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BME’s student-led groups continue to dominate in national and international medical device design competitions. In June, the ASAIO (formerly American Society for Artificial Internal Organs) held its annual conference and student design competition, inviting seven student groups to present their medical innovations for a chance to win funding. Out of the seven, two BME groups emerged as winners: BetterFlux Technologies, led by Jonathan Freund, won first place; and Belltower Medical, led by Rizwan Dard and Thomas Wright, came in third.

BetterFlux Technologies has designed a way to clear blockages in ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts using ferromagnetic fluid. The device is an attachment to current technology and does not require a physician to operate it; patients can clear and prevent blockages from the comfort of their own home. The team, comprised of Jon Freund, Emily Fawcett, Michael Lebhar, Michael Rogers, Laura Feinleib, Ansel Dow, Jerrel (Trey) Cobb, and Kara Segerstrom, has shadowed and been mentored by physicians at Duke Hospital as well as industry giants such as Medtronic. The team has now tied for first in the i4 competition, won the ASAIO design competition, and were runners-up in the Innovate Carolina competition. BetterFlux has filed for a provisional patent for this patient-centered technology.

Belltower Medical has developed a safer urinary catheter that reduces infection rates in hospital patients. Currently, 40% of all hospital infections are a direct result of urinary catheters, which ultimately costs hospitals between $5,000 and $20,000 per patient. The team’s two-fold solution reduces some of the main causes of infection by limiting bacterial exposure both during and after insertion, as well as reduces the amount of residual volume in the bladder. By collaborating closely with clinicians, medical device design companies, and urinary catheter manufacturers, they have been able to design clinically effective and marketable solutions. Belltower Medical’s team members are Rizwan Dard, Brandon Regnerus, Hope Piercy, Joel Newton, and Thomas Wright.

Congratulations to all members of BetterFlux Technologies and Belltower Medical. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next!

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