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A Grand DEBUT

Five recent Lehigh engineering graduates have won a national competition for designing a portable device that enables patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to determine whether their medication is working.

Kathryn Kundrod, Jay Fraser, Kaylynn Genemaras, Paul Schroeder and Andrew D’Onofrio, all members of the Class of 2015, took first place in the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge for their device, which is called Cyclic Solutions: Viral Diagnostic Technology. The prize carries a $20,000 award.

The contest is sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. It challenges college students to develop solutions to healthcare problems.

Two of the students—Kundrod and Fraser—have been selected as finalists in the 2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition, which will be held Nov. 15-18 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.

The Viral Diagnostic Technology device allows patients to monitor their HIV medication and determine if it is decreasing the amount of the HIV virus in the bloodstream. It is intended particularly for patients who live in remote areas without easy access to medical laboratories and clinics.

The device provides results in under an hour, meeting the World Health Organization’s minimum detection requirement. In addition, its instrumentation and pre-test costs are expected to be lower, and it is less complex, than similar technologies that are currently available.

The students designed the device for Integrated Product Development (IPD), a two-semester class in which teams of engineering, business and design majors develop new products and marketing plans for the products. The students were mentored by Chao Zhou, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and advised by Susan Perry, a professor of practice in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Kundrod and Fraser, who were both bioengineering majors at Lehigh, continued working on the device with Xuanhong Cheng, associate professor of materials science and engineering, in a project titled “Microfluidic Capture and Quantification of HIV.” They entered the project last spring in the David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, where they won the People’s Choice Award and second place overall.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Kurt Pfitzer is the Manager for Editorial Services with Lehigh University's Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

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