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CIMIT Announces $100,000 in Awards to Finalists for 2012 Prize for Primary Healthcare Competition

Date: 2/21/2012
Contact: Ronald Newbower

BOSTON—Ten awards of $10,000 each are going out to graduate–student teams across the country for their innovative technology ideas to improve the quality and efficiency of primary care in medicine. These teams have been selected as the 10 Finalists in the national competition for the 2012 Prize for Primary Healthcare. They will be able to use these funds to develop a final proposal over the next few months, as they compete for the top three spots and a total of $300,000 in additional funds.

The goal of this competition is to stimulate and sponsor the development of truly innovative technology to serve the needs of the frontlines of healthcare. This year’s competition was one of the strongest in the four-year history of this competition, drawing entries from 76 outstanding teams in 38 of the top engineering programs in the country.

Ten Finalists and Collaborators

The ten graduate-student finalists are as follows (in alphabetical order):

Omid Akhavan, Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with students James Barger, Divya Maxwell, Luis Soenksen, and Luccie Wo
Project Title: “Innovistics Point-of-Care Fever Differential Diagnostic Tool"

Jason Boggess, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Laboratory, in collaboration with students Everett Lawson and Siddharth Khullar
Project Title: “Fast Retinal Imaging for Diverse Screening via Binocular Coupling”

Daniel DeDora, State University of New York, Stony Brook University, in collaboration with students Nicholas Pallotta, Atulya Prasad, Aleks Klimas, and Sayan Chowdhury
Project Title: “GlucoREAD Patch: A Novel Non-invasive Continuous Glucose Sensor Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and an Optical Probe”

N. Gozde Durmus, Brown University, in collaboration with students Erik Taylor and Kim Kummer
Project Title: “Using Nano-material Science to Inhibit Medical Device Infections”

Mozziyar Etemadi, University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with student Kendra Johnson
Project Title: "A New Cloud-Enabled Technology for Monitoring Heart Failure at Home"

Raymond Kozikowski, University of Florida, in collaboration with students Sarah E. Smith and Jennifer A. Lee
Project Title: “Differential Laser-Induced Perturbation Spectroscopy: A New Fluorescence Technique for Enhanced Non-Invasive Detection and Staging of Oral Cancers”

Margo Monroe, Boston University, in collaboration with students Alex Reddington, Jacob Trueb, and Joey Greenspun
Project Title: “POC Instrument for Highly Sensitive, Quantitative, and Multiplexed Allergy Diagnostics in Whole Blood”

Guillermo L. Monroy, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, in collaboration with students Cac Nguyen and Nathan Shemonski
Project Title: “Primary Care Imaging”

Eric Salm, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, in collaboration with students Bobby Reddy, Carlos Duarte, and Brian Dorvel
Project Title: “Integrated ‘Lab-on-a-Transistor’: Droplet-Based Polymerase Chain Reaction with Electrical Detection"

Monika Weber, Yale University, in collaboration with students Kara Brower, Brian Goldstein, and Phillip McCown
Project Title: “Alpha-Screener: Rapid Pathogen Detection and Antimicrobial Test”

About Prize for Primary Healthcare Competition

This unique national competition is open to graduate and undergraduate engineering students from accredited engineering programs, and seeks ideas for technologic innovation with the potential to support and catalyze improved delivery of healthcare at the frontlines of medicine. Each of these ten Finalists was chosen after review by a distinguished panel of technologists and primary-care clinicians. The Finalists will be able to develop their work more effectively with the benefit of their $10,000 awards as additional resources. Their full submission, due on June 3, will then be judged for selection of the top three winners. First prize will be $150,000, with second and third place receiving $100,000, and $50,000 respectively.

In announcing these Finalists, Ronald Newbower, PhD, Co-Founder of CIMIT and Director of this competition, stated, "We are delighted with the quality of the entries this Prize competition has elicited each year from engineering students, nationally. They are clearly eager to develop innovative technologies to address key challenges in healthcare. The winners of our awards are undoubtedly headed toward truly significant careers and may well serve as role models for others in their field. We are proud to recognize and support their efforts."

The Prize for Primary Healthcare is made possible through a generous gift from the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust.  

Additional information about CIMIT and its partner in management of the competition, the “Ambulatory Practice of the Future” at Massachusetts General Hospital, can be found at

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