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BME student Design Team wins first-place innovation prize

September 30, 2010

A brain-cooling invention that could improve the survival prospects for cardiac arrest patients has won a $10,000 first-place prize for a Johns Hopkins undergraduate team at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s annual BMEidea Awards. In the contest, judges from academia and industry evaluated entries for their ability to solve clinical problems, and for their economic feasibility, market potential and patentability.

The Johns Hopkins undergraduates’ project is called the Rapid Hypothermia Induction Device. “Essentially,” said team leader David Huberdeau of Woodbridge, Va., “it’s designed to prevent brain damage.” By flushing cool, dry air through the nasal cavities, the device speeds up the evaporation of moisture that resides naturally in the nasal cavities. Cooling the brain is an important way to limit brain damage when a person’s heart stops beating for more than a few minutes. The loss of blood flow deprives brain cells of oxygen, but cooling can delay the process of cell death.

The team’s faculty sponsor is Harikrishna Tandri, an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a member of the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute. In addition to Huberdeau, the student team members were Joe Chao, Jessica Hu, Mikel McDonald, Yoshiaki Sono, Byron Tang, Valeriya Aranovich, Joshua Budman, Jessica Chen and Hyo Jun Kim. The BMEidea Awards competition prize money will be shared among the students.

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