienda Ospedaliera Universita’ di Trieste. In 2010 he received the Diabetes Technology Artificial Pancreas Research Award. He is Fellow of IEEE, BMES and EAMBES.