This spring, the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) invited students, fellows, and faculty to participate in a new Biodesign and Creativity Course for Medical Drug and Device Design. The eight-session course, led by Akhilesh Sista, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiology at Weill Cornell and Assistant Attending Radiologist of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Campus, gave students a systematic overview of topics such as medical device regulations, reimbursement considerations, and intellectual property, focusing on how to take a biomedical invention forward from early concept to technology translation.
With a limited class size of only 20 participants, registration filled up quickly.
“I was impressed by the level of interest in this course,” said James P. Holahan, Research Manager for the CTSC and organizer of the course. “Clearly there’s a demand for novel ways of teaching these skills, and the CTSC is pleased to meet it.”The class members were divided into four multidisciplinary teams comprised of medical students, graduate students, postdocs, and fellows. Over the subsequent weeks, each team conceived a new device, a research proposal, an information technology idea, or process that would address a clinically relevant unmet need.
At the final session, held on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, each team delivered the pitches for their projects to a panel of experts, including scientists, inventors, and angel investors. The projects demonstrated impressive creativity in their novel solutions to important clinical challenges. The students’ ideas included a device for helping patients overcome anxiety about needle puncture; a mobile platform to help patients reduce the risk for recurrent stroke; a method of adapting inferior vena cava (IVC) filters to prevent pulmonary embolisms; and a mechanical intervention to improve the management of malignant ascites.
Program Manager of the Clinical and Translational Education Program (CTEP) My Linh H. Nguyen-Novotny noted, “I think the values and skills taught in this class will have an enduring impact on our students. We’re excited to see what they do next and how they will transform healthcare.”
“Creative ideas and strong collaboration are essential to building a career in biomedical research, and they are critical to keeping the field of medicine vital and innovative,” agreed Julianne Imperato-McGinley, MD, CTSC Program Director and Associate Dean for Translational Research and Education at Weill Cornell. “The positive response to this course exceeds our expectations and reaffirms the CTSC’s commitment to fostering within our research community a spirit of taking risks to achieve great ideas.”