Dr. Saif Ahmad
Scientist, Inventor, Engineer
Complex physiological systems like the human body exhibit considerable chaos and variability in health and illness. The behaviors, patterns, and noise characterizing these systems defy the laws of linearity, reductionism, and classical homeostasis.
The analysis of physiological systems based on theories and insights adapted from complex systems science, computer science, and interactive decision support systems promises to have a far-reaching influence on biology and medicine. Dr. Saif Ahmad’s research focus is on this emerging area of science and technology that transcends across disciplines to solve the most challenging problems.
This work includes the development of modern medical devices and intelligent algorithms for analyzing and assessing the characteristics of complex physiological systems.
The research outcomes promise to provide accurate and effective insights into human health, fitness, and longevity.
2018 - Present
With over 16 years of experience in the medical devices industry in Canada, Dr. Ahmad leads the R&D efforts at Healthsign. He works on all aspects of conceptualizing, designing, and developing innovative health monitoring devices. Dr. Ahmad also architects novel signal processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and statistical analysis algorithms that analyze physiological data for providing diagnostics and alerts.
At Healthsign, Dr. Ahmad and his team have developed the patented Healthsign Smart Wristband, which is the first wearable that integrates proprietary biosensors and algorithms to accurately monitor key human vital signs including non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP), blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), temperature, respiration rate, and heart rate.
Founder & CEO
2016 - Present
Saiftron is a Canadian federal corporation focusing on the development of highly interactive health, fitness, and educational applications that accomplish advanced data analysis on mobile devices, leading to convenient and accurate decision-making.
As Founder & CEO of Saiftron, Dr. Ahmad’s vision is to bring technologies like digital signal processing (DSP), intelligent algorithms, pattern recognition, and statistical analysis to smartphones and smartwatches, thus enabling these devices to be used: (i) as powerful decision support systems and (ii) for disseminating knowledge to a wide audience.
Currently, Saiftron has two applications on the Apple App Store called Wave Whiz and ECG Wiz. While Wave Whiz is a comprehensive wavelet analysis suite, ECG Wiz is an interactive DSP tool for re-sampling, filtering, peak detection, and heart rate variability analysis.
At the University of Ottawa, Dr. Ahmad worked on developing novel biosensors, instrumentation, and algorithms for non-invasively monitoring physiological parameters like NIBP, electrocardiogram (ECG), respiration, bioelectrical impedance, cardiac output, arterial stiffness, pulse rate variability, and SpO2.
Dr. Saif Ahmad’s work at the University of Ottawa led to the development of the patented ECG-assisted blood pressure monitoring technology that was geared towards accurate measurement of systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure in patients with the most challenging chronic conditions like atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure.
Dr. Ahmad was also the co-founder and CTO of a University of Ottawa spin-off called Health Parametrics Inc. (HPI) that was launched in 2011 to commercialize the ECG-assisted blood pressure monitoring technology. At HPI, Dr. Ahmad and his team successfully developed four industrial grade prototypes of the ECG-assisted blood pressure monitor. Results of clinical studies on normal subjects and AF patients were promising whereby HPI’s technology was found to be more accurate than commercially available reference devices for assessing blood pressure.
During his stint at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Ahmad and colleagues published over 15 research articles in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings.
During his postdoctoral work at The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Ahmad developed and employed a plurality of mathematical, statistical, and computational techniques for exploring the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic value of monitoring physiological dynamics like heart rate variability and respiratory variability. In particular, he developed algorithms for computing metrics such as wavelet variance, detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA), approximate entropy (ApEn), sample entropy (SampEn), multiscale entropy (MSE), fast Fourier transform (FFT), Poincaré plot analysis, power law analysis, and time irreversibility. He then utilized these metrics to analyze ECG and respiratory airflow data for characterizing cardiopulmonary variability in: (i) healthy subjects during exercise, (ii) critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), and (iii) sick outpatients.
Of note was the THRIVE (Temperature and Heart Rate Investigation along with Continuous Variability Evaluation) study whereby Dr. Ahmad and his team employed Holter monitors in conjunction with specialized multiparameter heart rate variability analysis algorithms to predict the onset of sepsis 24-48 hours prior to its clinical diagnosis in neutropenic bone marrow transplant (BMT) outpatients. Results of the THRIVE investigation were published in PLoS One. Moreover, the study was also accorded front page coverage in the Ottawa Citizen.
Key engineering activities included:
- Installing, commissioning, testing, operating, troubleshooting, and maintaining electrical equipment: gas turbine generators (2 x 25 megawatts), diesel generator sets (up to 400 kilo-volt amperes), low tension (LT) and high tension (HT) alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) motors, LT & HT transformers, LT & HT switchboards with air and vacuum circuit breakers.
- Spares and inventory management.
- Implementation of ISO 9002 and 14001 at workplace.
Publications & Talks
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Leadless electrocardiogram monitor,” Issued Canadian Patent, CA 3132984, March 08, 2022 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “A smart wristband for multiparameter physiological monitoring,” PCT Publication, WO2021174366, September 10, 2021 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Smart wristband for multiparameter physiological monitoring,” Allowed US Patent Application, US20210275043A1, September 09, 2021 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Leadless electrocardiogram monitor,” PCT Publication, WO2020181367, September 17, 2020 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Leadless ECG monitoring via electrode switching,” Granted US Patent, US 10,694,966 B1, June 30, 2020 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Leadless ECG monitoring via fusion of DSP and analog signal conditioning techniques,” Granted US Patent, US 10,582,868 B1, March 10, 2020 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.K. Garg, “Leadless ECG monitor,” Granted US Patent, US 10,463,302 B1, November 05, 2019 (Download).
- I. Batkin, S. Ahmad, M. Bolic, V. Groza, H. Dajani, and M. Forouzanfar, “Apparatus and method for ECG-assisted blood pressure measurement,” Issued Canadian Patent, CA 2776204, February 24, 2015 (Download).
- P. Tanwar, P. Kumar, S. Rawat, M. Mohammadian, and S. Ahmad, “Computational Intelligence and Predictive Analysis for Medical Science: A Pragmatic Approach,” eBook ISBN: 9783110715279, Hardcover ISBN: 9783110714982, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2021 (Book URL).
- S. Baktash, M. Forouzanfar, I. Batkin, M. Bolic, V. Groza, S. Ahmad, and H. Dajani, “Characteristic Ratio-Independent Arterial Stiffness-Based Blood Pressure Estimation,” IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 1263-1270, 2017 (Download).
- I. Koohi, I. Batkin, V. Groza, S. Shirmohammadi, H. Dajani, and S. Ahmad, “Metrological Characterization of a Method for Blood Pressure Estimation Based on Arterial Lumen Area Model,” IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 734-745, 2017 (Download).
- I. Koohi, S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, V. Groza, S. Shirmohammadi, and H. Dajani, “Dynamic Threshold Algorithm to Evaluate Trustworthiness of the Estimated Blood Pressure in Oscillometry,” IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Magazine, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 26-35, 2016 (Download).
- M. Forouzanfar, S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, H. Dajani, V. Groza, and M. Bolic, “Model-Based Mean Arterial Pressure Estimation Using Simultaneous Electrocardiogram and Oscillometric Blood Pressure Measurements,” IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol. 64, no. 9, pp. 2443-2452, 2015 (Download).
- M. Forouzanfar, S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, H. Dajani, V. Groza, and M. Bolic, “Coefficient-Free Blood Pressure Estimation Based on Pulse Transit Time-Cuff Pressure Dependence,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 60, no. 7, pp. 1814-1824, 2013 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, O. Kelly, H. Dajani, M. Bolic, and V. Groza, “Multi-Parameter Physiological Analysis in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Simulated With Mueller Maneuver,” IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol. 62, no. 10, pp. 2751-2762, 2013 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, S. Chen, K. Soueidan, I. Batkin, M. Bolic, H. Dajani, and V. Groza, “Electrocardiogram-Assisted Blood Pressure Estimation,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 608-618, 2012 (Download).
- R.G. Armstrong, S. Ahmad, A.J.E Seely, and G.P. Kenny, “Heart rate variability and baroreceptor sensitivity following exercise-induced hyperthermia in endurance trained men,” European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 112, no. 2, pp. 501-511, 2012 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, M. Bolic, H. Dajani, V. Groza, I. Batkin, and S. Rajan, “Measurement of Heart Rate Variability Using an Oscillometric Blood Pressure Monitor,” IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol. 59, no. 10, pp. 2575-2590, 2010 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, A. Tejuja, K.D. Newman, R. Zarychanski, and A.J.E Seely, “A Review and Analysis of Heart Rate Variability and the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Infection,” Critical Care, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 232: 1-7, 2009 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, T. Ramsay, L. Huebsch, S. Flanagan, S. McDiarmid, I. Batkin, L. McIntyre, S.R. Sundaresan, D.E. Maziak, F.M. Shamji, P. Hebert, D. Fergusson, A. Tinmouth, and A.J.E. Seely, “Continuous Multi-Parameter Heart Rate Variability Analysis Heralds Onset of Sepsis in Adults,” PLoS One, vol. 4, no. 8, pp. e6642: 1-10, 2009 (Download).
- I. Koohi, I. Batkin, V. Groza, S. Shirmohammadi, H. Dajani, and S. Ahmad, “Coefficient-free blood pressure estimation based on arterial lumen area oscillations in oscillometric methods,” Proceedings of the IEEE 9th International Symposium on Intelligent Signal Processing (WISP), Siena, Italy, May 2015 (Download).
- I. Koohi, S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, V. Groza, S. Shirmohammadi, H. Dajani, and E. Petriu, “Method for evaluation of trustworthiness of oscillometric blood pressure measurements,” Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Medical Measurements and Applications (MeMeA), Torino, Italy, May 2015 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, S. Chen, K. Soueidan, I. Batkin, M. Bolic, H. Dajani, and V. Groza, “A Prototype of an Integrated Blood Pressure and Electrocardiogram Device for Multi-Parameter Physiologic Monitoring,” Proceedings of the International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (I2MTC), Austin, Texas, USA, May 2010 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, M. Bolic, H. Dajani, and V. Groza, “Wavelet Estimation of Pulse Rate Variability from Oscillometric Blood Pressure Measurements,” Proceedings of the IEEE International Workshop on Medical Measurements and Applications (MeMeA), Cetraro, Italy, May 2009 (Download).
- A. Popoola, S. Ahmad, and K. Ahmad, “Multiscale Wavelet Preprocessing for Fuzzy Systems,” Proceedings of the IEEE ICSC Congress on Computational Intelligence Methods and Applications (CIMA), Istanbul, Turkey, December 2005 (Download).
- A. Popoola, S. Ahmad, and K. Ahmad, “A Fuzzy-Wavelet Method for Analyzing Non-Stationary Time Series,” Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Recent Advances in Soft Computing (RASC), Nottingham, UK, December 2004 (Download).
- K. Ahmad, T. Taskaya, D. Cheng, L. Gillam, S. Ahmad, H. Traboulsi, and J. Nankervis, “FinGrid: Financial Information Grid: an ESRC e-Social Science Pilot Project for the Financial Markets,” Proceedings of UK e-Science All Hands Meeting (AHM), Nottingham, UK, September 2004 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, T. Taskaya, and K. Ahmad, “Summarizing Time Series: Learning Patterns in ‘Volatile’ Series,” Z.R. Yang et al., (Eds.): Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning (IDEAL), Exeter, UK, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) 3177: 523-532, Springer-Verlag, Germany, August 2004 (Download Paper, Download Presentation).
- S. Ahmad, P. Oliveira, and K. Ahmad, “Summarization of Multimodal Information,” Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC), Lisbon, Portugal, May 2004 (Download).
- K. Ahmad, D. Cheng, T. Taskaya, S. Ahmad, L. Gillam, P. Manomaisupat, H. Traboulsi, and A. Hippisley, “The mood of the (financial) markets: In a corpus of words and of pictures,” Proceedings of the Corpus Linguistics Conference, Lancaster University, UK, March 2003 (Download).
- L. Gillam, K. Ahmad, S. Ahmad, M. Casey, D. Cheng, T. Taskaya, P. Oliveira, and P. Manomaisupat, “Economic News and Stock Market Correlation: A Study of the UK Market,” Proceedings of the Workshop on Making Money in the Financial Services Industry at the 6th International Conference on Terminology and Knowledge Engineering (TKE), Nancy, France, August 2002 (Download Paper, Download Presentation).
- S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, M. Bolic, H. Dajani, V. Groza, and S. Chander, “Electrocardiogram-Assisted Blood Pressure Estimation in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation and Other Chronic Conditions,” Proceedings of the Canadian Hypertension Congress, Gatineau, Canada, October 2014 (Download Abstract, Download Presentation).
- S. Ahmad, I. Batkin, O. Kelly, M. Bolic, V. Groza, and H. Dajani, “Electrocardiogram-Derived Respiration using Dynamic Filter Coefficients,” Proceedings of the 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’13), Osaka, Japan, July 2013 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, S. Flanagan, L. McIntyre, T. Ramsay, D. Fergusson, D. Maziak, F.M. Shamji, R.S. Sundaresan, L. Huebsch, and A.J.E. Seely, “Early detection of infection with continuous heart rate variability analysis in neutropenic patients,” Journal of Critical Care (Elsevier), vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 266, June 2008 (Download).
- S. Ahmad and A.J.E Seely, “Cardiopulmonary Variability During Staged Incremental Exercise Utilizing a Novel Continuous Individualized Multiorgan Variability Analysis (CIMVA) System,” Journal of Critical Care (Elsevier), vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 338-339, December 2007 (Download Abstract, Download Presentation).
- S. Ahmad, “A Temporal Pattern Identification and Summarization Method for Complex Time Serial Data,” PhD Thesis, University of Surrey, UK, May 2007 (Download).
- S. Ahmad, “Fundamentals of Physiological Monitoring,” Lisgar Collegiate Institute, IEEE Engineering Club Seminars, Ottawa, Canada, October 2015.
- S. Ahmad, “Robust Blood Pressure Estimation in Atrial Fibrillation Patients,” International Conference on Recent Advances in Research and Treatment of Human Diseases, CSIR-IICT Auditorium, Hyderabad, India, January 2015.
- S. Ahmad, “ECG-Assisted Blood Pressure Monitoring,” National Engineering Month Presentations, Colonel By Hall, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, March 2013.
- S. Ahmad, “Long-Term and Short-Term Heart Rate Variability Analysis,” IEEE 125th Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Seminar Series, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, November 2009.
- S. Ahmad, “Variability Analysis in Complex Physiologic Systems,” Seminar in the Electronics Engineering Department, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, January 2008.
- S. Ahmad, “An Automatic Analysis of Volatile Financial Time Series,” Poster Presentation Under the Auspices of Presentations by Britain's Younger Scientists, Engineers, and Technologists, House of Commons (British Parliament), London, UK, March 2004.
- S. Ahmad, “Brand Protection: Comparing the Provenance of Two Time Series,” Presentation at Reuters Public Limited Company (PLC) Headquarters, Fleet Street (now headquartered in Canary Wharf), London, UK, November 2003.
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