TMC Biodesign Candidates, Community Members Bring Creativity to Health Care Hack
About 75 people spent last weekend at the TMC Innovation Institute participating in the third annual TMC Biodesign Hackathon—a competition in which teams develop solutions to unmet health care needs.
This year, 10 teams formed by TMC Biodesign fellowship candidates and community members tackled challenges including, insomnia, in-hospital patient engagement, vertigo, mental health and gastrointestinal problems.
First place and $2,000 went to Tigo for its at-home mobile application treatment for vertigo using a virtual reality headset. GastroLoop won second place and $1,000 for its 360-degree feeding tube designed to prevent dislodgement and clogging. Audience favorite, VertiKnow, won $500 for its streamlined application to diagnose patients with vertigo.
Judges for the event included Paul Cherukuri, executive director of the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering; John James Saunders, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Baylor College of Medicine; Ruston Hughes, southwest region sales lead at Accenture; William Cohn, M.D., vice president of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices and director of the Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center; Jonathan Rogg, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Ashok Gowda, president and CEO of BioTex Inc.; and Shawn Adibi, DDS, director of the UTHealth School of Dentistry.
This year’s hackathon was the third one hosted by the TMC Innovation Institute as a “final audition” for TMC Biodesign fellowship candidates. The one-year program that begins in August brings together eight people from diverse backgrounds to work in two groups—medical device and digital health—with the ultimate goal of forming a viable company.
Teams are mentored by leading experts from across the Texas Medical Center with additional support from a network of TMC clinicians, experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals. From the start, team members are immersed in the clinical experience where they uncover, analyze and prioritize needs before exploring and implementing potential solutions.
Of greater than 200 applications received for the TMC Biodesign program, more than half of the candidates were interviewed and 25 were invited to participate in this weekend’s hackathon. The final eight fellows will be chosen this month.