Students from FIU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering showcased their research at the summer 2014 Senior Design Projects Expo and Competition on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. A culmination of the biomedical engineering students’ extensive efforts during their undergraduate degrees, the capstone projects bring together their original ideas, advanced designs, and innovative solutions, and allow them to create practical solutions for industry problems.

“The work these students are doing is highly technical,” said Varinia Consiglio-Yanez, staff manufacturing engineer with Beckman Coulter, Inc., one of five industry experts brought in to judge each group’s presentation and pick a winner based on strict criteria. As FIU’s first Biomedical Engineering graduate back in 2004 (there were six people in her class), Consiglio-Yanez was impressed with the incredible development of the department over the past decade.

“The department has grown a lot in the last 10 years,” she said. “We see a lot of combinations of electrical, mechanical and programming into one project, which is something we didn’t have before. What we saw there today is a more complete delivered project. We saw that the teams were strategically chosen in a sense that you have different skills brought into the team. We saw a lot of teamwork and high quality projects.”

The other judges included Yasushi Kato, vice president of research and development, Innovia LLC; Pedro “Peter” Hernandez, director, FIU Technology Management and Commercialization; Alfredo Moran Hassan, project manager, Epic Consultants; and

Jorge Millan, executive director, Hialeah Technology Center.

This year’s event showcased the work from 33 seniors who with the collaboration of corporate sponsors and FIU faculty, presented on topics that ranged across many important areas in the biomedical engineering field.

The winning team designed a spinal bone graft applicator to be used in the operating room by neurosurgeons during spinal fusion procedures. The device consists of five components that work together to create a low-profile delivery method enabling the surgeon to control the delivery of the bone graft.

The group members Samatha Dages, Santiago Figueroa, Alejandro Pinero, and Suset Rodriguez conducted their research and designed their prototype under the guidance of the MacBurd Corporation and Shuliang Jiao, associate professor in Biomedical Engineering. Together, they were able to come up with a design that several judges viewed as “highly marketable.” Not only did the group present an award-winning design, they did so in dramatic fashion by performing a mock emergency surgery.

Ranu Jung, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, said she’s proud of the overall quality of work exhibited by the students who participated in this summer’s design competition.

“It is clear that the quality of work continues to improve each semester,” she said. “This event demonstrates our department’s commitment to supporting undergraduate research and creating opportunities for our students to engage industry leaders on advanced designs.”