Two teams win $ 50,000 in biodesign course competition: UNM Newsroom


On December 14, two teams of students won $ 50,000 in prizes in the annual biodesign competition, jointly sponsored by the School of Engineering and the Clinical and Translational Science Center at the University of New Brunswick’s School of Medicine. Mexico.

The competition is part of a graduate level biodesign course that asks students to solve common problems faced by professionals in the medical field. Student teams are then challenged to come up with innovative products and devices that meet those needs and must provide a budget and plan to further develop and commercialize their technology.

Teams of students presented their ideas to a panel of judges – comprising experts in engineering, business and the medical field – who then made the final selections.

Each year an area of ​​clinical interest is chosen, and this year it was orthopedics.

The team that took first place, taking home $ 30,000, was “PICA – Prosthetic Implant for Carpometacarpal Arthritis”. PICA offers treatment for a painful and common condition that currently has no definitive solution. The PICA device would be implanted in the thumb to force the CMC joint to resolve pain and maintain thumb strength in patients with severe osteoarthritis.

The students of this team were Ethan Darwin, master’s student in mechanical engineering; August Finke, master’s student in chemical engineering; Dimitri Madden, PhD student in Mechanical Engineering; and Lauren Ostermann and Diego Rodriguez, both graduates in chemical and biological engineering.

The second place winning team, which took home $ 20,000 to further develop, test and commercialize their invention, was “Guided Assisted Rehabilitation Device for Lower Limb (LEGARD)”. LEGARD addresses the problem of physiotherapy rehabilitation after total hip arthroplasty. Although surgery is common, there are many barriers that prevent patients from receiving adequate rehabilitation care, which can limit the patient’s functional recovery and quality of life. This is especially true in rural New Mexico, where many patients live far from physical therapy facilities.

The innovation involves a device that allows patients to rehabilitate at home, with advice and feedback provided through an app.

The students of this team were Tara Memarian, Leonard Ruggiero and Adam Magaña, master’s students in biomedical engineering; Elias Rosales-Zaragoza, undergraduate student in mechanical engineering; Katherine Miles, master’s student in mechanical engineering; Tybur Casuse Driovinto, PhD student at the Microengineering Materials Center; and Rebekah Gridley, master’s student in exercise science,

The other teams that presented were:

“3D Printed Synthetic Osteochondral Grade,” with students Emily Rhoades-Clark, PhD. engineering student; Jawad Khalaf and Samuel McKitrick, both master’s students in biomedical engineering; and Daniel Seligman and Matthew Aragon, both master’s students in mechanical engineering.

“Framewerk: The Foundation of Improve Rehabilitation”, with students Maren Baur, undergraduate student in biomedical and mechanical engineering; Jorge Canales Verdial, PhD student in electrical engineering; Nika Mitchell, master’s student in biomedical engineering; Ethan Schmidt, master’s student in mechanical engineering; Laura Stacy, master’s student in biomedical engineering; and Rocio Vasquez, a graduate student in mechanical engineering.

“CIIBR: Chemically Illuminating Adhesive for Arthroscopic Instrument Rupture”, with students Rachel Habing, Sara Hasan and Gabriela Lucero, all Masters students in Biomedical Engineering; and Claire O’Malley, undergraduate mechanical engineering student.

The contest judges were Sara Boisvert, entrepreneur and founder of New Collar Network and Fab Lab Hub; Christos Christodoulou, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computer Science; Yorgos Marinakis, assistant professor at the Anderson School of Management; Eric Prossnitz, distinguished professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Molecular Medicine; Christopher Shultz, physician and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center; and Steven Walsh, distinguished professor at the Anderson School of Management.

The graduate biodesign course is led by Christina Salas, Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, who is also Special Assistant to the Dean of Engineering for Relations with the Health Sciences. Salas said the Biodesign course is modeled on a similar curriculum at Stanford University.

During the semester, students take a crash course in that year’s selected medical specialty – chatting with doctors, nurses, and patients, and touring major medical facilities to learn about the real clinical challenges that lie ahead. a solution. Students spend two to three weeks in this medical environment, immersing themselves in clinical issues and familiarizing themselves with the medical specialty. Then, under the leadership of Dr. Salas, divide into teams to research and design a technology that can solve a clinical problem in this specialty.

At the end of the semester, student teams disclose their technology to UNM Rainforest Innovations, UNM’s technology transfer office, submit a provisional patent application to protect their technology, and compete for funding of up to to $ 50,000 to support the manufacturing, testing and marketing of their new product. The winning team award is funded by the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences of the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering.

Work on each winning design continues for at least a year after the semester ends, with Salas serving as a mentor. After the semester, students can continue working on their technologies by enrolling in an independent study course with their faculty director.

Salas said the course primarily attracts students in the health sciences and engineering, but it is open to most majors that allow electives from the School of Engineering.

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