April 2009

SMART Kit (Lifeserve Innovations)

Lehigh University, 2008 - $19,600

LifeServe Innovations is an entrepreneurial venture formed at Lehigh University aimed at developing and commercializing an emergency tracheostomy device. Currently the standard surgical airway procedure for the emergency field is a cricothyroidotomy, but this procedure is problematic as the airway it creates is temporary and needs to be replaced at the hospital. LifeServe intends to improve the practice by bringing an in-hospital procedure, the percutaneous tracheostomy, to the field of emergency medicine.

The team is developing the SMART Kit, which will contain all the tools necessary to perform a percutaneous tracheostomy in the field. The vital component of the kit is LifeServe's patentable SnakeBite Dilator (pictured). This device transforms a percutaneous trachestomy from a timely and involved surgery to a fast and user-friendly procedure.

LifeServe has already prototyped an initial version of the dilator, performed market research, and gained insight and feedback from medical professionals.


Duquesne University, 2008 - $15,025

The E-Team is creating PlastEco, a low-cost thatch-roofing product made from discarded plastic bottles. Using plastic strips instead of natural materials means a longer lasting, more energy efficient roof, and puts into use plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

The team has a close working relationship with Fundacion Maquipucuna, an Ecuadorian NGO; several groups of students have visited Ecuador to work with FM in developing PlastEco and other products (work supported in part by an NCIIA Sustainable Vision grant). The ultimate goal of the PlastEco project is to create micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around the technology, with the revenues supporting FM’s work in environmental conservation and poverty alleviation.

Development of a Total Cancer Marker through Single Molecule Assessment of DNA Integrity

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $20,000

Despite a number of advances in cancer detection technologies, the development of clinically validated, blood-based cancer biomarkers remains an unmet challenge for many common cancers. Better markers would lead to earlier detection, saving lives and cutting down on hospital costs. A new method, the DNA Integrity Assay (DIA) has the potential to accurately discriminate cancerous cells from normal cells for a wide range of cancers, but its clinical acceptance has been limited due to the complexity of the test, sampling errors, and the high cost of the materials, instruments and highly trained personnel needed to run it.

This E-Team is developing a new DIA testing method called smDIA (single molecule assessment of DNA integrity), which has the potential to eliminate errors and reduce the costs associated with the traditional DIA approach. In this method, a patient’s DNA sample (blood, stool, etc.) is transported by a microfluidic device through a sheet of laser beams (Cylindrical Illumination Confocal Spectroscopy), enabling direct analysis of the patient's DNA integrity in a rapid, uniform manner.

KMC Apnea Alert

Northwestern University, 2008 - $20,000

A popular alternative to incubator care for premature infants in developing areas is kangaroo mother care (KMC), a technique in which the infant if kept in a frog-like position on the caregiver’s chest at all times, allowing the caregiver to monitor the infant. While KMC is accepted as an alternative to incubator care by the World Health Organization, premature infants remain at risk for apnea while the caregiver is sleeping and therefore unable to detect an apnea episode. Most apnea detectors do not work with the KMC system.

This E-Team is developing a low-cost, KMC-compatible apnea detection system. The team formed in response to a request from the Karl Bremer Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa for a KMC-compatible apnea monitor and is based on previous coursework over the past two semesters. The device detects apnea by monitoring the typical adbonimal movements of a premature infant while breathing. If there is no breathing for a stretch of time, indicating an apnea episode, the device sets off an alarm. The device is attached to the abdomen using a gentle, double-sided hydrogel adhesive pad that is disposable and replaceable.

Call for proposals! NCIIA 2010 annual conference

 'Open,' the NCIIA's 14th annual conference, will be held March 25-27, 2010, in California (San Diego or San Francisco).There has never been a more important time to maximize the impact of universities and colleges on American innovation. Join us for our 14th annual conference, exploring the science, business and practice of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education.Abstracts for presentations, papers and posters are due June 19, 2009. Login, view guidelines and submit your 150-word abstract here.

Revolutionary Closed System Drug Transfer Device

University of Iowa, 2008 - $18,000

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 5.5 million healthcare workers (pharmacists, nurses, technicians, and others) are exposed to toxic chemotherapy pharmaceuticals in the workplace. NIOSH confirms the health risks from these exposures include cancers, liver/kidney damage, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and congenital malformations. Independent research shows current products fall short in addressing all the market needs, with many users complaining current devices are: ineffective at eliminating exposure, difficult to use, error-prone, inefficient, and costly.

This E-Team, incorporated as J & J Solutions, is an emerging medical device company that has developed innovative technology to optimize safety, increase efficiency, and reduce the cost of preparing and administering chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. Hospital pharmacies and oncology clinics create a $500 million U.S. market potential, with a current market opportunity near $100 million and growing over 20% annually. The Company has pending patents, working product, proven technology, strong management, and commitments from cancer centers across the country.

'Green' styrofoam? Ecovative Design in the New York Times

Former NCIIA E-Team Ecovative Design are making a name for themselves in the green packaging arena. Read more about their green (fungi) replacement for styrofoam at the New York Times.

University of California, Davis Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET)

University of California-Davis, 2008 - $47,500.00

For this project, the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) and Center for Entrepreneurship are creating the Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET), an interdisciplinary program focusing on getting low-cost, clean energy, and energy efficient solutions into the market in developing countries. The primary goals of the program include: 1) educating and engaging UC Davis students in energy-related issues in developing countries; 2) developing interdisciplinary student E-Teams to create, design, and distribute sustainable energy products and programs; and 3) bridging the gap between the need, existing technologies, and the market by creating dissemination strategies for appropriate energy technologies in developing countries.

Enabling Student Innovation in Biomedical Engineering: Development of a Graduate Level Innovative Design Class

Marshall University - $36,500

This grant will help expand a pilot program in a graduate-level biomedical engineering course by offering additional resources to design teams: equipment, materials, supplies, prototyping funds, and expert lecturers and consultants. During this year-long class, students are completely responsible for idea generation, prototype development and commercialization planning. They are exposed to an entrepreneurial environment and gain entrepreneurial skills not traditionally taught or integrated into university coursework.

A Multi-disciplinary, Multi-level Innovation-team Course

North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 2008 - $9,000.00

This project supports a course focused on micro-manufacturing innovation in the field of medical and dental products. The course could be expanded to become a compilation of offerings with different technological emphases but a similar structure and innovation-centered context. All the resulting courses would: 1) be open to students majoring in any subject relevant to the topic of the innovation, and would also be made available to students attending NDSU's global partner institutions and students within the Tri-college network in the region; 2) create an enabling and sustainable framework for innovation teams to secure resources through partnerships with industrial organizations and private entrepreneurs, as well as through grants from governmental and foundation resources; and 3) potentially serve as departmental electives and have course credit hours fulfill graduation requirements.