WUSTL

​IDEA Labs teams unveil medical innovations​​​​​

By Allison Braun
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PHOTOS BY ALLISON BRAUN

IDEA Labs is a student-run bioengineering design incubator that brings together students from across the university to solve problems in health care with innovative solutions. At “Problem Day” in the fall, clinicians were invited to share problems they hoped the students could solve. The teams then designed prototypes for inventions aimed at solving the problems and presented them in April at “Demo Day.”​
David B. Clifford, MD (left), proposed an adjustable chair for repositioning patients during lumbar puncture (spinal tap) procedures. A team of students (right) presented a prototype dubbed IDEAL Tap that they designed to meet Clifford’s request. They unveiled their work at Demo Day on April 18 at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center on the Medical Campus. Clifford, the Melba and Forest Seay Professor of Clinical Neuropharmacol​ogy, said, “It is exciting to see these bright people working on making it a reality.”
The team included undergraduate engineering student Matthew Burkhardt (seated), who won a summer internship through the University’s Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies to continue developing the invention. His teammates are (from left) undergraduate students Yuni Teh and Katrina Leyden and graduate student Adina Stoica, of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and medical student Elizabeth Rosenberg.


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​DataDog team members (from left) Ravi Chacko, Sagar Mehta and Alexander Brenner pose with faculty mentor Dehra Glueck, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, and teammates Nick Forsch, Morgan Carlile and Elizabeth Russell. The team won for best overall presentation. The group developed a smartphone app that uses heart rate and other vital signs to help detect the onset of anxiety attacks. The app also offers breathing and relaxation techniques to rein in anxiety episodes. Chacko is in the Medical Scientist Training Program,​ and Mehta is a medical student. The others are undergraduates in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

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Ben Burke, director of operations at Arch Grants and an MBA student at Olin Business School (from left), poses with Epi Squared team members Wayne Chang and Joe McDonald; Olin senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and director of the entrepreneurship platform, Clifford Holekamp; and Rohan Jalalizadeh and Paul Gamble. To help patients with epilepsy, the team developed a device that alleviates seizures and that can be activated and charged by wireless technology. Epi Squared won for best business opportunity at Demo Day, earning a spot at Arch Grants’ business plan competition April 26. Participants will learn May 21 if they’ve won a $50,000 grant. Chang and McDonald are undergraduates in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Jalalizadeh and Gamble are medical students.

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IDEA Labs co-founder Avik Som welcomes participants, supporters, entrepreneurs and judges who filled the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center auditorium for Demo Day. Som, a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program, explained the collaborative nature of the student-run bioengineering design incubator and introduced the event's speaker, Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD, vice chancellor for research. "The thing that is so amazing about IDEA Labs," Kharasch said to the students, "is that you're taking what you've learned and putting it into action." To learn more about IDEA Labs and the other inventions presented, read the St. Louis Post- Dispatch's coverage of Demo Day or visit the group's website​.