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Student Inventors Win More than $71,000 at Bench-to-Bedside Competition

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 1:46pm
University of Utah Health Sciences

University of Utah students competing in the Center for Medical Innovation’s Annual Bench-to-Bedside Competition were awarded nearly $72,000 in prize money on April 9 at the Utah State Capitol.

Twelve student teams garnered top honors from a field of more than 40 for inventing medical devices that may soon change the marketplace and improve modern medicine. Winning teams will now advance to a national Bench-to-Bedside Competition.

The Bench-to-Bedside program is designed to introduce medical students, engineering students and business students to the world of medical device innovation. Student teams form into multidisciplinary “start-up” companies and are given the task of identifying an unmet clinical need. Teams have the opportunity to connect with more than 100 University of Utah physicians from a broad area of specialties to serve as their consultants, key opinion leaders, and stakeholders. Teams have six months and a $500 development fund to create medical device concepts. Throughout the six-month time frame, students evaluate the intellectual property landscape, make a prototype for their product and construct a business plan.

Judges evaluated the team projects on April 9 and scored for business strategy, design quality and healthcare impact by a VIP panel of judges. The top teams were awarded prize money designed to serve as initial funding to support further project development.

“In a world driven by healthcare innovation, Bench-to-Bedside gives completely inexperienced students an opportunity to form a dynamic team composed of business, engineering, and medical students centered on a medical problem. There is currently no better opportunity for a student to prototype a product, develop a company, file a patent, and receive national attention – all within a year,” said Patrick Loftus, a University of Utah medical student and student president of Bench-to-Bedside.

John Langell, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the University of Utah Center for Medical Innovation, noted that more than 200 students worked together on more than 40 teams to create new innovative medical devices. Nearly half of the first- and second-year medical student class participated in the program.

“Through the Bench-to-Bedside program, our students tap into the University of Utah values of innovation, teamwork and finding new solutions,” said Langell. “The competition highlights what we as educators at the U. already know: That our students are capable of transforming science and medicine in ways we never thought possible.”

The 2014 competition featured a new “Media Award” category. VIP judges for the award included Brandon Griggs, CNN tech producer; Tim Fitzpatrick, deputy editor and editorial page editor at The Salt Lake Tribune; and Paul Edwards, editor of the Deseret News.

Other categories (and the winning projects in those categories) at the April 9 competition included:

Grand Prize: Anti-Infective Intraocular Needle
Team Members: Harjit Kaur, Jeremy Hammer, Nick Rejali, Annicka Carter
Project Description: Intraocular injections often result in infections, which can lead to blindness or eye loss. The Anti-infective Intraocular Needle reduces intraocular infection.

Runner-up: Rox Rap
Team Members: Joe Passman, Kevin O’Neill, Ting Ruan, Andrea Tiede
Project Description: Radiopaque marking for imaging can be painful and inflexible, requiring tattooing of the skin or placement of metal ball- bearings. Rox Rap has developed radiopaque pen that is a flexible, cheap, and painless tool to mark patients’ skin.

Runner-up: Dyna Dialysis
Team Members: Megan Welsh, Cutter Bach, Benjamin Timmins, Bridger Bach, Jordan Renner
Project Description: Economic and energy constraints often force developing countries to use unreliable dialysis equipment to treat acute and chronic renal failure. In principle, costs of providing hemodialysis could be reduced and equipment created to function without the need for electricity.

Best Engineering: Thermotoscope
Team Members: Justin Coles, Trey Gunnell, Thomas Houser, James Campbell, Nicholas Brown, Thomas Goates, Nicholas Hagen
Project Description: Generic otoscopes do not allow for unobstructed vision of he ear canal while extracting debris and the temperature measuring capabilities minimize the overall time required in a patient’s ear during an exam. A newly designed otoscope design allows health care providers to measure temperature, examine the ear canal and extract debris while maintaining an unobstructed view of the ear canal simultaneously.

Best Medicine: Hydra MD
Team Members: Josh Jackson, Duncan Humphries, Kit Osborn
Project Description: The lack of price transparency in healthcare causes patients to waste time and money. hydraMD is a web application that enables patients to easily compare procedure prices across healthcare providers.

Best Business: Retinal Permeability Device
Team Members: Dallas Shi, Ashlie Bernhisel, Manikantan Nambi, Michael Bobbe, Elyssa Pickle
Project Description: There is a global need for a portable, cost-effective screening tool for detecting vascular leak in the eye. The Ret Perm uses spectrophotometry to detect the absorbance of light in the eye as a measurement of vascular leak.

Consumer’s Choice: Pro-MD
Team Members: Jonathan Curtis, Greg Phillips, Matt Lamont, Quinn Tate, James Barrett, Jake Brandenburg
Project Description: Hospital discharge is inefficient, confusing, and lacks sufficient follow-up. PRO-MD is an interactive smartphone app and clinical software that improves the discharge process and is integrated with the electronic medical record.

EAE: NAVITAS
Team Members: Jennifer Francis, Abhishek Verma, Peijuin Zhou, Yang Chongze, Hailin Liao, Binoy Mohanty, gagan Singh, Kehan Chen, Min-Ya Lin, Hongyu Ma, Meng Jia, Jake Burch, Bradley Deherrera, Carlos Brenneisen, Ashley Langell, Joe Rozek, Topher Nadauld, Mark Jarman, Nick Edwards, Gloria Kummer, Skip Fowler, Christina Pratt
Project Description: Patients struggle to comply with recommended physical activity and nutrition guidelines used in childhood obesity prevention. Navitas is designed to increase children’s compliance to physical activity and healthy eating.

Global Health Award: Balloon Lock
Team Members: Erick Vega, Farah Vega
Project Description: An alternative to commercially available devices used to manage post-partum hemorrhage in the international rural setting is needed. Balloon Lock provides increased safety and security from operator error, improving on treatment delay time and requiring minimal training.

Best Green Medicine Award: 3MEDx
Team Members: Manikantan Nambi, Thomas Russell, R.Christopher Bowen,
Project Description: There is a need for an inexpensive, portable insufflator that connects to laparoscopic trocars used in third-world settings. 3MEDx provides an inexpensive, portable insufflator for laparoscopic surgeries in third-world environments.

Sex & Gender Award: CHIMP
Team Members: Jonathan Wheelwright, Minna Wang, Bryce Wilson, Curtis Wheelwright, Christy Van Atta, Joey Vokas
Project Description: Patients’ cultural backgrounds can define what they view as acceptable behavior from health care professionals and may present challenges. CHIMP integrates mobile technology and cultural information to prepare providers for patient interaction, beginning in emergency rooms.

Media Award: HUVI
Team Members: Zack Eyre, Scott Curtis, Lynn Ngyuen, Robert Price, Aaron Fisher
Project Description: Many health clinics in developing countries do not have money to buy or electricity to run sterilization equipment. HUVI is an inexpensive, portable, efficient, and renewable energy device for the sterilization of surgical instruments in developing countries.

For more information, visit the University of Utah Health Sciences.

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