BMES Students Win Highest Potential Award

Team show award
Team (left to right): Hanh Vu, Denice Serna, Colin Brady, Sneha Srinivasan, and Shreejit Padmanabhan.

Biomedical engineering students Sneha Srinivasan, Shreejit Padmanabhan, Denice Serna, Colin Brady and Hanh Vu proudly brought home the Highest Potential Award from UC Davis' recent T.E.A.M Medical Make-a-thon. The Make-a-thon is an annual event where participating teams from different universities compete to solve a real-world problem by creating a feasible design and prototype under 48 hours.

This year's challenge involved creating a solution to coccidioidomycosis, a fungal infection caused by a dimorphic fungus present in the soil of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and some Central and South American countries. Unlike most other fungal pathogens, coccidioides species infect healthy mammals, including humans, usually via inhalation of airborne arthroconidia (spores) from disturbed soil.

While the team's initial efforts ran into issues, they won the Highest Potential Award thanks to showing great improvement in their device design from the phase one presentations, and having a high potential in contributing to the installation & implementation of the new device in the UC Davis Coccidioidomycosis Research lab. It was one of the top 3 awards given at the UC Davis Medical Device Make-a-thon.

"Our device eliminates the need for a syringe or vacuum because gravity now assists in the removal of the plug," says Denice. "The petri dish is inverted so it rests on the device and the locking mechanism provided by the notches allow for stable and consecutive placement of the seven hole cut. The gel plugs would stack up within a compartment in the device and easily be discarded."

Congratulations, Spartans! Below, Colin shows an exploded view of the prototype.

exploded view demo'ed by student