By Ruben Asebedo/College of Engineering
Dr. Teja Guda, an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department and Assistant Director of the Center of Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) at the University of Texas at San Antonio, along with a team of six biomedical undergraduate students, have been selected to represent UTSA for competing in the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Coulter College Program this August in Coral Gables, Florida.
The six biomedical undergraduate students are Christopher Moreau, Natalie Casso, Sanjiv Patel, Andres Morales, Marilyn Yeatts, and Krysta-Lynn Amezcua. These six students, classified as undergraduate seniors by Fall 2015, have completed a course in Biomedical Engineering Technology and Product Development and are student members of the national Biomedical Engineering Society.
This year, the BMES Coulter College welcomes twenty different teams from universities across the nation to gather at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables hotel. These student teams will participate in an intense four-day training program from August 13 to August 16, 2015 that will focus on translating biomedical innovations into novel solutions for identified, yet unmet, medical problems.
“The program offers a number of clinical needs for us to rank which will help determine what we will be assigned as we head off to Coral Gables in August,” said Natalie Casso, a member of the UTSA team attending this year’s Coulter College Program. “It’s exciting to know we’ll get to take away important lessons from experienced professionals and have a chance to develop something novel to help people,” said another team member Andres Morales.
The Coulter College Program is supported by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and educates students on topics ranging from patent protection, regulatory concerns, and commercialization pathways for medical device innovations. Led by a faculty from the team’s home university, the program provides student teams with unique leveraging approaches and successful market strategies. These tactics help to shape highly innovative solutions and resolve significant clinical problems.
“I believe this will be a great opportunity for us as undergrads because we will be representing UTSA in a very prestigious engineering competition in which we will be given the chance to work as a team to solve unmet medical problems to in-turn benefit people in need of these solutions,” said Sanjiv Patel, a team member.
In addition to the faculty lead, each team is allowed to appoint an optional clinical collaborator, who can help the team answer questions pertinent to the field of work during the dedicated design day. This ensures that a clinical perspective is maintained during the development of solutions and provides for easy translation towards therapeutic applications.
“This competition provides an environment ideally suited to test our design skills by integrating research, clinician opinions, and the variety of skills each member brings to the team,” said team member Marilyn Yeatts.
According to bmes.org/coulter, programs like the BMES Coulter College event are prime examples on how to fully utilize fresh ideas from young talent and translating them into innovative products and methods for patients’ needs. Students returning from such a program are often better educated on a variety of practical considerations involved in medical device design and entrepreneurship and will be better prepared to tackle medical challenges in their capstone senior design projects.