The winning team, named Project Starfish, is creating a device that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light (UVC), which kills bacteria, molds, viruses and other pathogens, to continuously and effectively kill bacteria in urinary catheters. About 75 percent of urinary tract infections acquired in the hospital are associated with the use of a catheter, and up to 25 percent of hospitalized patients in the hospital receive a urinary catheter, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Project Starfish has received a provisional patent for its device and has confirmed with FDA consultants that the device will follow a relatively inexpensive regulatory pathway, said Elizabeth Bowman. Bowman received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in commercial entrepreneurship May 19.
“We’re really glad that we won this competition because we needed to the money to move us forward to the next step,” said Bowman, who plans to continue working on the project in addition to working as a health-care consultant in Silicon Valley.
Other team members are:
- John Bisognono, sophomore, majoring in computer science with a minor in bioinformatics
- Elliot Jaffe, BS/MS student in electrical engineering with a second major in physics
- Caleb Ji, first-year student majoring in math
- Daniel Lane, doctoral student in biomedical engineering
- Jessica Miller, founder and an MD/PhD student at the School of Medicine and in biomedical engineering
- Vineet Chauhan and John Henschen, MBA students in the Olin Business School
- Jay Vasileva, a graduating biomedical engineering student from Saint Louis University
Project Starfish plans to incorporate this summer.
The School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Discovery Competition promotes innovative discoveries that solve a particular challenge or need. The competition provides undergrad engineering students a forum to explore their entrepreneurial interests with support from mentors, to use their creativity to develop solutions for real-world problems, and to compete for financial resources that could help turn their ideas into businesses. The annual competition is funded by Engineering alumni.
By: Beth Miller, School of Engineering & Applied Science