“I couldn’t even begin to say how much I learned from this project, especially after seeing it through from the early stages all the way to a first prototype. Lecture was helpful and working with a real-life project in the early stages of development was extremely beneficial. The project and lecture series gave real insight into the process of getting a medical device from the lab into a commercial product.” -Doug Roberts, student team member
In Medical Product Development (BIOENG 2151), students learn about the important details that bring an innovation to the public: regulatory analysis, market analysis, and intellectual property analysis to name a few. To provide a hands-on learning experience, the professors match groups of students to a clinical mentor that has an early-stage medical device concept/ prototype. Aquapore was one of the teams in the Spring 2016 course and they had a very successful experience with their project and clinical mentor.
The students on the team were Adam Czibur (MPE-MS), Randy Lee (PhD), Doug Roberts (MPE-MS), Tim Simon (MBA-MS) and Celia Sun (MPE-MS).
Aquapore is a new prosthetic liner, developed by Esteban Ruiz, that aims to reduce chafing, rashes and pain. The five-person team would meet with Esteban Ruiz, a PhD student who works with Dr. Brienza, on a weekly basis to learn about the continued innovation of the liner prototype as well as update their mentors on their own progress with their development work on Aquapore. This close collaboration was key to the students’ immersive educational experience.
Doug Roberts had previously worked with the Aquapore mentors in Fall 2015 through the Office of Enterprise Development with the Innovation Institute. This experience contributed to the team’s close working relationship with their mentors in the spring semester. Doug notes that his early connections and previous grasp on the technology helped his MPD team hit the ground running; their collaborative teamwork in MPD helped build on this earlier work that he had done for Aquapore.
The mentors had preliminary development work but the students were able to enter the project and delve deeper into the medical product development of Aquapore and particularly provide new insight for their mentors on the business plan and financial details. There was a symbiotic relationship between the technical development of the mentors, and the business development of the students.
The student work in Medical Product Development is representative of the hands-on learning experiences that the Center for Medical Innovation provides in its graduate programs. For projects like Aquapore, it was both an educational exercise for the students, and a beneficial resource for the mentors.
Author: Julia Lopez, CMI Fellow