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Treyetech wins $10,000 ‘Cure It!’ Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

May 8, 2018

Treyetech
From left to right: Akash Chaurasia, Stephanie Cai, Eric Chiang, Kali Barnes, Conan Chen.

Team Treyetech is composed of five biomedical engineering undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University who joined together in a shared interest to improve the lives of patients and make meaningful contributions to the fields of engineering and medicine. The team’s aspiration is to improve the technology that limits surgeons’ ability to perform the most effective type of corneal transplant on their patients, called Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty. DMEK has the ability to restore a patient’s 20/20 vision, however, surgeons are hesitant to perform the procedure because of the challenges with the tools that are needed to handle the fragile DMEK tissue graft effectively. The team won the $10,000 2018 “Cure it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for its work in developing a new device that will make DMEK surgery easier to perform. The team hopes to bring this necessary innovation to the medical device market, to provide the greatest potential for improving the vision and quality of life for millions of patients.

Kali Barnes grew up in Boulder, Colorado and is the regulatory and research lead on the Treyetech team. A researcher in the Justin Hanes Laboratory at the JHU Medical Institute since 2015, she has gained extensive research experience with polymer nanoparticles. She also interned with Clear Guide Medical, where she learned about medical device regulatory affairs and compliance. Outside of the classroom, she is a competitive equestrian show jumper, competing throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kali is a senior who will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Stephanie Cai grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon and is the business development lead for the team. She moved to New York City before high school and attended the Bronx High School of Science, graduating with honors, while simultaneously attending the Juilliard School, Pre- College Division, where she received a diploma in Piano Performance. In addition to her work with Treyetech, Stephanie interns at the Cahan Lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has previously held summer research internships at the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (imec) in Leuven, Belgium and Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Her piano skills led her to win the 2015-16 Hopkins Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and she is a volunteer piano teacher for Baltimore elementary and middle school students. Stephanie is a senior and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in May 2018.

Akash Chaurasia is from Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Ridgewood Emergency Services, and as a research assistant at Weil Cornell Medical College while in high school. He is now a research assistant at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is the financial lead on the Treyetech team. Outside of his academic responsibilities, he is a music tutor to Baltimore inner city children and serves as an emergency responder for the Johns Hopkins Emergency Response Organization. Akash is currently a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science.

Conan Chen grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, and he currently is the engineering lead for the Treyetech team. Conan began his focus on cell structure research at the Crohn’s and Colitis Center in New Jersey and today continues his undergraduate research at the Mumm Lab at Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore. He is excited to be entering the Colorado School of Medicine class of 2022 in July. Conan is a senior and will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Eric Chiang is from Yorba Linda, California and is Treyetech’s team leader. He co-founded a medical device startup, BHEST Medical, with a team of JHU biomedical engineering students in 2015, raising over $50,000 before leaving the company in 2016 to start Treyetech. He previously interned with Deloitte Consulting in Washington, D.C., where he worked with consultants to develop commercialization strategies for digital products. He currently plays an active leadership role on campus, serving as an Alumni Student Ambassador and President of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Eric has received multiple awards and grants for his entrepreneurial pursuits, including a VentureWell E-Team grant, USAID Combating Zika and Future Threats Award, 1st place at the 2015 Retail & Health Innovation Challenge, 1st place at the 2015 Johns Hopkins Business Plan Competition Undergraduate Medical Track, and participant of the 2016 Berkeley Launch Startup Accelerator. Eric is a senior and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in May 2018.