The Asper Center Biodesign Program was founded in 2013, and is a unique program in which fellows from the medical school and graduate students from the engineering and business schools join forces to identify unmet needs for medical devices. Each dedicated group designs and develop solutions for these unmet needs (up to the prototype level), and prepare a business plan that explores the financial potential for these devices.
The academic year of 2015-6 was the fourth year of the Biodesgin program, where fellows from the Faculty of Medicine and graduate students from the School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Business Administration join forces to identify unmet needs for medical devices, to design and develop solutions for these unmet needs (up to the prototype level) and to prepare a business plan which explores the financial potential for these devices.
In the fourth year of the program, there were four groups of students and fellows, where typically each group was composed of two MBA students, an engineering student and a fellow from the Faculty of Medicine. The MBA students went through a tough screening procedure at the end of which only eight outstanding students were selected. The four groups met in class every week during the academic year and gradually went through a systematic process of need identification, design and development of a prototype and strategic, marketing and financial appraisal.
The four projects are:
- Cardio Safex - pericardium access device using a real-time controlled catheter with insertion mechanism to penetrate into the intra-pericardial space between the pericardial sac layers.
- Symphonic Scalpel - A nerve-detecting, bipolar laparoscopic clamp-cut device minimizing peripheral nerve damage during surgery, by providing real-time, spectroscopy-based alerts.
- Myringoseal - Minimally invasive repair of eardrum rupture, using biocompatible and biodegradable graft in an underlay technique using a self-expanding hydrogel based on Peg-DA as the graft, instead of the harvested autologous graft used today.
- Qualiblate - A device that enables a real-time assessment of the sufficiency and quality of EP lesions during the ablation treatments of cardiac arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation, by measuring the mechanical properties of the lesion site.
Interdisciplinary Training and Mentoring
The Biodesign program remains truly interdisciplinary in terms of the involvement of faculty as well, where, in addition to a course leader from the School of Engineering and Computer Science (Prof. Buxenbiom) there are mentors from the Faculty of Medicine (Dr. Mintz) and the School of Business Administration (Prof. Galai, and Mr. Zilberstein). In addition to these faculty members who mentor all projects on an on-going basis, other faculty members from various departments and industry experts join the meetings. In this capacity we had during the 2015-2016 academic year five guest lectures by faculty members from the School of Business Administration. On top of the cooperation between the different faculties, the Hadassah Hospital, Yissum and Hadasit (the commercialization company of Hadassah) are closely involved in all projects.