This past spring, the Clemson Bioengineering Senior Design Program expanded its partnership with MUSC. Established in 2011, students in the program worked with physicians in the upstate to identify and design innovative healthcare solutions, winning many awards along the way.
As the program grew, Clemson alumna, Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie, MS, Business Development Manager at the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (MUSC FRD), recognized the opportunity to engage MUSC in the collaboration. Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie and Michael J. Yost, Ph.D. professor of Surgery and Bioengineering and vice chairman for Research in the Department of Surgery, serve as the innovation and clinical leads for the students’ interaction with MUSC clinicians.
For the 2017- 18 academic year, six Clemson teams actively collaborated with MUSC clinicians. Satish Nadig, M.D., Ph.D. and Carl Atkinson, Ph.D., an expert in immunology, worked with Clemson students to develop a prototype medical device that could allow the repeated delivery of disease-fighting cells or other therapies to the body without using a catheter. This device placed first at the year-end Clemson Bioengineering Senior Design Program Symposium, and the MUSC FRD has filed a provisional patent on the device.
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Lance Tavana worked with Clemson students to develop a surgical drain securement device prototype and a provisional patent has been filed. Clemson students involved in the Designing with Docs program are continuing to work with Dr. Tavana on this design.
Fernando Herrera, M.D., also a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, is developing a melanoma detector, and he plans to continue working with the design team in the 2018-19 design life cycle.
Others have joined in as well. Trauma surgeons Evert Eriksson and Steve Fann skyped with Clemson students to explore developing a rib fixation device prototype. “These types of collaborations are the future of bioengineering innovation,” said Yost. “I know the program will only grow and get stronger.” Yost encourages any clinicians who have broad ideas of what their needs are to consider utilizing this partnership with Clemson to explore if there is space in the market to carry the idea forward.