UNM Biodesign competition winners announced

December 11, 2015 - UNM NSME

Judges declared two winners in a biodesign competition held yesterday at the University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. The winning proposals were in the area of trauma surgery, one for a device that stabilizes a fractured pelvis but gives the physician frontal access to the patient, and another for realtime three-dimensional imaging of metal objects inside the body, such as bullets or the metal tip of a feeding tube. Professor Christina Salas, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics, led one of the winning teams, comprised of three graduate students in the School of Engineering, Sherif Aboubakr, Aneesha Kondapi and Rachel Tufaro. Professor Sang M. Han, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, led the other winning team, comprised of four graduate students, Nicholas Brechtel, Jarred Caldwell, Nate Madrid, and Divya Prakash. The physician mentoring both teams was Dr. Thomas Howdieshell, a trauma surgeon at University of New Mexico Hospital, and Professor of Surgery in UNM's School of Medicine.

The two teams split a prize of $50,000.

The competition is the result of a cross-campus collaboration between UNM's Health Sciences Center and School of Engineering. It was the brainchild of a group led by Health Science Center Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Larson, and the Dean of UNM's School of Engineering, Joseph Cecchi. They conceived a 3-credit course modeled after Stanford University's structured biodesign methodology. A primary interest of the group is to respond to a call by the National Institutes of Health for greater "translation" of university inventions into commercial products for medical practitioners. UNM's Clinical & Translational Science Center is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The competition was held at the Center.

Judges for the panel were Ms. Susan Evatt, Principal of RNE Associates, Co-founder MyoSENS Diagnostics, LLC, and a member of New Mexico Angels; Thomas Howdieshell, UNM Hospital Trauma Surgeon; Nancy Kanagy, UNM School of Medicine, Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology; Richard Larson, UNM Health Sciences Center Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Research; UNM School of Medicine, Professor of Pathology; and Andrew Shreve, Director, UNM Center for Biomedical Engineering; UNM School of Engineering, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The course instructor was Dr. Scott S. Sibbett, Research Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Course mentors were Dr. Eric Prossnitz, Professor Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine, and Dr. Shreve.

During the Spring semester of 2016, the teams will reconvene to begin the work they envisioned in their winning proposals.

Contact for more information: Dr. Scott S. Sibbett, cell +1-505-850-9218.