Posted: October 23, 2008

Collegiate Inventors Competition announces 2008 finalists

(Nanowerk News) The National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation today announced the 2008 finalists of its Collegiate Inventors Competition. This year's group of finalists includes undergraduate and graduate students from across the country whose inventions show practical applications to meet pressing needs in our society. The Presenting Sponsors of the 2008 Collegiate Inventors Competition are the Abbott Fund, the philanthropic foundation of the global health care company Abbott, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 17 – 23), the twelve finalist teams, comprised of one to four students per team, will be hosted by the Kauffman Foundation at their headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri for the final round of judging and an Awards Ceremony on November 19, 2008. Prizes of $15,000 each will be awarded to the top undergraduate and graduate finalists, and the Grand Prize winner will receive $25,000. The academic advisors for each winning team will receive a cash prize as well.
Meet the 2008 finalists:
  • Patrick Delaney, Matthew Beckler & Caleb Braff, University of Minnesota (Advisor: Paul Imbertson): Solar-LED Lighting Innovation – A low-powered, economical device that provides many hours of light to areas without electricity.
  • Joshua Lerman, Hanlin Wan, & Swarnali Sengupta, Johns Hopkins University (Advisor: Dale Needham): ICU Mover Aid – A device that integrates Intensive Care Unit life support systems with a wheeled walker and wheelchair to give mobility to ICU patients, which may help speed recovery.
  • Joshua Liu, Gayathree Murugappan, Kevin Yeh, & Vicki Zhou, Johns Hopkins University (Advisor: Robert Allen): SurgyPack – A Novel Means for Bowel Packing – A device that can be inserted by a surgeon to keep the patient's intestines away from an abdominal surgery site.
  • Greg Schroll, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Advisor: Alexander Slocum): Spherical Vehicle with Flywheel Momentum Storage for High Torque Capabilities – A spherical robot that uses a control moment gyroscope to store momentum for going up inclines and over obstacles.
  • Graduates
  • Curtis Chong, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Advisor: Jun Liu): Identification of the Antifungal Drug Itraconazole as an Antiangiogenic Agent Useful for Treating Cancer and Diabetic Retinopathy – Potential to treat cancer and common issues associated with diabetes with Itraconazole, a drug typically used to treat fungal infections.
  • Nathan Clack & Khalid Salaita, University of California at Berkeley (Advisor: Jay Groves): Electrostatic Readout of Microarrays – Potential to detect DNA sequences and identify diseases and pathogens using a rapid test without need for high tech resources.
  • Heejin Lee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Advisor: Michael Cima): Drug Delivery Device for Bladder Disorders – A device that can be inserted nonsurgically into the bladder via the urethra, releasing a controlled dosage of a drug into the bladder through osmosis.
  • Harvey Liu, University of Texas at Dallas (Advisor: Kenneth Balkus, Jr.): Smart Textiles for the Preservation of Tissues and Organs – A bandage that releases nitric oxide—a gas that promotes vasodilation in blood vessels to keep them relaxed and flexible—in a controlled manner as it degrades.
  • Timothy Lu, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Advisor: J.J. Collins): Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria and Bacterial Biofilms with Engineered Bacteriophage and Synthetic Gene Sensors – An engineered bacteriophage—a virus that infects bacteria—that works in conjunction with antibiotics, making them much more effective.
  • Parthasarathy Madurantakam, Virginia Commonwealth University (Advisor: Gary Bowlin): Hemostatic Mineral Bandage – An ultra-light bandage that has the ability to stop high-pressure bleeding.
  • Brandon McNaughton & Paivo Kinnunen, University of Michigan (Advisor: Raoul Kopelman): Rapid Detection and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Bacteria – A device capable of quickly detecting the presence of bacteria, allowing quicker administration of appropriate antibiotics.
  • Paul Podsiadlo, University of Michigan (Advisor: Nicholas Kotov): Ultra-strong and Stiff, Optically Transparent Plastic Nanocomposite – An ultra-strong, transparent plastic sheet with properties approaching the values of steel and its alloys.
  • "This year's finalists are immersed in innovative, important work," said Jeffrey Dollinger, President of Invent Now, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. "Once again, the Collegiate Inventors Competition has proven an effective showcase for the achievements of our nation's talented college students, and we're excited to follow their inventive work as they progress in their academic and professional careers."
    The process for this year's Competition began when the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation solicited entries from over 2,000 campuses to identify top collegiate inventors. Each entry was judged on the originality of the idea, process, or technology, as well as its potential value and usefulness to society. This initial judging produced the group of finalists who will meet the final judging panel.
    The prestigious group of judges includes seven inductees from the National Inventors Hall of Fame: Robert Bower (self-aligned gate MOSFET), Edith Flanigen (molecular sieves), Thomas Fogarty (balloon embolectomy catheter), Don Keck (optical fiber), William Murphy, Jr. (disposable medical trays and sealed blood bags), Rangaswamy Srinivasan (excimer laser surgery), and James West (electret microphone). In addition, the judging panel will include experts from Abbott and the USPTO.
    About the Collegiate Inventors Competition
    The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages college students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. The Competition specifically recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation in 1990, the Competition has awarded more than $1 million to nearly 100 students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors. For more information on the Competition's sponsors, the Abbott Fund and the USPTO, visit and For more information on the Competition and past winners, visit
    Source: National Inventors Hall of Fame
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