Stanford University

2012-2013 Student Ambassadors

Meet the 2012-2013 Student Ambassadors

Ala'a Siam

Ala’a Siam is a rising sophomore originating from Jerusalem and studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ala’a has a broad range of academic interests: he is double majoring in electrical-computer engineering and chemical-biological engineering, while minoring in urban planning and chemistry. Ala’a is enthusiastic about synthetic biology, and tries to bring his multiple interests together around this theme. He aims to connect bioelectronics, applied physics, chemical biology, bioreactor engineering, and biosafety planning to empower synthetic biology. Eventually, he aims to earn an MD-PHD, which he believes will enable him to contribute to synthetic biology research, clinical trials, and entrepreneurship.


Ala’a has spent most of his summer working in the Weiss Lab at MIT on iGEM (international Genetically Engineering Machines), the world’s premier, collegiate synthetic biology contest. In addition, Ala’a conducts research in protein engineering at the Langer Lab and in political regulations of synthetic biology with professor Kenneth Oye. His work was presented this summer in Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC. Ala’a is also working on launching a program that will introduce synthetic biology to the Middle East as a common research and entrepreneurship practice among gifted Palestinian and Israeli students.


Ala’a has many interests outside the lab and classroom. He is a member of MIT’s varsity sailing team, bio-manufacturing consortium, telemedicine initiative SANA, and low-tech initiative Takachar. He has also acquired many leadership positions in MIT’s student organizations: he is the distinguished lecture series chair of MIT’s biomedical engineering society, co-founder of MIT’s chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, and treasurer of Middle East Education though Technology (a peace-building project between Palestinians and Israelis).


In his free time, Ala’a enjoys working out and playing pool and table tennis. He is beginning to grow interest in motor boat racing.


Amanda Ruppert

Amanda Ruppert is from Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. She is currently a junior at Bucknell University majoring in Chemical Engineering. On campus Amanda is a Presidential Fellow and research assistant investigating the formation of polymer nanoparticles. She is also very involved in her student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Amanda has attended a regional and national AIChE conference to compete in the ChemE Car competition and is currently serving as the chapter’s External Vice President for the second year of a two-year term. As External Vice President she attends and participates in the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association (BEAA) Board of Directors meetings as student representative. 


Before attending Bucknell University Amanda earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by planning a local health fair. She continued her philanthropic interests by joining Chi Omega Fraternity. She is also involved in the arts on campus and enjoys dancing, acting and playing various musical instruments. As a freshman Amanda participated in the Arts Residential College and became involved in planning events for the Residential Colleges as a Resident Fellow her sophomore year. Building on her experience as a Resident Fellow, she will be a Residential Assistant for a Harry Potter themed house in the Affinity Housing program.


Amanda’s interest in entrepreneurship began when she participated in a program made possible by a Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) Grant. The KEEN Winter Interdisciplinary Design Experience (K-WIDE) is a new program at Bucknell that allows students to come back early from winter break and work with a team of interdisciplinary engineering students to solve an open-ended problem. Amanda further developed her skills as a leader and future entrepreneur through the Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management (ILTM) at Bucknell this past summer.


Andrew Pennington

Andrew Pennington is a junior public relations major at Eastern Kentucky University. In 2011 he won the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge for his innovative business idea and newly launched company, “Contractor Yard Sale,” an online classified database for construction contractors and suppliers to buy and sell surplus and salvage building materials.


Lucas Arzola

Lucas Arzola is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a designated emphasis in Biotechnology at University of California-Davis, where he seeks to develop the use of tobacco plants as a quick and inexpensive manufacturing platform for the transient production of vaccines and therapeutic proteins. Prior to attending UC Davis, he graduated in 2007 from University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez with a B.S in Industrial Biotechnology. 


Arzola was the team leader of Inserogen, the first prize winner of the 2010 Big Bang! Business Plan Competition at UC Davis, which developed a concept for a venture based on his research. Grants from NCIIA and the NSF Innovation Corps program have allowed him to explore the commercialization potential of his research. Upon his Ph.D. graduation, Arzola plans to launch Inserogen as a biotechnology startup company. 


Arzola’s interests include biotechnology, biochemical engineering, and entrepreneurship. In his free time, he enjoys reading and playing sports, especially basketball. As a student ambassador, his goal is to connect student and faculty entrepreneurs with NCIIA’s initiatives and university resources to help UC Davis become a more entrepreneurial campus.


Christina Oelsner

Christina Oelsner, a sophomore at Wake Forest University, hopes to major in Business Enterprise Management and minor in Entrepreneurship and Psychology. Her research interests include the study of virtual companies and networking to better understand the importance of marketing and consumer behavioral patterns. 


After being awarded a grant from the Chamber of Commerce, Christina participated in an entrepreneurship independent study last spring collaborating with three seniors, a sophomore, and Professor Elizabeth Baker, to run a start-up, virtual company selling a patented martial arts product known as MATTS (Martial Arts Total Training System). Next year, she will solely run the sales and marketing side of the company with the help of Dr. Baker. This experience won her the entrepreneurship accolade, “Freshman Award for Future Impact.”


Deniz Pamucku
Deniz is currently completing an M.S. in Technical Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University. Deniz works as a consultant with PuriTek, a local startup technology company, investigating new biocidal materials for possible use in the commercial market. In his spare time, an avid mechanic and auto enthusiast, Deniz competes in various auto sports events.


Fletcher Richman

Fletcher Richman is a rising Junior in Electrical Engineering at CU Boulder. He is the CEO and founder of the College Life Guide,, a socially driven site for discovering university amenities. He is also the president of the Active Entrepreneurs at CU Boulder, a student club dedicated to building a community of student-founded companies, and helping them get more investors, customers, and knowledge. This summer he has been working for IBM helping maintain and analyze data center electrical and mechanical infrastructure.


Isaac Sanchez

Isaac Sanchez is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Mechanical Engineering. In the past three years, he has honed his technical and managerial skills in order to excel academically and socially at the UT Austin. On top of his academic work, he has been heavily involved with Pi Sigma Pi: Minority Academic Society (Pi). He was elected to be Academic Coordinator at Pi for the academic year 2011-2012, and has collaborated with fellow officers to increase Pi membership from 140 to 170 paid members. He will continue to serve the Pi community as the Vice President of External Affairs for the 2012-2013 academic year. Additionally, he has worked as an Equal Opportunity tutor to help colleagues with challenging engineering courses. He has worked to improve his leadership and communication skills as a participant of the respectable LeaderShape program held by the Cockrell School of Engineering. Recently, as recognition of his leadership, involvement and academic success, he has received the Unrestricted Endowed Presidential (UEP) Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards available at UT Austin. In addition, he is  working with Professor Michael Webber and Research Analyst Roger Duncan, on a white paper about voltage optimization as part of an educational packet for utilities and the Environmental Defense Fund.


Jeremy Klaben

Jeremy Klaben will be a senior at the University of Michigan studying business. He is currently a Peer Advisor at the Center for Entrepreneurship through U of M's College of Engineering and has also been an active leader orchestrating TEDxUofM 2011 and 2012. He plans to start his own healthy fast casual restaurant when he graduates from college. Although he failed at his first start up in 2011 after a full year of hard work he learned many valuable lessons from the entire experience, and can  say that he is so much smarter because of it. He plans to start his own healthy fast casual restaurant when he graduates from college.


John Oliver

John Oliver is currently a senior at Penn State University, studying in Energy, Business and Finance with a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship. He is involved in various student Entrepreneurial activities at Penn State University.  In 2011, he founded a technology startup company named Sehox Technologies LLC. The company has 3 employees and a summer intern. Sehox Technologies is gearing for DEMO 2012, which is a DEMO conference held throughout the world which focuses on emerging technologies and new product innovation. Here Sehox Technologies aims to showcase our latest products. As part of co-op education John has worked at Robert Bosch as an Industrial Engineer in early 2010. In 2011, he then interned for The Boeing Company as a Procurement Financial Analyst doing supplier management for Boeing 737, 747, 777. Currently he is interning at Boeing Defense and Space system as an Engineering Estimator for the Chinook helicopter.


John has a strong interest in Entrepreneurship right from his young days. He wanted to make an impact around him, one step at a time. He is part of the Pittsburg Technology Council, Innoblue and other Penn State Entrepreneurship clubs. He enjoys working on projects and conducting case studies related to sustainability, using technology to build a better society and finding ways to improve our daily lives. During his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, tennis, hiking and other outdoor adventure sports.


Kinshuk Mitra

Kinshuk Mitra is a junior studying Biomedical Engineering at the Ohio State University. He is a patent holding inventor, researcher and a 2012 fellow of the Pelotonia Cancer Research program. He plans to graduate in 2014 with a strong understanding of devices that mediate between human skin biology/sensory systems and the digital world. 


Kinshuk is the current founder of the Student Innovation Initiative at the Ohio State University. The organization brings experiential learning simulations to students and increases the awareness level to promote opportunity identification and proclivity towards innovation. He also led the creation of a class on Innovation and Entrepreneurship for cross-disciplinary learning.


He loves debating, documentaries and food. Cultural immersion is one of his favorite and most expensive pastimes.


Nishant Ganesh Kumar

Nishant Ganesh Kumar, who is currently a rising senior in Biomedical Engineering at John Hopkins University, came to study in the United States in the fall of 2009 with the dream of graduating from one of the leading biomedical institutions in the United States. He grew up in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai, which he considers a melting pot of creeds and nationalities, where Middle Eastern values mix with those of the rest of the world.


In his junior year at Johns Hopkins University, Nishant was selected to be a Design Team Leader. The Design Team course comprises numerous biomedical projects where student teams work together towards proposing solutions to existing clinical or global health problems. Nishant lead a team of undergraduates working to redevelop the punch biopsy procedure. The team had identified many clinical and procedural problems with the current punch biopsy process. After 8 laborious months, the team arrived at a possible solution in addressing the various limitations of the current standard of care. The aim of the project is to make it faster and easier compared to the current standard, and more importantly, the new method is estimated to be about 80% cheaper than the current procedure. He has worked to ensure that all team members are happy with the work they do, and he’s worked hard to ensure a constant flow of communication amongst all parties working on the project.


Nishant is also involved actively in research in a collaborative setting between Neurology and Biomedical Engineering. His research looks into the properties of axonal regeneration in the context of axonal injury. 


Apart from his endeavors in the Biomedical Engineering department, Nishant has been an active member in the Johns Hopkins Jail Tutorial program since his freshman year. As a part of the program, he tutors inmates at the Baltimore City Detention Center. He took the tutoring experience a step further by pioneering a program that incorporates the use of computers to teach the inmates, to ensure they received the most of their tutoring experience.  He plans to continue his work on the punch biopsy project and his other pursuits at Johns Hopkins.  His current plans are to apply to medical school to become a physician. He hopes to integrate his engineering knowledge with an education at medical school. Apart from his clinical endeavors, he hopes to continue his work in device development.


Sean Maroni

Sean Maroni is a junior in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University.He also serves as the President of the Entrepreneurship Initiative Ambassadors on campus. As the student branch of the NC State EI, the ambassadors exist to build a rich campus-wide entrepreneurial community. What he loves most about his role is providing fellow students with the resources, support, and freedom to pursue their passions. He is all about helping motivated students learn to use entrepreneurship as a source of financial support and personal fulfillment. He thinks this important mission pairs nicely with his own long term goal of helping build a 100% sustainable future. He believes this is the biggest issue of our time, and an army of inspired young innovators is just what the earth needs. He is looking forward to working with other NCIIA ambassadors, and using what he learns to bring more value to his organization and peers.


Sharang  Phadke

Sharang Phadke is  an electrical engineering student at The Cooper Union, and an IBM Thomas Watson Scholar. He serves as the Assistant Administrative Chair on the Engineering Student Council, and was a representative to the Revenue Task Force, a committee elected to develop new revenue solutions for Cooper Union. He has completed a technical internship at FX Alliance, where he developed a network analysis program. He enjoys various outdoor activities including backpacking and rock climbing, and is an Eagle Scout. He also runs Cross Country at Cooper Union, and is captain of the men's team.


Tayler Swanson

Tayler Swanson is a RIT student studying Electrical/Mechanical Engineering Technology. He enjoys engineering innovative solutions to all aspects of life--food, sustainability, electronics and everything in between. He works well with others and loves to  get involved in many diverse projects. He plays a variety of sports from lacrosse to basketball and belongs to many clubs, including the RIT Center for Student Innovation Fellows, RIT Student Music Association, Habitat for Humanity, and Energy Innovation Club.  HIs motto is, like many influential people before him, is Carpe Diem.

Zineb Laraki

Zineb Laraki graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Symbolic Systems with a individually designed concentration in Product Development and Design Thinking. She is currently working on a Masters in Earth Systems at Stanford University. During here time at Stanford, Zineb has been involved with the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES) serving such roles as VP of the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge and VP of External Relations next year. Zineb is passionate about emerging technology, alternative energy, and developing economies. She hopes to pursue her passion by helping promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Morocco.


Jack Goodwin

Jack Goodwin is an Aerospace Engineering major at UC San Diego. Jack has studied abroad at the University of Cambridge in England and has interned for Boeing where he worked on unmanned aerial vehicles. In his free time, Jack enjoys entrepreneurial activities and building multiple kinds of aerospace vehicles with fellow students, some of which include rockets and quad-copters. He is also an avid soccer player and surfer. 

Company News!

PuraCath Medical, a 2010 E-Team from Stanford University, has formed a company and is developing a catheter to reduce infection risk and enable some patients to avoid coming to the hospital for dialysis. The company has received funding from the National Science Foundation and is seeking further investment.

The Extremely Low Frequency Seismic Detector team from Virginia Military Institute, a 2007 E-Team, has successfully negotiated a license with Strata Products Worldwide, LLC, to commercialize a low-frequency seismic detector that will enable miners trapped up to 2,000 feet underground to be located in a matter of hours. U.S. Mining companies have a legal mandate to retrofit all of their life refuge chambers starting in 2013, and as a result, the VMI device will soon make its way into almost every mine in the U.S.

NCIIA and Stanford University to launch $10 million National STEM Innovation Center

Center will create the next wave of American innovators and entrepreneurs who will build lasting economic growth

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $10 million grant to launch a national center for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering, based at Stanford University. Directed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center at Stanford's School of Engineering, the new center addresses the critical need for entrepreneurial engineers.

NCIIA, Stanford's key partner in the center, will develop and deliver many of its training components, including workshops and other resources for engineering faculty and students.

The STEM Innovation Center will be a research and outreach hub for the creation, collection and sharing of resources among the almost 350 engineering schools in the US. The center's goal is to help create the next wave of innovators and entrepreneurs who will build lasting economic growth in the US.

Read the press release and visit the online media page.


Magneto team from U. Michigan wins 2011 BMEidea awards!

The Magneto: Magnetic Induction Internal Bleed Detector team from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has earned first place and $10,000 in the sixth annual Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship competition!

The team’s device, the Magneto: Magnetic Induction Internal Bleed Detector (pictured), allows detection of internal bleeding complications after catheterization procedures through the femoral artery.

A team from Stanford University earned second place and $2,500 for Oculeve, a novel therapy that treats severe dry eye--a condition that affects 1.2 million people in the US--more effectively and less expensively than current treatments.

The Medtric Biotech team from Purdue University took third place and $1,000 for OSMOSE, a line of antimicrobial dressings for the prevention and treatment of infected wounds.

Read more about the winners and their projects. Congratulations!



Minimally Invasive Creation of Autologous Venous Valves for the Treatment of Deep Venous Insufficiency

Stanford University, 2010 - $19,973

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) of the deep veins is a disease in which patients suffer from poor circulation in their lower extremities due to non-functional valves. Over the long-term this condition can lead to varicose veins, skin discoloration, leg pain and debilitating leg ulcers. Currently, severe symptoms due to CVI develop in over six million Americans annually; this number is expected to rise as the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent.
The typical treatment for CVI—a combination of compression stockings and wound care—has extremely poor compliance rates. Open surgical valve repair is rarely used because of its highly invasive nature.
This team is developing a minimally invasive, catheter-based solution for deep vein CVI. The catheter is inserted into the patient’s venous system and advanced to the incompetent vein, where the physician then actuates the catheter to form a version of a natural vein valve. Once the valve is created, blood flows upward freely past the new valve, and at the end of the pumping cycle, blood fills the newly created sinus pocket, causing the flap to close against the vein wall and creating a temporary watertight seal. In this way, vein competency is permanently restored without the need for an implant or invasive surgery.

PuraCath Medical

Stanford University, 2010 - $16,172

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for patients with severe chronic kidney disease. The process uses the patient's peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances are exchanged from the blood. Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps or via regular exchanges throughout the day. PD is used as an alternative to hemodialysis, with the primary advantage being the ability to undertake treatment without visiting a medical facility. The primary complication with PD is the patients’ failure to adhere to the complex protocol. This complicated protocol exists in order to ensure proper transfer of fluids while reducing side effects and complications.

The PuraCath Medical device can simplify the procedure and enhance quality of life of patients. The device is an innovative, self-contained PD catheter that doesn't rely on patient compliance.

Miret Surgical

Stanford University, 2010 - $19,450

Laparoscopic surgery is a growing surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through very small incisions (0.5-1.5 cm) compared to the larger incisions needed in traditional, open surgical procedures. Patients that undergo laparoscopic surgery enjoy shorter hospital stays and reduced instances of surgery-inflicted morbidity.

This E-Team is taking laparoscopy a step further, developing a set of laparoscopic tools that enable surgery with extremely small incisions leaving no visible scars by enabling assembly of complex tools inside the patient. Existing scar-free techniques are burdened by steep learning curves and high costs, but the E-Team’s device, called ENGAGE™, requires minimal surgeon re-training and aligns with current insurance reimbursement plans.


Stanford University, 2010 - $20,000

Cardiac pacemakers save lives by restoring and maintaining a normal, safe heart rate for patients with heart rhythm disorders such as bradycardia (a pathologically slow heart rate). But despite their effectiveness, most patients with bradycardia do not need a permanent implanted device because their problem is temporary and reversible: the heart rhythm disruption stems from a procedure or as a side effect of medication. The options for short-term, temporary pacing to overcome bradycardia are, however, flawed: intravenous medications work only for a subset of patients and have limiting side effects; external pacing pads placed on the chest are ineffective and prohibitively painful to the patient. The placement of a temporary pacing electrode through a large vein directly into the heart is the most effective method, but, unfortunately, it is also known to cause potentially fatal complications, including perforation of the heart wall (1-2%) and dislodgement (10-30%).

To meet the need for a safer method of temporarily supporting patients who have or are at risk for bradycardia, this E-Team is developing a temporary pacing system that eliminates the majority of adverse events due either to perforation or dislodgement.


Stanford University, 2010 - $20,000

Over three million US children per year are put under sedation in dental offices. While sedation keeps children calm and still during procedures ranging from cleanings to tooth extractions, it also has potentially fatal consequences. Thirty-three percent of adverse events related to pediatric sedation occur in the dental setting, with 91% of the adverse events resulting in death or permanent neurological injury. Further, 80% of the adverse events involved respiratory problems, since sedatives blunt respiratory drive and relax the upper airway musculature.

This E-Team is developing a device that monitors a child’s breathing while he or she is under the influence of sedatives. The small, wearable, disposable device, called PhonoSafe, alerts the dentist of sub-optimal breathing that lasts longer than fifteen seconds. It consists of a microphone placed on the throat at the level of the trachea to detect breathing sounds, hardware for signal processing to isolate the sounds from ambient noise, and software to analyze the respiratory rate and detect apnea (lack of breathing).

Rapid Hypothermia Induction Device team (Johns Hopkins) wins BMEidea 2010

The winners of BMEidea 2010 were announced today, at the MD&M trade show in New York City. In first place, winning $10,000, is the Rapid Hypothermia Induction Device team from Johns Hopkins University.

Second place and $2,500 went to the Low-cost Ventilator (OneBreath) team from Stanford University. Third place and $1,000 went to the Natural Orifice Volume Enlargement (NOVEL) Device team from University of Cincinnati.

Read more about the finalists and see their prototypes here.

And read's story on BMEidea 2010.


E-Team and BME finalist, Onebreath, a 2010 Pop Sci 'Invention Award Winner'

We've done a lot of work with the Onebreath low-cost ventilator team from Stanford University recently: the team received an E-Team grant in 2009, attended the 2010 March Madness for the Mind showcase of student innovation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and this week was announced a finalist in this year's BMEidea competition (see story below).

This month, Onebreath and its inventor Matthew Callaghan received further recognition when it was named as a Popular Science 2010 Invention Award winner. Read the story!


DiverRx -- Preventing Recurrent Diverticulitis

DiverRx -- Preventing Recurrent Diverticulitis - $17,355

Diverticulitis is a disease characterized by the acute inflammation of a diverticulum (mucosal outpouching) of the colon. It’s accompanied by intense lower abdominal pain and requires emergency treatment, often involving hospitalization, with about 25% of these patients going on to have recurring attacks. The only treatment available to prevent recurrent attacks is colon resection, but many patients at risk for recurrence of diverticulitis are not surgical candidates due to advanced age or co-morbidities.

This E-Team is developing a device to address the clinical need of preventing recurrence of diverticulitis in a less invasive manner than elective colon resection. The device, an endoscopic RF ablation balloon catheter, will apply RF energy locally to the diverticular tissue, inducing a fibrotic response similar to that utilized by BARRX Medical in treating Barrett’s esophagus. The goal is to target diverticula for treatment while preserving healthy colon tissue.

The target market is relatively open (they’ve talked with several experts), with no prior minimally invasive methods or competitors that have successfully prevented recurrence of diverticulitis.

Enabling Effective Management of Neonatal Jaundice in Rural India

Stanford University, 2009 - $46,500

If left untreated, neonatal jaundice can cause kernicterus, a form of brain damage with complications including deafness, cerebral palsy, and death. In the US, phototherapy treatment (shining wavelength-specific light on the baby) has virtually eliminated kernicterus, but in developing countries like India only a small segment of the population has access to effective treatment.

In order to improve patient access to neonatal jaundice treatment in rural Indian clinics, this team - working with the non-profit technology incubator, Design Revolution - is developing a low cost, low maintenance opto-medical device. Instead of using fluorescent tube or compact fluorescent bulbs, the team’s device uses more efficient, high-intensity blue LEDs that can be supported by a battery backup.


  • Brilliance in India: New deal allows Bay-area firm to fight neonatal jaundice in rural India - Fast Company (Jan 2011)
  • September 2012: Brilliance is on the market in India and they are looking to expand to East Africa. The team estimates that 13 babies per device per month will get treatment in urban hospitals, which means lives saved and brain damage averted. 

The Breast Examination Simulator: A Training and Assessment Tool for Patrients and Physicians

Stanford University, 2001 - $16,700

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women in the US and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection leads to early treatment and improved patient outcome. Breast Self-Exams (BSE) aid early discovery of the disease, but only 29% of women regularly conduct the exam. Part of the reason for this low percentage is that health care providers do not have a standardized method for teaching breast examination skills.

In response to this lack of uniformity, the Brest Examination Simulator E-Team developed training tools to simulate breast exams and teach the proper procedure. The team created computerized, strap-on breast models for teaching patients how to perform breast self-exams and plated breast models for teaching medical students, residents, nursing students, and physician assistants to perform clinical exams. Each model simulates various conditions, including normal and pathologic. Both models contain electronic sensors to communicate users' movements to a computer screen as they examine the models. The computer data provides individualized performance evaluations and helps define the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of an adequate clinical exam, thereby standardizing the method. Model development is based on the E-pelvis simulator, which one of the E-Team members designed.

The E-Team consisted of a business graduate student and two research associates, one with the Stanford University Medical Media and Information Technology Department and the other with the Department of Surgery. They worked with the owner of a hardware and software development company, a professor from the School of Medicine, and the president of Mentice Medical Stimulation AB, a simulator company.

CHI (Cheap Haptic Interface)

Stanford University, 2001 - $11,500

According to research and marketing firm CyberEdge, the virtual reality market was valued at $24 billion in 2000 and is expected to grown by more than 50% each year this decade. To be a part of that growth, this E-Team from Stanford University developed a Cheap Haptic Interface (CHI) system that provided a cheap technology for a multitude of uses.

A haptic interface is a design technique that allows people to use their sense of touch to interact with remote or virtual environments on computers. The user of this type of system can "touch" objects simulated on a personal computer by interacting in real life with motors, like small robots, or other physical devices. By grasping one of the limbs of the robot, the user can exchange information with the PC and move the position of objects in the interface. The technology has several potential applications, such as making computers more accessible for people with disabilities, training people for tasks requiring hand-eye coordination (such as surgery), and playing games.

IMPACT Indicator

Stanford University, 2001 - $14,000

Shoes should be replaced when they can no longer provide adequate cushioning; using a shoe beyond its useful life greatly increases the user's risk of impact-related injuries. The Impact Indicator, developed by this Stanford University E-Team, is incorporated into a shoe and monitors use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The concept is similar to that of the Oral-B Indicator found on toothbrushes, but for running shoes.

The indicator system consists of mechanical hardware, and electronics and software, which reside on a microprocessor. A signal is produced when the user's foot compresses the cushioning mechanism in the sole of the shoe with each step. Runners and other active persons who rely on their shoe equipment to be in top shape can use this product to ensure they are using a safe shoe. The team filed for an international patent and researched a sticker-sized version of the product for distribution directly to the consumer.

IMPACT Indicator

Stanford University, 1999 - $12,500

A running shoe exceeds its useful life and should be replaced when it no longer provides adequate cushioning. One of the major problems runners have is impact-related injury due to worn out shoes. The IMPACT Indicator is a monitor incorporated into a shoe that calculates the use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The IMPACT Indicator prevents impact-related injuries that arise from using a shoe after it has worn out. The current model uses sensors on the toe and heel of the shoe, and a touch of a button indicates how much life is left in the shoe.

Both the consumer and the manufacturer benefit from the Indicator. The device can help reduce the number of injuries to runners and encourage consumers to purchase more shoes. The athletic shoe market is $14.7 billion annually, with the running shoe market comprising 16%.

The E-Team includes a graduate Product Design student at Stanford and an MBA student at the University of Texas at Austin. The team has support from a Product Design faculty member and two industry mentors, including a board certified sports medicine doctor.

Cool technology file: the MarrowMiner

More than just a great name, the MarrowMiner may revolutionize, in terms of efficiency and cost, the harvesting of bone marrow and the stem cells bone marrow contains.

Inventor Daniel Kraft recently described the MarrowMiner at a TED seminar. Watch the video here.

In 2002, the NCIIA funded a Stanford University E-Team to develop a new device for harvesting marrow - the MarrowMiner. As the company StemCor Systems, the team has moved the MarrowMiner into clinical trials.



Find out about Stanford University's biodesign fellowships

Stanford University will host an informational session on its biodesign fellowship program on Monday, September 28. The session will be held 6-7:30 pm in the Clark Center Auditorium.

Read more about the session here.

Request more information.

A Medical Device to Treat Gallstone Disease

Stanford University, 2009 - $18,968

Biliary colic is a condition in which a gallstone becomes lodged at the gallbladder outlet, and, if left untreated, can cause severe and life-threatening infections. The most common treatment for this disease is surgical removal of the gallbladder, but due to a high risk of complications in the elderly and critically ill, surgery is not a viable option for over 200,000 patients per year. Instead, they're treated with conservative management, which is often unsuccessful. This E-Team is looking to develop a safe and effective alternative for these patients, as well as the large numbers of patients in developing countries where surgery isn’t an option. Since the gallbladder in patients with stones is actually normal and the stones are harmless provided they are kept away from the outlet, the team has developed a novel stainless steel filter device to prevent stones from reaching the outlet. The filter is delivered through a catheter and expands after deployment. Radial force holds the filter in place. The geometry of the filter prevents stones larger than two millimeters from passing.


Stanford University, 1998 - $8,100

Recipient of two NCIIA grants, the Xtracycle E-Team developed a cargo bicycle conversion kit that transforms a standard bike into a "sport utility bicycle," or SUB. The kit stretches out the rear wheel behind the seat, creates a big, stable platform on top of the rear wheel for a load or a passenger, and places expandable saddlebags on either side. The bike is still lightweight and fast because the load is centered between the wheels, helping fill the void between large, cumbersome utility tricycles and small, ineffective racks and bags. Its versatility and performance make it ideal for hauling loads that were previously considered too long, too heavy, or too fragile to be transported by bicycle, from surfboards to passengers to groceries.

The team evolved from a group of students at Stanford into Xtracycle LLC (, a manufacturer, educator, and vehicle for social change. The company promotes their proprietary designs as boundary-pushing bicycles and soul-satisfying alternatives to automobile dependence. Profits from Xtracycle support Worldbike (, a non-profit organization that seeks to make their technology available to people in developing countries.

Both companies are targeting sustainable transportation as their ultimate goal.


Xtracycle is going strong! Employing eight people and with sales over $1million/year.

Global Health by Design

Stanford University, 2006 - $37,500

This grant supports the Global Health by Design (GHbD) project, an innovation fellowship that will address world health challenges through medical device design at Stanford University. The fellowship will be a collaboration between anthropology, engineering, medicine, public health, international economic policy, and business. The fellowship is built on the assumption that, in order to create and disseminate effective medical technologies in developing countries, the process needs to take place within sustainable businesses and industries in those same countries.

NCIIA funding is going toward cross-institution planning, which will take place for one year and include: choosing a host country, making connections with key colleagues in that country to facilitate the clinical immersion of the fellows, and finding partners in the host country to actualize the business plan and fund raising. GHbD will recruit four fellows, one of whom might be from the host country, and will train the fellows through a six-week boot camp that will include classroom lectures on health care, background on needs identification, information on basic biomedical technologies, an introduction to intellectual property, health care regulation, and basic health care technology economics. Fellows will travel to the host country in September for a three-month immersion, during which they will participate in the local health care delivery system and identify at least 250 clinical needs. On returning to Stanford, the fellows will process the clinical needs, conduct extensive research on forty of them, develop a detailed written profile of the clinical background, and present the profile to a faculty from the host country. Following this, fellows will invent several solutions to each problem. The solutions will be evaluated for technical feasibility, practicality, cost and manufacturability. Students from the Biodesign Innovation Class will further develop these concepts and GHbD fellows will serve as TAs for the course.

Strengthening Manufacturing Capacity of Burmese Metalworking Firms to Promote Sustained Development

Stanford University, 2007 - $49,480

International Development Enterprises (IDE) sells a wide variety of agricultural-output-increasing technology to the world's rural poor, including a popular treadle pump that increases the availability of water and raises household income by an average of $150 annually. IDE-Myanmar's sales of the pump have doubled each year since 2004, but with the scaling up of operations, managing efficient quality manufacturing in a less industrialized economy has become a pressing issue. Stanford's Design for Extreme Affordability students and faculty will work with IDE-Myanmar to design and implement a manufacturing system that enables the organization to meet its treadle pump production goals. This will involved investigating local Myanmar manufacturing conditions, designing a production system based around local needs, refining the system, and implementing it. Based on previous research, the team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will broadly improve the metalworking sector.

Summer 2009 update: Starting in late 2008, student and faculty teams held workshops at IDE-Myanmar. This team has designed and implemented a handful of jigs and fixtures, as well as set up and iterated a quality control system for metalworking firms. A quarter-long student project assisted IDE-Myanmar with process mapping and production pricing. The team has been able to analyze several rounds of QC data that they helped set up the collection of for IDE-Myanmar, which has allowed them to target areas for improvement. They plan to publish and disseminate their findings on the Burmese metalworking industry.

More about Lab-on-a-Stick, 2009 BMEidea winners

Stanford University's  Lab-on-a-Stick team talks more about their BMEidea award-winning innovation, here.


A Novel Device to Perform Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

Stanford University, 2004 - $18,369

This E-Team developed a device that simplifies the process of implanting Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) devices in human hearts. CRT devices (e.g., pacemakers) are used to treat instances of congestive heart failure (CHF). Implanting them requires attaching electrical leads to the ventricular walls of the heart, which in turn cause the heart to contract at regular intervals. This E-Team's device allows surgeons to access the left ventricular wall (the harder of the two walls to reach) by passing that electrical lead through the right ventricle, rather than routing it separately into the left ventricle. This approach allows for faster procedures with fewer surgical obstacles, minimizing the chances for failure.

CHF is a major (and growing) health problem, especially in the US. While pacemakers currently improve the lives of many people with CHF, the failure rate for the implant procedure is about 8%. Furthermore, there are many patients who are too sick to undergo such major surgery. Because this device lessens the operating time and avoids the obstacles surrounding the left ventricle, it could presumably make an impact in both of these groups.

Percutaneous Large Arteriotomy Site Closure

Stanford University, 2005 - $16,675

Arteriotomies (the surgical incision of an artery) are required for all catheter-based procedures. Current medical practice requires a large, open incision, an invasive procedure which increases recovery time, hospital and procedure costs, and patient discomfort. To combat these problems, this E-Team developed a device that closes large arteriotomies percutaneously--that is, closes them through the skin in a minimally invasive procedure. The device consists of two components: a vessel-cutting tool, which creates an incision in the vessel of the specific size and shape of the catheter to be used, and a closure mechanism, made of a pre-placed nitinol structure, that provides complete hemostasis to the arteriotomy when the catheter is removed.

A Novel Aortic Endograft with Adhesive-mediated Fixation and Seal for Endovascular Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Stanford University, 2005 - $15,898

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a dangerous swelling of the abdominal aorta, the vascular conduit that supplies oxygenated blood to the legs. Rupture of AAAs account for 15,000 deaths annually in the US. Open surgical repair of AAAs is currently the gold standard therapy, but comes with significant drawbacks: mid-procedure mortality rates range from 1.4-7.6%, and a number of patients are ineligible for the surgery because they cannot tolerate its invasiveness. As an alternative to open surgical repair, many new stent-grafts have been developed that slide into the aorta and essentially exclude the aneurysm from circulation. These devices are seen as a promising treatment that could reduce mortality rates, patient recovery time, and procedural costs, yet current stent-grafts are suboptimal: only about half of AAA patients are eligible for stent-graft treatment because of the varying anatomy of aneurysms, and the stent-grafts themselves suffer from long-term durability issues involving leaking and the migration of the devices from the site of the aneurysm. To address these issues this E-Team proposes to develop a stent-graft with an adhesive delivery platform that actively seals the stent-graft and fixes it securely in place in the aorta.

Update: the team, now incorporated as Endoluminal Sciences, has received $2 million in venture capital funding and is moving toward clinical trials.

A Novel System to Improve the Efficacy of Percutaneous Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Stanford University, 2005 - $7,250

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a cardiac rhythm disorder that can lead to heart palpitations, chest pain, and clot formation that can lead to strokes. Medications used to control the symptoms of AF have had limited success and come with significant side effects. Recent research suggests that AF is caused by electrically abnormal cells in the right and left side pulmonary veins; with this in mind, percutaneous catheter techniques have been developed in which a catheter is used to ablate (destroy) the conducting tissue around the abnormal cells, electrically isolating them so that they cannot initiate AF. However, this procedure has had limited success due to the fact that the catheter cannot always access the right-sided pulmonary veins given their physical location in the body and the variability of pulmonary vein anatomy from person to person.

To address this issue, this E-Team developed a novel sheath system that can target a catheter directly toward the right-sided pulmonary veins, leading to more effective AF ablations. The sheath system utilizes an anchored trans-septal sheath and an inner, pre-shaped guiding sheath to direct the ablation catheter directly toward right-sided pulmonary veins. The team also designed several inner sheaths to optimize the targeting of the catheter depending on whether the right superior, right inferior, or both right-sided pulmonary veins together are being isolated.

A Device to Accurately Access the Epidural Space for Administration of Anesthesia

Stanford University, 2006 - $18,500

This E-Team is developing a safer, more controlled method of performing an epidural. The current technique involves the advancement of a needle into the epidural space, relying heavily on a steady hand and the ability to halt needle advancement once loss of resistance is detected. Since this is a time-consuming process with a complication rate of 5-20%, epidurals are not used as often as they could be; less than half of epidural-eligible patients actually receive one.

The team's device consists of a rotating blunt-tipped syringe attached to a flexible shaft and operated by a pump actuator equipped with a safety alert button. This design has four advantages over the traditional model: 1) the blunt tip allows the physician to dissect, instead of cut, through to the epidural space, making the procedure easier and safer; 2) the device uses rotation to create controlled advancement of the needle, relying less on a steady hand; 3) the flexible shaft minimizes the torque encountered with a rigid one-piece system; and 4) the design maintains the familiar and reliable loss-of-resistance method to detect the epidural space.

A Method to Prevent Heart Dilation and Progression to Heart Failure

Stanford University, 2006 - $20,000

Congestive heart failure is a lethal disease characterized by the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's demands. Up to two-thirds of cases of CHF are initially caused by a heart attack, putting the cardiac wall under significant stress and triggering a series of changes that can cause the heart to enlarge. Currently there are no effective treatments for CHF, as drugs slow down but do not prevent the progression of the disease, and passive restraints to support the heart and prevent dilation are highly invasive and aimed only at individuals with end-stage CHF.

To combat these problems, this E-Team is developing a minimally invasive, polymer-based approach to physically support the heart of recent heart attack victims, preventing the heart from enlarging. The device involves the delivery of a primer and polymer that crosslink in the pericardial space around the heart. First, the heart is coated with the primer, which bonds to the heart surface. Next, the polymer is delivered to the same space and crosslinks with the primer, forming a thin elastic structure that provides physical support for the heart. The polymer will have enough elasticity to allow for proper filling and emptying of the heart, and will be biodegradable in order to provide support to the heart only during the vulnerable period immediately following a heart attack.

Method to Close Laparoscopic Fascial Trocar Sites

Stanford University, 2007 - $15,820

Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5-1.5 cm), as compared to the larger incisions common in traditional surgical procedures. The key element in laparoscopic surgery is the use of a telescopic rod/lens system, usually connected to a video camera, called a laparoscope. Using carbon dioxide, the abdomen is blown up like a balloon, elevating the abdominal wall above the internal organs and giving the surgeon room to operate. This approach has a number of advantages, including reduced blood loss, which means less likelihood of needing a blood transfusion; a smaller incision, which means shorter recovery time; and less pain, which equals less pain medication needed.

The approach isn't without drawbacks, however, as one of the most frustrating and time-consuming parts of the surgery is closing the small port sites in the abdominal wall that are made when accessing the operative site. If the port sites are closed improperly, the patient is at increased risk of hernia or bowel problems, requiring further treatment. This E-Team has developed a solution to automatically, safely and reliably close the port sites. The 10mm device has two opposing wings that open when placed into a port. An indicator on the device alerts the surgeon when the wings are in their final position, and the surgeon locks the device into position by pushing a plunger that drives two flexible needles from the shaft into the wings. The surgeon then releases the wings and pulls out the device, leaving a looped suture around the port site opening.


2009/10 updates

The team has formed the company SurgSolutions.

A Dynamic-Response Sling System for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stanford University, 2007 - $16,550

Urinary incontinence is a common, often embarrassing condition affecting millions of Americans. The most common form of the condition is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), the involuntary leakage of urine when sneezing, coughing, or otherwise exerting yourself. While current surgical treatments are effective for most women with SUI, this E-Team believes there is a need for a reliable, minimally invasive treatment for patients with Intrinsic Sphinteric Deficiency (ISD), in which the urethra functions poorly despite normal anatomical support. Given the fact that all male cases of SUI are caused by ISD, the greatest unmet need lies in the male market.

The team has filed a provisional patent and developed an alpha prototype. With NCIIA funding the team will design and refine more prototypes, file for a full patent, and develop a business plan and marketing strategy.

A Novel, Robust Device to Prevent Fetal Death During Labor & Delivery

Stanford University, 2007 - $20,000

It is standard practice in the US to monitor a mother and fetus during the labor and delivery process. However, the reliability and user-friendliness of current monitoring devices is questionable: the two sensors (fetal heart rate and contraction) must be strapped tightly to the woman's abdomen, require continual adjustment by nursing staff, limit mobility, and interfere with fetal monitoring during placement of an epidural.

This E-Team is developing a new approach to fetal monitoring. The team's solution consists of disposable adhesive patches placed on the mother's abdomen. The heart rate and contraction sensors are miniaturized and incorporated into the patches themselves. Once the patches are placed, they will not need adjustment by nurses, will not interfere with epidural placement, will allow the mother to move around more freely, and will provide more reliable data.

Low Cost Ventilator for Use in Developing Nations and Large Scale Disasters (Onebreath)

Stanford University, 2008 - $19,000

This E-Team is developing a low-cost ventilator - named Onebreath - for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. The state of preparedness of the US healthcare system for an influenza epidemic has been recently assessed, and it was determined that the nation's hospitals will not have enough ventilators to meet the anticipated demand (more than 740,000 would be needed; the US has 105,000). Meanwhile, in developing countries, millions die each year from lack of access to a common ventilator. To fill the need in both cases, the team is developing a low-cost ($300, where typical ventilators range from $8,000-$60,000), rechargeable, portable, disposable ventilator.


Endurance Rhythm

Stanford University, 2008 - $16,700

Every year, 10-20% of all pacemaker and implantable cardiac device (ICD) surgeries are replacements: the batteries fail, necessitating replacement of the entire device. This is an extra expense and surgical risk that could be avoided if the batteries lasted longer. To that end, this E-Team is developing a microgenerator consisting of a moving magnet and coil located within the tips of existing pacemakers' wire leads attached to the heart wall. The device will harvest the energy generated by the movement of the wall when the heart beats, thereby extending the life of the battery.

On location in Myanmar

Enjoy these video updates from one of our Sustainable Vision teams: Stanford University's project to strengthening manufacturing capacity of Burmese metalworking firms to promote sustained development. The team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will eventually diffuse to other areas, broadly improving the local metalworking sector.

Catching up with Stanford's Myanmar Sustainable Vision team

A student team from Stanford University's Design for Extreme Affordability program are heading to Myanmar this week to work on their projects with International Development Enterprises-Myanmar (IDE/M). The team's project, funded by an NCIIA Sustainable Vision grant, is to help IDE/M design and implement a new treadle pump manufacturing system, based around local conditions and needs. The team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will eventually diffuse to other areas, broadly improving the local metalworking sector.

Follow the team's progress online.


Stanford ventilator team receives Coulter grant

An NCIIA-funded E-Team from Stanford University has been awarded a Coulter grant that will help move its invention - an affordable ventilator - along the product development path.

The Stanford team is developing a low-cost ventilator for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. To fill the need in both cases, the team is developing a low-cost ($300, where typical ventilators range from $8,000-$60,000), rechargeable, portable, disposable ventilator. Read more about the grant here.

A Method to Prevent Airway Obstruction in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Stanford University, 2005 - $20,000

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a clinical disorder characterized by instability of the upper airway during sleep, leading to frequent episodes of breathing cessation (apnea) or decreased airflow, during which the patient has a brief arousal from sleep that allows for the resumption of breathing. These episodes can occur 400-500 times per night, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness that can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, car accidents, and premature death. There are numerous treatments for OSA currently on the market, but most of them have poor efficacy, poor patient compliance due to discomfort, and/or are very invasive. In response to this market need, this E-Team developed the Minimally Invasive Tongue Advancement Device (MiTAD), a tongue implant made of shape memory material that decreases the risk of obstruction during sleep by bringing the tongue upwards and forwards, increasing the cross-sectional area of the airway. The device can be implanted in an outpatient setting using a catheter-like delivery system: the implant is compressed and packed into the delivery system, then inserted by making a puncture in the lower aspect of the chin.

The E-Team believes its procedure is less invasive than current OSA treatments, provides for more accurate advancement of the tongue, allows the patient adequate tongue movement during speaking and swallowing, and comes at a low cost.

Digital Receipt Team

Stanford University, 2004 - $11,000

This E-Team developed a digital receipt system for retail and online stores. The system consists of a credit card-sized smart card with an embedded 1 Mb memory to store receipt data, a card reader/writer for stores, and a card reader/writer for the consumer’s personal computer that allows her to upload receipts from the card, organize them by category, and process them using spreadsheets. For an example of how the system works, take a typical return: the consumer hands the smart card to the cashier, who places it in the reader, finds the correct receipt, and matches it with the store’s receipt. With this device the team is looking to solve hassles with paper receipts, make check-out faster, save businesses money, and give the consumer an easy way to manage purchases.

The E-Team consisted of two electrical engineering undergraduate students and one biomechanical engineering undergraduate. David Kelley, founder and CEO of IDEO and currently a Stanford professor, advised the team.

Transesophaegal Cooling Device (TEC)

Stanford University, 2003 - $18,200

Multiple studies have shown that cold therapy can protect the heart from myocardial infarction by slowing blood flow through major organs after the onset of ischemia. Building on cold therapy theory, this E-Team invented the Transesophageal Cooling (TEC) device, which cools the damaged area of the heart immediately after ischemia by using a cooling transesophageal balloon catheter.

The device consists of a cooling balloon catheter inserted through the naso/oralpharyngeal pathway. Once the catheter is placed within the esophagus closest to the heart, a cooling fluid flows through the catheter. The process preserves myocardial cells during an Acute Myocardial Infarction by slowing down metabolism and decreasing reperfusion injury associated with other methods that treat acute coronary disease.

The E-Team included four graduate students specializing in engineering, business, medicine, and biotechnology. Two advisors with backgrounds in cardiovascular medicine and biodesign supported the students.

Experimental Haptics

Stanford University, 2002 - $27,000

In 2002, the Computer Science and Surgery Department at Stanford University offered CS277, Experimental Haptics, one of the first courses in haptics taught in the U.S. "Haptics" is the dynamic interaction of proprioception (our sense of space around the body), kinesthesis (our perception of external forces on the body), and tactility (our ability to sense the properties of surfaces on the skin), and of the science of using machines to stimulate these systems. The course provides students with basic knowledge of haptics, including current research and commercial potential. Students in the course gain a basic set of tools for developing hardware and software for haptics interfaces. They then form E-Teams to pursue independent projects in haptics with support of the course administrators and the Stanford Haptic Laboratory. Projects from last year's course included: linking the SensAble Phantom to a Sony Playstation to make the surgical simulation available on a low-cost computer platform; developing "Haptic Battle Pong," a video game that integrates the advanced sensibilities of the Phantom; and developing a haptic interface that uses mechanical brakes to simulate contact with virtual objects. In addition to project work, E-Teams attend a lecture series featuring key pioneers in haptic technology.

This project will improve Experimental Haptics with support from the NCIIA, based on lessons learned from the initial course. Though the first course was successful, it lacked several elements that would allow students to pursue even more complex projects or turn existing projects into commercially viable products. Students lacked access to computer hardware and haptic devices crucial to project development. The proposal requests funds for haptic interface hardware, three computers, additional supplies for hardware projects, and patent/publication/marketing funds.

The Stanford MarrowMiner Bone Marrow Harvest Device E-Team

Stanford University, 2002 - $14,500

In 2000, approximately 40,000 marrow transplants were performed worldwide. In the field of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), an autologous transplant involves bone marrow harvesting from the patient, and feeding the marrow back to the same patient following treatment with high-dose chemotherapy. An allogeneic transplant refers to the procedure of harvesting bone marrow from a healthy donor and giving it to the patient who has received high doses of chemotherapy and radiation.

Because both of these harvesting methods are expensive and tedious, the MarrowMiner E-Team developed an innovative device and method for rapidly harvesting bone marrow and the stem cells bone marrow contains. The team incorporated as StemCor Systems.


In 2008, the team signed an agreement with Hospira, Inc. to develop and commercialize StemCor's proprietary system for the harvest of  bone marrow. 


The Breast Examination Simulator: A Training and Assessment Tool for Patients and Physicians

Stanford University, 2002 - $16,700

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women in the US and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection leads to early treatment and improved patient outcome. Breast Self-Exams (BSE) aid early discovery of the disease, but only 29% of women regularly conduct the exam. Part of the reason for this low percentage is that health care providers do not have a standardized method for teaching breast examination skills.

In response to this lack of uniformity, the Brest Examination Simulator E-Team developed training tools to simulate breast exams and teach the proper procedure. The team created computerized, strap-on breast models for teaching patients how to perform breast self-exams and plated breast models for teaching medical students, residents, nursing students, and physician assistants to perform clinical exams. Each model simulates various conditions, including normal and pathologic. Both models contain electronic sensors to communicate users' movements to a computer screen as they examine the models. The computer data provides individualized performance evaluations and helps define the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of an adequate clinical exam, thereby standardizing the method. Model development is based on the E-pelvis simulator, which one of the E-Team members designed.

Stanford Medical Device Course & Prototype

Stanford University - $45000.00

This E-Team program supports the development of early stage commercialization of products formed within the Medical Device Network at Stanford University. The program draws on the Medical Device Design Program in the medical school and the Product Realization Lab in the engineering school. The program combines three elements. The first is the twice yearly Medical Device Invention Challenge, where students design solutions around a medical problem ripe for innovation. The program also offers a new course sequence in medical device design that is open to undergraduate and graduate students and will be a combination of lectures and team projects. The last development supports medical device ideas that occur outside the sequence of courses, called Medical Device Prototyping Pathways. Typically, this part of the program requires student independent study where the faculty develops pathways and student-driven E-Teams with mentors

The Cue Card Emergency Medical Aid

Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

Observations and published studies reveal that retention of emergency first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills is difficult. When these skills are not regularly used, both lay people and highly trained professionals (police, nurses and doctors) lose the ability to give adequate care within three months after training. This E-Team team developed a device that gives audio prompts to a rescuer, coaching a standard lifesaving algorithm. The device is about the size of a credit card and inexpensive to produce.

The team first started work on this idea in an advanced product design course called Needfinding. They found a common lack of confidence amongst survey respondents in being able to retain CPR training. The two students on the team were graduate students in product design, and they were assisted by a faculty advisor in product design and several industry advisors with experience in the medical industry, business development, and product design.

Simple Anastomosis Device Team

Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

The standard method surgeons use to join grafted blood vessels to host vessels in cardiac bypass surgery is called hand suturing. This procedure creates a tight seal but is time-consuming and subject to a "purse-string effect," a common cause of bypass surgery failure. In most cases, the heart must be arrested during the procedure, leading to poor recovery and multiple complications. This E-Team received funding to develop and prototype a device that joins grafted blood vessels to host vessels in cardiac bypass surgery. The technology joins the vessels together without the complicated maneuvers that are difficult to perform on a beating heart. The procedure requires only fifteen seconds to implant the device and establishes the required "intima to intima contact" (the inside of one vessel to the inside of another vessel) between the anastomosed vessels.

The device is low cost and straightforward to manufacture. Due to its simplicity, surgeons can easily adopt the device and method since it does not require extensive training. The device that the team designed allows for minimally invasive surgery and would have fewer complications than other options.

Strategic Invention

NCIIA supported the incorporation of E-Teams into a business strategy and planning course at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Students develop projects based on innovations they develop themselves or obtain the rights to develop. Groups call on the network of experts the university has assembled for market assessment mentors. No prototypes are built in the course, but business plans are written and presented to a panel of entrepreneurs, and the option to continue work as Advanced E-Teams is available
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