Undergraduates develop tools to diagnose Alzheimer's disease before patients show symptoms
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Undergraduates develop tools to diagnose Alzheimer's disease before patients show symptoms

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | August 29, 2017 Alzheimers/Neurology

"Synapto's project serves as a prime example of how tomorrow's bioengineers are working today to find solutions to some of the most significant health challenges our society faces," said John Fisher, Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and BIOE chair. "It is inspiring to see our students driven to make a real-world impact so early in their academic careers, and I look forward to their future successes."

Organized by the UMD student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES-UMD), Synapto's team members are: BIOE students David Boegner, Megha Guggari, Chris Look (a computer science double-major), Anoop Patel, and Dhruv Patel; and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering students Megan Forte and Brianna Sheard, a recent transfer from UMD. The group's participation in the competition was led, in part, by the BMES-UMD executive board and supported by faculty advisor Steven Jay, a BIOE assistant professor. Bill Idsardi, chair of UMD's Department of Linguistics, provided the initial hardware that helped accelerate the project.

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The DEBUT challenge this year awarded $65,000 in prizes, supported by a public-private partnership between NIBIB and VentureWell, a non-profit higher-education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. Of 41 eligible entries received from 22 universities across 16 states, NIBIB selected three winning teams based on the significance of the problem addressed, impact on clinical care, innovation of design, and evidence of a working prototype. VentureWell selected two additional teams based on market potential and patentability.

Each of this year's winners will be formally recognized at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference in Phoenix on October 12.

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