2011 BMEStart winners

We're pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 BMEStart biomedical design competition for undergraduate students.


First place, winning $10,000:
A Minimally Invasive Skin Biopsy Device for Skin Conditions in the Epidermis, Johns Hopkins University

There are many skin conditions and cancers that are specific to the epidermis including, sebhorrheic keratosis, actinic keratosis, and basal cell carcinoma. There is a need to better diagnose these three conditions through the development of a minimally invasive skin biopsy method that consistently removes the epidermal layer. The current standard of care is using a curved razor blade to shave the layer, a procedure that puts physicians at risk and also does not allow for control of depth. The Johns Hopkins device has been developed to control the depth of skin being cut while protecting the doctor from exposure to the blade. The device has been tested on various skin surfaces and through pathological screening to determine its accuracy. The device and the technique that it uses will significantly reduce patient scarring and bleeding as well as maintain safety for the physician.


Second place, winning $5,000:
Paper-Based Anemia Diagnosis for Use in Low-Resource Settings, Rice University

Anemia is a global health problem that affects 2.1 billion people worldwide, particularly those in less-developed countries. Current point-of-care devices for the diagnosis of anemia are inaccurate, time-consuming, or too expensive for low-resource areas. Unlike the leading gold standard for diagnosis, which uses costly chemically-treated plastic cuvettes (~$1.00 each) to collect blood for measurement, this invention uses filter paper (~$0.02 each) as the medium for blood spotting. Using this platform, Team tru(Hb)lood has developed the AnemiSpec to fulfill the need for a portable, low-cost, accurate, and safe anemia assessment device in developing countries.


Third place, winning $2,500:
Thermoreversible Barrier for Hydrodissection During Ablation, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ablation is a relatively safe, effective, and minimally invasive procedure used to treat lesions in the liver, lungs, kidneys, and heart. To improve the safety of the procedure, hydrodissection is often used; an isotonic fluid is injected between the ablation site and the surrounding healthy tissues to localize damage to the tumor. However, the pressure of the peritoneal cavity and the current isotonic's low viscosity makes it prone to migration during ablation procedures, reducing its barrier efficacy. The University of Wisconsin-Madison team developed a poloxamer  solution that reduces barrier degradation during ablation procedures. The poloxamer solution is able to form a thermoreversible gel as body temperature increases; the concentration of the solution was altered to gel at 32°C, just before body temperature (~37°C). The viscosity of the developed solution was shown to be tenfold greater than the isotonic currently used.


Honorable mentions

ActivAided Orthotics: Low-profile corrective lumbar supportive bracing system for Spondylolisthesis, Carnegie Mellon University

QuanTube: A Next Generation Replacement Gastric Feeding Device, Johns Hopkins University

Automated Cancer Detection and Segmentation in Prostate Histopathology, Rutgers University

Hydraulic Ambulance Stretcher, ITESM Campus Monterrey