A team of six FIU undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) students participated in the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Coulter College senior design event this summer at the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables, Florida.

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, which provides funding translational research in biomedical engineering with the goal of accelerating the introduction of new technologies into patient care, created this event to serve as a training program for undergraduate seniors from biomedical engineering programs. Students from various universities across the country are given a crash-course in the considerations needed for developing innovative solutions for discovered biomedical needs.  They are afforded a hands-on experience working with industry experts in the areas of regulatory strategy, intellectual property, and finance to help hone their ideas into solutions that are both clinically useful and marketable.

Working alongside Hamid Shahrestani, FIU professor of biomedical engineering, and clinical adviser Dr. Sergio Gonzalez- Arias, FIU BME seniors Carlos Chaves, Isabella Febbo, Eric Magro, Mark Makar, Shyama Ramiaqsingh, and Daniel Rodriguez identified the need to eliminate multiple open heart surgeries in pediatric patients with congenital heart disease requiring valve replacement.

The need for multiple surgeries in pediatric patients is due to the patient’s growth through childhood years.  The team offered a solution that would eliminate the need for repeat surgeries by introducing a valve that would grow with the patient. They evaluated more than four concepts and through risk/value evaluation, they selected the solution that was most feasible. They were able to assess the issues in intellectual property law, regulations, as well as, project financing with the experts on-hand. As a team, they created a comprehensive presentation which they presented at the meeting in front of an expert panel of judges.

Shahrestani said, “The team did an excellent job of assessing, developing, and presenting their solution to the judging committee. They received tremendous positive feedback for their work.”

This was the first year that FIU had a team participate in the prestigious competition and the department hopes to continue this tradition of collaborative learning for years to come.