A Sacramento State student team has developed an innovative medical device that would allow doctors to monitor bilirubin levels in jaundiced newborns without subjecting the infants to frequent and painful blood draws.
Their Biliblu Biomedical monitor won the team both a judges’ special award and the vote as a crowd favorite at the I-Corps Challenge, held Jan. 7-9 during the California State University (CSU) 28th annual Biotechnology Symposium in Garden Grove.
The I-Corps Challenge teaches students how to take biotechnology research projects from idea to marketplace. In all, 13 teams from seven CSU campuses entered the months-long competition, which began in September and culminated in the immersion weekend of the symposium.
Each team was made up of students from science/engineering and business/MBA/entrepreneurial degree programs, and all teams received a $2,500 micro-grant to conduct their research, interview potential clients, and build a prototype.
Team Biliblu used its micro-grant to find a better way of monitoring bilirubin levels in newborns. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells and causes yellowing of both the skin and the whites of the eyes.
“The only reliable method of measuring bilirubin (now) is to take the baby’s heel and stick it with a sharp needle, and our device will completely avoid that. This monitor will provide a noninvasive way to measure bilirubin that is completely accurate", says Nathaniel Johnson, the Computer Engineering student who served as the team’s entrepreneurial lead.
Johnson’s teammates were Electrical Engineering student Doua Yang and business student Joshua Ayotte.
Dr. Lorenzo M. Smith graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1991, earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Soon afterward, he accepted a full-time engineering position at Ford Motor Company where he primarily engaged in research and development in the fasteners engineering section. While a full time employee at Ford Motor Company, he worked on his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Wayne State University, graduating in 1993. Following his long-term plan, Dr. Smith left Ford Motor Company to pursue a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics at Michigan State University. After completing all required course work by 1996, Dr. Smith accepted a sheet metal formability analyst position at General Motors Corporation. While at General Motors, Dr. Smith completed his dissertation titled “Solid Finite Elements for Sheet Metal Forming Simulation” and graduated from Michigan State University, earning his Ph.D. in 1999.
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