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


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.’