Three bioengineering teams receive $10K funding as winners of the 2021 Health Make-a-Thon

4/19/2021 Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Congratulations to the winning bioengineering teams that presented innovative solutions to improve human health and address disparities in health care.

Written by Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Ten teams of innovators have been selected by a panel of judges and audience members as winners of the 2021 Health Make-a-Thon at Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Contestants presented innovative solutions that will have wide-reaching impact on human health and address disparities in health care.

2021 Health Make-a-Thon Winners with team members from the bioengineering department (noted in bold): 

  • Nano-Hyperbaric Oxygen Delivery System for Chronic Wounds by Michael Tsipursky, Joseph Irudayaraj, Jordan Marsh, and Neelabh Sharma (Champaign County) – A bandage-like device that delivers oxygen nanobubbles to promote healing of chronic wounds
  • ProteCKD: Earlier Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease among Underrepresented Patient Populations by Ariana Barreau, Phani Gaddipati, Andrew Chang, Isabella Lebovic, Priya Kumar, Sana Kamdar, and Thomas Chow (Champaign County) – An affordable home kidney function test kit and educational materials to reach medically underserved populations
  • STEM Vocabulary App for Deaf Students by Mona Jawad, Ethan Gaughan, Aditi Adya, Ryan Martin, Ayesha Kazi, Sumayyah Hussain, Amy Lee, Elizabeth Troy, and Sri Medisetti (Champaign County) – An American Sign Language app that encourages deaf students to easily learn STEM vocabulary terms

2021 Health Make-a-Thon Winners full list: 

  • CalidGear: Wearable Thermoregulation Device by Tayyaba Ali (Cook County) – A device to help first responders and military personnel maintain a safe body temperature.
  • izzii – An App that Aids in Generalizability and Inclusion in Phase III Clinical Trials by Sneha Subramanian and Avani Patel (Cook County)  – A design to facilitate greater participation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in clinical trials
  • Preventing Acute Renal Failure after Crush Injury by Nathaniel Brooke and Ariana Barreau (Champaign County) – A haptoglobin autoinjector for use by first responders and EMS personnel responding to crush emergencies
  • Music to My Ears, A Balm from Bronzeville by Malik Ali Muhammad and Ray Muhammad (Cook County) – A program to encourage performances of live classical music to foster mental health and wellness in communities experiencing high stress or risk of violence
  • A Wire-Free, 12-Lead EKG by Kenny Leung (Champaign County) – A design that uses wire-free bulbs as an alternative to wired EKG
  • ECG Shirt by Hanna Erickson, Manisha Reddy, and Meghna Basavaraju (Champaign County) – A wearable ECG device for early detection of heart attacks
  • Healing Healthcare Disparities among BIPOC Patients through Virtual Reality Cultural Competency Training by Victoria Fields, Mardia Bishop, Charee Thompson, Sarah Bencivenga (Champaign County) – An immersive program that provides a safe place for learners to practice cultural competency skills

*Counties noted are reflect those of the team leader.

Each winning team receives a coin worth up to $10,000 in support, materials, and expertise provided through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s ‘Health Maker Lab’ network. Innovators gain design and development assistance, materials, and mentorship to support their innovations and develop working prototypes.

The Health Make-a-Thon competition democratizes health and health care innovation by challenging anyone from citizen scientists to specialists to pitch their best ideas for broad-based solutions to health problems for a chance to win in-kind support to turn their ideas into reality.

Twenty teams of finalists were chosen from among 94 entries across the state to deliver a rapid-fire pitch of their ideas to a ‘dolphin tank’ panel of judges and a live virtual voting audience

The next Health Make-a-Thon will take place in late 2021. The fall event draws from a local contestant pool and focuses on a central health-related theme. The Fall 2020 theme was ‘Racism as a Health Crisis.’

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This story was published April 19, 2021.