Bench to Bedside

Neurosurgery Device Wins Grand Prize at 13th Annual Bench to Bedside Competition

Among the 27 student teams showcasing their next-generation medical device projects at the Bench to Bedside final event at the Utah State Capitol Building on Monday, it was the SoundPass project which earned the grand prize award and $20,000 in milestone funding in this medical-innovation competition for college students.

Comprised of second- and third-year medical students from the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah, the team focused on improving the highly complex and often complicated process of placing a catheter into the left ventricle of the brain for patients suffering from a traumatic brain injury.

The team’s solution? Building a device with real-time ultrasound imaging to guide neurosurgeons during the procedure and improve the accuracy and placement of the catheter. According to the SoundPass team, the device may reduce the number of attempts to place the catheter from double-digits to a single successful attempt.

Led by the Center for Medical Innovation, the Bench to Bedside program challenges college students to identify and address opportunities for improvement in the current health care market. Interdisciplinary student teams collaborate with practicing health care professionals and industry experts to find novel solutions to common problems. The program is managed in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and sponsored by Zions Bank.

This year the winning teams took home over $80,000 in milestone funding, receiving awards in categories such as Best in Business, Best in Engineering, Patient Safety, and a Consumer’s Choice Award determined as a popular vote the night of the event. (See below for a complete list of awards.)

“Utah’s life sciences industry is among the fastest growing in the nation, and having the Center for Medical Innovation’s Bench to Bedside program available to showcase the talents and skills of students makes it clear the future of health care is bright,” said Mark Paul, executive director of the Center for Medical Innovation. “It’s exciting to be around so many bright young people focused on the next generation of healthcare – my congratulations to all of this year’s teams”

Monday night was Paul’s first official event as the executive director, being named to the role earlier this year by the University of Utah Health. Paul was introduced by Dr. Michael Good, MD, CEO of University of Utah Health at the beginning of Monday evening’s awards ceremony.

An estimated 350 attendees comprised of students, industry professionals, mentors, investors, entrepreneurs, University of Utah leadership, family and friends filled the Capitol Rotunda, offering the student teams an opportunity to present their efforts accumulated over the 2022-2023 school year.  This year’s competition boasted over 80 student competitors representing six different universities across the state of Utah, and a total of 115 professional mentors and judges.

Learn more about Bench to Bedside here:

Bench to Bedside 2023 Award Winners

  • Grand Prize, $20,000 — SoundPass
  • Runner-up, $10,000 — OcuGuide
  • Legacy Grand Prize, $15,000 — LaparoVision
  • Best in Medicine, $5,000 — VaddiPax
  • Best in Business, $5,000 — Exocranio
  • Best in Engineering, $5,000 — ReSense by TAKTIL
  • Best in Digital Health, $5,000 — Benefactor
  • Patient Safety Technology Challenge,  $10,000 — Pegasus Safety Breakaway System
  • Eccles & Marriott Libraries Award, $5,000 — Nala Diagnostics
  • Consumer’s Choice Award, $2,500 — UV Sense

Bench to Bedside 2023 Award Winner Team Descriptions

  • SoundPass — In urgent cases of traumatic brain injury, it is critical for neurosurgeons to drain cerebral spinal fluid. They do this by inserting a catheter into a lateral ventricle of the brain. Most of these procedures are performed blindly and result in high morbidity and mortality. SoundPass is an ultrasound imaging-equipped stylet designed to clearly guide providers to their target.
  • OcuGuide — OcuGuide is an LED-based gaze fixation device that directs the patient’s eye movements and stabilizes fixation during surgery. This noninvasive and risk-free device reduces the need for invasive manipulation of the eye, complex verbal cues, and general anesthesia. By preventing unplanned eye movements during critical parts of eye surgery, the risks and costs of surgical complications are reduced.
  • LaparoVision — LaparoVision from Bloom Surgical empowers robotic laparoscopic surgeons to resolve intraoperative visual disruptions with an in-abdomen, rapid-response scope lens cleaning tool. Our device reduces time spent with compromised vision and scope removals, improving patient safety and procedure efficiency.
  • VaddiPax — VaddiPax is a revolutionary carrying device for left ventricular assist device (LVAD) external components. Our device is an elastic band consisting of several compartments used to store the batteries and controller, that also allows for multiple configurations with varying levels of support.
  • Exocranio — A team of healthcare professionals, engineers and an industrial designer spread across Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States created Exocranio. This medical device covers the vulnerable operation site after a decompressive craniectomy while protecting the brain. Comfortable to wear and adaptable to fit a variety of patients and operation sites, Exocranio will improve surgical outcomes and patient care.
  • ReSense by TAKTIL — The ReSense device is designed to help patients rehabilitating after stroke, specifically with hand sensorimotor function. The device aims to retrain the inner cortical map of the hand by providing vibrotactile stimulation at controlled locations. It is intended for use by patients at home or by professionals in rehabilitation facilities. Computer software is used to interface and control the device.
  • Benefactor — Benefactor is a web-based application that developed in connection with Alaska Legal Services Corporation and the University of Arizona. Benefactor is a portable and flexible technology tool designed to make the first Social Security Disability application as likely to succeed as possible.
  • Pegasus Safety Breakaway System — The Pegasus Safety Breakaway System elevates the universal utility of common medical tubing by reducing risks to patient safety, hospital liability, and complications inherent in current standard of care.
  • Nala Diagnostics — Nala Diagnostics is working to prevent neonatal Group B streptococcal (GBS) infections through the development of microbiologic screening technology attuned to low-resource settings.
  • UV Sense — The very first step to effective skincare is protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation overexposure. Through the development of an ultraviolet radiation-detecting wearable sensor that works in parallel with users’ smartphones, individuals will be able to wear the UV Sense device anywhere on their body to stay informed of their sun exposure and understand their limits.

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