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Project ABBIE: Early Detection and Prevention of Anaphylaxis


Fast Facts on Anaphylaxis
  • 1 in 20 Americans, over 15,000,000 people, are at risk of anaphylaxis. (Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America)
  • Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department – that’s 200,000 people a year. (Food Allergy Research & Education)

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), over 15 million Americans are at risk of anaphylaxis, and every three minutes a food reaction sends someone to the emergency department. In most individuals, the anaphylactic escalation that leads to shock can be prevented by administering the counteracting drug, epinephrine. Yet, despite effective treatments, anaphylaxis fatalities are still common and prevention remains difficult to achieve. Due to the rapid and unrelenting progression of symptoms, tragedy strikes when life-saving epinephrine cannot be injected into anaphylaxis-stricken individuals immediately following initiation of an attack.

The Wyss Institute and the KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation have partnered to advance research and development efforts in the early detection and treatment of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction triggered by exposure to certain foods, materials, medications and insect bites. The partnership aims to develop a deep understanding of the processes heralding an oncoming anaphylactic episode at the earliest stages.


Research Objectives:

The KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation was established in 2014 following the tragic death of Abbie Benford shortly before her 16th birthday from anaphylactic shock. Their mission is to fund research into technology for the early detection and treatment of anaphylaxis and to increase awareness of this life-threatening complication.

The immediate goal of the effort is to understand the physiological and biochemical signals that indicate anaphylaxis and develop a wearable device that continually monitors these signals.

The device would be able to intervene, saving the lives of at-risk children and adults who suffer from severe allergies.


Recent News

  • The Wyss Institute and KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation Join Forces Towards Early Detection and Prevention of Anaphylaxis, Learn more…
  • KeepSmilin4Abbie May 2 "Day at the Derby" Event featured on HCAM TV, Learn more…


Program Team

Benjamin Matthews Benjamin Matthews, M.D.

Staff Physician
Boston Children's Hospital
Assistant Professor in Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School

Don IngberDon Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.

Founding Director, Wyss Institute
Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard University

Jim NiemiJim Niemi, M.S.

Lead Senior Staff Engineer
Wyss Institute

John OsborneJohn Osborne, M.S.

Senior Staff Engineer
Wyss Institute

Mustafa KarabasMustafa Karabas, M.S.

Staff Mechanical Engineer
Wyss Institute


Andy LevineAndy Levine

Business Development Lead
Wyss Institute

Olivier HenryOlivier Henry, Ph.D.

Research Associate
Wyss Institute

Alan DunneAlan Dunne, M.Eng.Sc.

Staff Research Engineer
Wyss Institute

Stephen BenfordStephen Benford

Co-Founder, Executive Director
KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation

Amy BenfordAmy Benford

KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation


Program Contact: John Osborne,

To Contribute: Mary Tolikas,
Stephen Benford,


We've won a Webby Award!

Wyss Institute is proud to announce our win in the 2012
Webby Awards in the Science category.