Leading the way in collaborative learning and innovation
By: Author: John Langell, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA | Apr 17, 2017 1:00 PM
The University of Utah is now ranked the top research institution in the nation for commercializing technology innovations – ahead of Columbia University, University of Florida, Brigham Young University and Stanford University. How did we do this? Through a variety of research and entrepreneurial endeavors across our campus, including the Center for Medical Innovation, Technology & Venture Commercialization, Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and Center for Engineering Innovation. We have an amazing and long-established culture of entrepreneurship and a track record of groundbreaking and translational research.
In the following guest blog, Executive Director of the Center for Medical Innovation John Langell, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, shares how a popular student program is channeling our legacy of discovery into cross-disciplinary, collaborative learning and invention.
Guest Blog by John Langell:
At the University of Utah, we have a long, rich history of medical firsts and scientific breakthroughs. We credit this incredible legacy to the researchers and scientists who were – and still are – compelled to come to Utah, to be part of a distinctly collaborative ecosystem. Utah is a place where great talents are advancing science, health and technology in ways that can’t be done anywhere else. Today, with the Bench-to-Bedside (B2B) competition, we are building on this incredible legacy by fostering the brightest minds and entrepreneurs of the next generation. B2B competitors identify unmet medical needs and set out to create unique and disruptive solutions meant to be more cost effective and produce higher quality care. Student teams start with a toolkit of six months, $500, and the mentorship of dedicated faculty and industry professionals. The students develop real-world devices through collaborations across many unique disciplines including medicine, engineering, informatics, business, law, film & media arts, architecture, mathematics, biology, chemistry, computer science and others. It’s incredible to think about what has happened since we launched the B2B program in 2010:
- Mentored 820 participants on 176 teams
- 180 medical devices created
- 117 patents filed
- 38 companies
Our students are transforming science and medicine in ways we never thought possible. More than 35 interdisciplinary student teams competed in this year’s seventh annual B2B competition. Fourteen teams were awarded nearly $80,000 in prize money to propel their innovations to the next level.
This year’s $15,000 grand prize was awarded to Cardiac Cath Cam. The device provides direct, real-time visualization inside the heart. Fiber optics are incorporated through a three-lumen catheter that integrates with a lens and small camera in the handle of the device. A syringe inside the handle pushes a saline bolus through the larger third lumen to evacuate blood so an image can be captured and displayed on the monitors in the Operating Room. Cardiac Cath Cam facilitates easier crossing of the septum, leading to improved accuracy, reduced operating room time and reduced overall cost of procedures.
B2B 2017 Competition Grand Prize Winners, Cardiac Cath Cam Team
Cardiac Cath Cam
An exciting first this year was the inclusion of two teams from Rowland Hall, a local private high school. Both teams came with well-planned projects that were on par with competitors from the University. A new B2B award for Best Young Entrepreneur went to the ColoClean team from Rowland Hall for their user-friendly prep kit that minimizes patient discomfort while increasing the effectiveness of colonoscopies. We’re keeping a close eye on these young innovators and are excited to see this aspect of the competition grow.
We believe that investing in the young leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow is not only a roadmap to ensuring Utah’s future success — we’re making a national and global impact as well. This is evident in the achievements of legacy teams from former competitions who have introduced their products to the market. One of my favorite examples is LIGHT LINE. In 2012, LIGHT LINE won B2B’s Best in Engineering Award, Best Visual/Poster Award and Startup Center for Students Award.
Their original device was an innovative urinary catheter using phototherapy to reduce hospital-acquired infections. Previous studies of similar treatments had shown them to be 90 percent effective at killing bacteria, but the treatment had never been used in a catheter in an actual patient. Since its 2012 B2B competition win, LIGHT LINE has applied its technology to address hospital-acquired infections in multiple areas, including respiratory care and vascular access, and developed two additional products to serve those needs. LIGHT LINE is now awaiting FDA approval on all three of its devices and expects approval for its original device in 2018.
Another way we see the B2B program having global impact is by serving as a model for other universities around the world. Recognizing our recipe for success –– incredible student leadership, interdisciplinary teams and access to physician and industry mentors –– the National University of Singapore started its own B2B program this year, and the University of Hawaii is starting a similar program next year. Based on the expressed interest of these and other institutions, we are currently exploring the possibility of a national or international competition.
Every year, B2B competitors raise the bar with the scope and quality of their work. This year we have already seen 25 provisional patents filed (with more in progress) — more than any other year to date. When you think about the life-altering innovations that are spawned from a small team of students at the University of Utah who have little more than six months, $500, and a budding idea – it’s quite amazing!comments powered by Disqus