Adding another accomplishment to an already impressive year, University of Utah student startup Veritas Medical won second place among graduate students and $15,000 in the Collegiate Inventors Competition in Washington, D.C.
Veritas Medical is a team of bioengineering and medical students who have developed a catheter — a tube inserted into patients to remove and deliver fluids — that emits light that kills bacteria before infections start. Their product, the LIGHT LINE Catheter™, uses high-intensity narrow spectrum light, which is known to kill bacteria without any harmful effects to human cells.
The students have been developing the device for three years. They have since won several state and international business plan competitions, filed a utility patent, and expect to start clinical trials next year.
“This has been an incredible year for us,” says Nate Rhodes, one of the students on the team who graduated with a master’s degree in bioengineering this spring. “Our invention started with a goal to help primary-care providers reduce the risk of infection when using catheters. The LIGHT LINE Catheter has the potential to save thousands of lives every year.”
The other University of Utah team members include: Mitch Barneck, a bioengineering graduate currently in medical school at Oregon Health and Science University; Martin de la Presa, a student doctor; and Ahrash Poursaid, who received a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering this spring.
Veritas Medical has received substantial support and advising from the University of Utah’s Department of Bioengineering, the Center for Medical Innovation and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
“The University of Utah’s Bench to Bedside program was created to promote medical innovation and facilitate the translation and commercialization of these innovations so they can have real impact on the lives of our patients,” says John Langell, executive director of the Center for Medical Innovation and the team’s advisor. “The outstanding accomplishments of the Veritas team demonstrate that these programs work. If our brilliant and driven students are given the right resources, they can truly change the world.”
The Collegiate Inventors Competition recognizes and rewards undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to research, discovery, invention and innovation as they address the problems of today’s world. The competition specifically recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries and research by college university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential of receiving patent protection. Judges for the event include well-known inventors.
“It was an honor and privilege to meet and get feedback from the greatest inventors of this generation,” Rhodes says.
Introduced in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition has awarded more than $1 million to winning students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.
“The Collegiate Inventors Competition advances the innovative spirit in higher education by recognizing students for their emerging ideas and encouraging them to remain on the path to entrepreneurship,” says Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff, Jr., competition judge, National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee and co-inventor of the microprocessor. “From my own experience, I know how important it is to receive recognition for the inventive spirit at a young age, especially when I was considering my career. As a National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee, I feel honored to be part of the process as students evolve their ideas and develop prototypes and to see this next generation of inventors first-hand.”