Gained in Translation

Summer 2007

A pouch made of nylon mesh sandwiched between two concentric wire stents that could improve cell therapy for diabetics. A thin strip that dissolves in the mouth, like a breath-freshener, that could provide life-saving rotavirus vaccine to infants in developing nations. These are just two of the devices created by Whiting School undergraduates and unveiled on May 2, 2007, at the annual Biomedical Engineering (BME) Design Day.

Also announced that morning was the launch of the new Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID). According to Murray Sachs, chair of BME and the new center’s founder, “With CBID, we will be able to double the number of design projects our students do each year and further integrate the design process and technology transfer into the curriculum.

“Our undergraduates have the ability to do all stages of translational research,” says Sachs. “This year alone, eight provisional patents have been filed for devices designed by BME undergraduates. The CBID will allow us to take this strength and push it to the next level.”

The CBID’s structure is quite simple: Clinical faculty from Johns Hopkins, other medical institutions, and industry will be invited to bring real-life medical problems requiring innovative design solutions to the CBID. There, appropriately skilled students, faculty, and researchers will be matched with those clients. The center will offer the structure and technical support necessary for the designs to be realized and commercialized.

CBID will also have an educational thrust—combining undergraduates’ knowledge of biomedical engineering and design with a firm grounding in entrepreneurship, commercialization, and management.

“It’s a visionary translational research center,” says Sachs. “And it will immensely enhance our ability to effectively and efficiently bring the products of student research from the bench, to the bedside, to the marketplace.”