Competition Highlights Student Biomedical Innovation

June 1, 2006

3 Min Read
Competition Highlights Student Biomedical Innovation

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (Hadley, MA) recognized the outstanding work of four collegiate biomedical engineering teams during the Medical Design Excellence Awards ceremony at the Medical Design & Manufacturing East exposition in New York City this month. The Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Award (BMEidea) competition, now in its second year, recognizes excellence in student biomedical innovation.

The BMEidea competition is open to collegiate teams from NCIIA member institutions across the United States. “These student teams display an impressive level of creativity, drive, and professionalism,” says Phil Weilerstein, NCIIA executive director. “Their innovations show promise to change the future of healthcare, and we are thrilled to support them as they move forward.”

The first-place prize of $10,000 was awarded to NanoGraft Technologies, a team from the University of California, Berkeley. This team created a tissue engineering approach to constructing “smart” vascular grafts (NanoGrafts) from bone-marrow stem cells to be used in coronary artery bypass graft procedures. This custom, adaptable grafts method offers a higher likelihood of success than traditional grafts.

A second-place prize of $2500 was given to the Ultramed ultrasound breast cancer detection team from Pennsylvania State University. This team is developing alternatives to available breast cancer detection methods by improving current ultrasound technology. Ultramed's detection system will offer advantages over mammography, which may fail to detect cancer in women with high breast density.

Tying for second place, and also receiving an award of $2500, was AnemiCAM from Brown University. This team has developed a light-reflecting device, to be manufactured for less than $30, that will enable physicians worldwide to assess hemoglobin levels quickly and noninvasively by shining it in the lower eyelid, and as a result better detect anemia.

The third-place prize of $1000 was given to Robopsy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The MIT team devised a telerobotic biopsy system that will facilitate earlier, more-accurate diagnoses of cancerous lesions. Initial trials indicate that the team's method can detect lesions smaller than 5mm, whereas current procedures are reliable to 20mm.

The BMEidea competition is sponsored by NCIIA; Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry magazine, a Canon Communications LLC publication; the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA); the National Science Foundation; and Guidant; and is endorsed by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Programs. Additional information about the program is available via the NCIIA Web site at

© 2006 Canon Communications LLC

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