When faculty, medical and engineering students collaborate to design solutions for problems in clinical medicine and healthcare delivery they combine powerful knowledge and perspectives that often develop prototypes in one semester. Members of Wash U’s IDEA Labs explain how the collaboration works and talk about projects that are helping patients in this episode of the Domain Tech Report on



Seven current and former Washington University in St. Louis students, collectively known as “The Force,” took home the top prize of $50,000 during the GlobalHack event held Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Union Station in St. Louis.

Eric Elias (BSBA ‘07), senior Arts & Sciences student Kristy Okada, junior fine arts student Leslie Ding, freshman engineering student Du Zhang, junior engineering student SeungJu SJ Lee, sophomore architecture student Daniel Borstelmann and junior engineering student Fangzhou Xiao made up the team.

“I still cannot believe my team and I won,” Okada said. “We were up against professionals with years of experience and other amazingly smart teams with great ideas. What made the win more gratifying was the fact that every individual was from the university. Most of us had never previously met before that day, but we came together, collaborated and created something we are all proud of. Even if we didn’t win, I’m glad to have participated because I made so many new friends and connections.”

GlobalHack’s quarterly hackathon competitions bring together developers, designers and entrepreneurs for 48-hour computer programming events focused on solving a technology-related problem for a St. Louis-based company. Teams compete for a $50,000 cash prize, among other prizes.

Teams were asked to develop a new software solution tool to help sales organizations manage their sales leads within the platform.

The event drew more than 200 participants from St. Louis and beyond. Each team of up to 10 members had 48 hours to build an application on top of the Salesforce1 platform. The title sponsor, TopOpps for this event, makes a $50,000 acquisition offer to the winning team for the prototype that they develop during the weekend-long event.

“The WUSTL team stood apart from the others through the predictive analytics features and built-in recommendation engines that they developed in their solution,” said Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Olin Business School and one of the judges for the competition.

“It was impressive that this young team was so savvy to the business analytics that sales managers would need in order to make better management decisions,” he said.

The hackathon was sponsored by TopOpps, Bank of America and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Partners were Arch Grants, Cultivation Capital, Lockerdome, Strangeloop, T-Rex, Think Big Partners, Techli and WUSTL’s School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Entrepreneurship Platform at Olin Business School.

“The Force’s success at GlobalHack is indicative of the active and talented computer science community at Washington University,” said junior Shane Carr, president of the university’s Association for Computing Machinery. “Through our weekly Thursday Tech Talks and Code & Cookies programming sessions, we are proud to provide a meaningful lineup of events for the enrichment of students in the computer science program.”

GlobalHack is a nonprofit organization that hosts quarterly hackathon competitions and an annual product competition, with plans to award more than $1 million in prize money annually. The second GlobalHack event will be held in May. Learn more at

GlobalHack was co-sponsored by the WUSTL School of Engineering and the Entrepreneurship Platform at Olin Business School.

Post by Neil Schoenherr, WUSTL News

Photo credit:, The Force team with TopOpps founder Jim Eberlin.


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antimicrobial resistance is one our most serious health threats, with infections from resistant bacteria becoming far too common. Part of the problem is over-prescription of antibiotics.

Nanopore Diagnostics hopes to change that.

Founded by Washington University in St. Louis post-doctoral research scholar Tom Cohen and PhD/MBA student Benjamin Borgo, the company won this year’s Olin Cup prize and $50,000 in seed investment during a ceremony highlighted by remarks from David Karandish (BS ’05), CEO of Answers Corp.

Borgo also was awarded the $5,000 cash student prize. The team’s third partner is Christoph Bausch.

Nanopore is developing a test to fight the spread of antibiotic resistance. The test, which takes 20 minutes to read, will identify whether the patient can benefit from antibiotics, and if so, which one to prescribe.

“It feels pretty exciting to have won,” Cohen said. “I was actually a competitor last year and made it to the finals. Through this entire process, the Olin Cup competition has provided a lot to us. It’s not only the feedback you get from the judges, but also the way the Olin Cup links you with mentors throughout the process. Much of the network we’ve been able to build and utilize to gain traction in St. Louis has come through those connections.”

In his keynote address, Karandish spoke of his attempts to start seven different businesses before graduating from WUSTL. He said all of the attempts were failures, and he and his business partner and classmate Chris Sims did not have jobs when they graduated. He spoke of the seven years of “fasting” before founding AFCV Holdings, now known as Answers, and the seven years of “feasting” since then.

He concluded by saying the experience taught him and Sims the important entrepreneurial skills of building key partnerships, picking the right business model, capital structure and product distribution.

“The skills you learn as you try and fail are the building blocks of your ultimate success,” Karandish said. “Keep at it, and the skills will drive you toward success.”

The event also included remarks from Mark Pydynowski (BSBA ’04), who won the 2005 Olin Cup. Mark returned on behalf of all Olin Cup past participants to express his thanks and appreciation to Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, who plans to leave the university in August.

In announcing the Olin Cup winners, Harrington thanked Pydynowski and commented on the growth of the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis.

“The Skandalaris Center supports entrepreneurs at the idea stage and helps smart people run into each other so good things happen,” Harrington said. “As more entrepreneurs try, the community gets smarter, and more people will be successful like David and Chris, who in turn provide financial and mentoring support to startups. Our Olin Cup companies are getting better every year.”

In addition to Nanopore, two finalist teams received $20,000 each in seed funding:

Genetix Fusion, a company developing the next generation of transfection kits for biomedical researchers, and SynerZ Medical, which is developing an outpatient device for treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Olin Business School is the Skandalaris Center’s partner in the Olin Cup, with additional sponsorship from the law firm Polsinelli, accounting firm RubinBrown, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, and Lopata, Flegel & Co.


Winners of the 2014 Arch Grants competition will get $50,000 to base their startup company in St. Louis and benefit from all the mentoring and pro bono services that come with the prize. But to win, you’ve got play the game…applications are due Feb. 21, 2014 at midnight, CST.

Meet the new executive director of Arch Grants, Ginger Imster, in this episode of the Techli Domain Report.



Welcome the year of the horse with a wonderful night of delicious East-Asian food, mysterious oriental dances, beautiful songs, and fun activities. Please join us!

February is going to be a big time for the celebration of 2014 Lunar New Year. The Great China Club (GCC), collaborating with Korean Olin Student Association (KOSA) and Olin Japan Association (OJA), is enthusiastically organizing a celebration party with cultural performances and exciting activities. Don’t miss this excellent and meaningful social event at Olin!

Tickets are available in the Flag Hallway: $15

Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the longest and most important holiday on the Chinese calendar. Lunar New Year’ Eve in 2014 begins on Jan. 31. It is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.

Lunar new year 2014The biggest event of Chinese New Year’s Eve is the dinner every family will have. Families will have reunions just as people do on Thanksgiving in the U.S.  At midnight, fireworks and firecrackers will light up the whole sky, which according to tradition is to scare away evil spirits. The burning of firecrackers also signifies a joyful time of year and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.

More Lunar Year Festivities

At Wash U’s Edison Theater, Friday, Jan. 31 at 2:00pm; or Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:00pm,
“Strength in Motion,” a lively showcase of music, drama, and cultural dance, including the traditional lion and Chinese Fan dances and the modern Fusion dance will be presented to celebrate Lunar New Year. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the Edison Theatre Box Office in the Mallinckrodt building. Visit  for more information.

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