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Hopkins BME team named finalist in Collegiate Inventors Competition

September 29, 2020

The Benegraft team will be represented at the Collegiate Inventors Competition by recent grads (from left) Brooke Stephanian, Kirby Leo, Paarth Sharma, and Sabin Karki. Other team members include Mitsuki Ota, Millan Patel, and Marc Di Meo.

Team Benegraft is among the finalists announced today by the Collegiate Inventors Competition, an annual contest founded by the National Inventors Hall of Fame to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level.

The team has devised a tool to make it easier for surgeons to perform rhinoplasties, one of the most common surgical procedures. The team of four, all biomedical engineering students who recently graduated, heard firsthand from Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgeon Patrick Byrne how tedious and time-consuming it can be to prepare cartilage for a rhinoplasty using a traditional scalpel.

“We felt there needed to be a better way to do the procedure that resulted in better outcomes for the patient,” said Sabin Karki, one of the team leaders.

Brooke Stephanian, another team leader added, “We saw an opportunity to simplify it.”

Last year when the team showed off their idea at a convention for facial and reconstructive surgeons, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“People wanted to know where they could buy it and we had to say not yet but we will get it to you,” Stephanian said.

The team already has a provisional patent for the device.

Inspired by the ease of modern kitchen appliances, the students created a multi-blade tool that’s similar in spirit to a pizza cutter. Using that instead of a scalpel turns what had been a two-hour chore into a task that takes a surgeon about five minutes, they said.

Team Benegraft also includes: Paarth Sharma, Kirby Leo, Mitsuki Ota, Millan Patel, and Marc Di Meo. Their adviser is Nicholas Durr, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

Competition finalists will present their research and prototypes to some of the most influential invention experts in the nation—National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office officials. Teams will do presentations virtually this year on Oct. 28, and the winners will be announced the following day.

Johns Hopkins has had finalists in this competition 24 times, and 13 winning teams.

– Jill Rosen