The Coastal Star

Health Notes: Neurologist joins Boca Raton Regional; teen reaches finals in 3M Scientist Challenge

By Christine Davis

    Pooja Patel, M.D.,  is now part of Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute and BocaCare physician network and will be director of the institute’s epilepsy monitoring unit. 
    She is a board-certified general neurologist who is fellowship-trained in clinical neurophysiology. Patel’s clinical specialties include epilepsy and headaches.

FAU High’s Devin Willis, 14, made a machine that he says can improve cancer diagnoses. Photo provided

    While he did not take the top prize, Florida Atlantic University High School freshman Devin Willis, 14, did compete as a finalist in the Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge in October.
    He developed a “Slidemap” machine that improves the speed and accuracy of a cancer diagnosis. Using a 20X microscope, the machine captures several images of a tumor at the cellular level, then uses an algorithm to stitch the images together. The final image is passed through a neural network to analyze the tumor and determine whether it’s benign or cancerous.
    “I recently read that when pathologists were given the same tissue sample, they agreed on a diagnosis only 75 percent of the time,” Devin said. “I hope this machine can create more consistency among diagnoses.”
    He got the idea for “Slidemap” from his dad, Scooter Willis, who works in data analytics for cancer research.
 “My dad knew I loved robotics and computer programming and thought this would be a great project for me,” Devin Willis said.
    He’s been building and developing “Slidemap” since he was in sixth grade. Last year, he made a two-minute video about his invention and submitted it to the Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge. He was chosen as a finalist in June.
   Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine unveiled its newly expanded 8,000-square-foot Clinical Skills Simulation Center in October.  At its ribbon-cutting ceremony, nurses participated in exercises using human-like mannequins that simulate medical emergencies, and first-year medical students practiced their skills while working with actors posing as patients. Jeff Atwater, vice president for strategic initiatives and CFO; Dean Phillip M. Boiselle, M.D.; Senior Associate Dean Sarah K. Wood, M.D.; and community leaders were in attendance.

    Send health news to Christine Davis at

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