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The NCIIA Recognizes Collegiate Biomedical Engineering Innovations

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) presents BMEidea Awards to three student teams with breakthrough discoveries for nerve injuries, premature babies and the delivery of local anesthetic

HADLEY, Mass., June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the NCIIA presented awards to three collegiate biomedical engineering teams, recognizing their outstanding work in the field. The top winners in the Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Award (BMEidea) Competition -- a national competition celebrating student biomedical innovation -- were announced during the Medical Design Excellence Awards ceremony at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East trade show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

The BMEidea Competition, now in its third year, is open to collegiate teams from NCIIA member institutions across the United States. "These student teams display an impressive level of creativity, drive and professionalism," said Phil Weilerstein, Executive Director of the NCIIA. "Their innovations show promise to change the future of healthcare, and we are thrilled to support them as they move forward."

The first prize -- a cash award of $10,000 -- was awarded to Rapid Suture from Stanford University. This team created a small, inexpensive device that allows for the quick, safe and easy closure of laparoscopic incision wounds after surgery. The device should make for easier suturing, leading to reduced procedure times, fewer surgical risks and faster patient recovery.

The second cash prize of $2,500 was given to the KMC ApneAlert team from Northwestern University. This team's device monitors the abdominal breathing movements of premature infants and sounds an alarm when the infant stops breathing. The apnea monitor should allow for better detection of apnea episodes, improving the success of the Kangaroo Mother Care program and reducing apnea-related deaths among premature infants in the developing world.

The third prize, $1,000 in cash, was given to the REGEN team from Johns Hopkins University. REGEN is a small implantable receptacle that diffuses pain-relieving analgesic at a controlled and sustained rate directly at the site of a laparoscopic incision. This new approach to post-laparoscopic surgery pain management should facilitate faster wound recovery; improve safety; and decrease costs while minimizing side effects.

Teams from Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University School of Medicine and University of Virginia all received honorable mentions for their entries.

The BMEidea Competition is sponsored by the NCIIA; Canon Communications LLC; the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA); the National Science Foundation; and Guidant; and is endorsed by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Programs.

About BMEidea

The Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Award (BMEidea) is the brainchild of the BME Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Alliance, a consortium of BME faculty from NCIIA member institutions with an interest in stimulating innovative design and entrepreneurial approaches in the biomedical field. First held in 2005, this annual competition was created to help motivate student biomedical innovation teams to move their projects forward. Winning teams are selected from a pool of entries submitted by some of the nation's top biomedical engineering departments and are judged by a panel of faculty and industry representatives. Judges evaluate the teams on a variety of criteria-winners are required to solve a pressing clinical problem; meet technical, economic, legal and regulatory requirements; feature a novel and practical design; and show potential for commercialization.

About the NCIIA

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, an initiative of the Lemelson Foundation, provides support through grants, training and other resources to higher education institutions across the country to encourage invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit


Carrie Barnes

Phone: (215) 239-4643

SOURCE National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance
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