This is the list of projects and ideas from 2015


Age-Related Warning Signs

Contact: Lauren Nicholas;

We will develop early warning signs of age-related impairments based on consumer purchasing and financial data that can monitor pre-clinical signs of health concerns. This service can help to call attention to symptoms that patients and their families would otherwise miss, which patients may choose to share with physicians or use to modify household financial arrangements as needed.

Medical Devices

Bedside Robotic Surgeon

Contact: Clauden Louis;

The Bedside Robotic Surgeon is a useful innovative medical technology that will have the ability to improve surgical outcomes.  The Bedside Robotic Surgeon will improve and complete mobility.  The Bedside Robotic Surgeon will translate surgical manipulation to the microscopic/macroscopic level using robotic arms.  Manipulation of minimal invasive robotic surgery at the bed side, portability in an all-inclusive console, ability to view the surgical field with operating surgeon for improvement in communication and shared goals, decrease preparation time, ability for dual manipulating surgery, communication at the bedside proxy to patient and medical team thus preserving the current format of most open and laparoscopic procedures.  We expect these differences to allow for a smoother non-steep learning transition while preserving the increased dexterity and natural manual operating design of microscopic robotic arm and hand manipulating surgery for increased surgical outcomes with decreased barriers to access.

Standing Fatigue Reducer

Contact: Akash Ray;

Description: Our idea is to increases patient safety and efficiency in the operating room by physiologically increasing OR personnel performance and comfort by tackling the biomechanical causes of standing fatigue. 

Why is fatigue a problem in the OR and important to address? 
- The buildup of fatigue leads to a decrease in safety, as well as both physical and cognitive performance.
- Inefficiencies in the OR increase due to impediments to performance.
- Fatigue increases exposure to litigation since it contributes to about 20% of medical errors.
- Fatigue is a symptom of stress placed on the body. When something hurts, it is a sign of wear and tear, which leads to chronic debilitating conditions if not addressed. 
- A majority of surgeons report difficulties coping with the physical demands of their job, according to the scientific literature. 
- Many surgeons and personnel stop practicing due to the physical stress of surgery. 

Reducing fatigue allows experienced personnel to enjoy and participate in the work they love for longer. Current products on the market address the symptoms of fatigue. 

Our working prototype is a device that tackles the biomechanical causes of fatigue. There has been a great deal of positive feedback from surgeons, nurses, and technicians. By biomechanically optimizing a physical work environment and reducing fatigue, we believe that it will have an overall benefit towards OR personnel, OR efficiency, and most importantly, patient safety.

Innovative Rodent Housing

Contact: Alena Savonenko;

Mouse/rodent models of human diseases are central to both understanding basic biological mechanisms and for developing therapies to treat or prevent diseases. Standard rodent housing consists of holding animals in very simplified environments that lack novelty and environmental stimulation. This results in chronically deprived animals that are used as normal controls while testing different experimental therapies. This problem is particularly important for modeling diseases of CNS that involves cognitive testing. Current solution for behavioral/cognitive testing involves moving these chronically deprived mice from their environment to new mazes/boxes that is very time consuming, involves a lot of human handling and introduces stress. The ideal solution for modeling diseases of CNS would encompass housing of rodents in stimulating environments that allowed for simultaneous phenotyping of cognitive/behavioral abilities within these environments. Recently, a number of companies attempted to develop equipment for automatic phenotyping; however, these attempts are based on constructing animal boxes that cannot be used in standard animal housing or in big-scale experiments. A new technology to rapidly phenotype large numbers of animals is one of priorities supported by NIH. The team will be working on an idea of a new standard rodent cage that would allow for enriched environment for every-day housing and that could be utilized when necessary for standardized behavioral phenotyping on a large scale.

Cooperative Robot for Ultrasound Imaging

CONTACT: (subject line: join a team)

The ultrasound machine is relatively inexpensive, portable, and more importantly, does not produce ionizing radiation.  The ultrasound penetration depth typically ranges up to 15 cm. The thicker the tissue, the more attenuation is caused, and consequently, the noisier the images obtained. This is why ultrasound imaging cannot be used for thick tissues or obese patients. One of the techniques to overcome this limitation is called transmission ultrasound or ultrasound tomography, In this technique, unlike the conventional method in which both the transmitter and receiver are placed at the same location, one transducer is used as the transmitter and one is used as the receiver, while the imaged tissue is placed in the
middle. Therefore, the penetration depth is doubled. Dr. Boctor et al have built a cooperative robot that allows for easier use of ultrasound tomography and other ultrasound-based imaging techniques.

OCT-Enabled Smart Surgical Tools


A suite of surgical tools developed initially for ophthalmic surgery that integrate with a real-time Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system and other types of sensors to create “smart” surgical tools capable of controlling certain aspects of the surgical tools (including the distance of the tooltip from the region of interest) based on the real-time OCT imaging data.  While the initial immediate benefit of the “smart” surgical tools is the reduction of surgeon tremor, there are other benefits such as a reduction of operator error and more-precise movements, resulting in improved clinical outcomes.

Self-assembling Microgrippers


Flexible trilayer joints that are triggered by simple thermal or chemical cues and can be operated in biological media.  Using this technology, we have designed and demonstrated self-folding 3D encapsulating devices. The process allows for 2D templates to be folded in both directions i.e. inside out and outside in. The process is highly parallel and occurs in aqueous media at low temperatues that are compatible with biological media The strategy can be used to fabricate micro-nanoscale patterned 3D polyhedral particles and strctures that can encapsulate living cells, embryos etc. In one application we have devised claws that can be triggered to capture and retrieve living objects including cells. We have demonstrated the use of the claws as a microsurgical tool that can be remotely guided to capture and retrieve biological cargo including cells and molecules.

Pedicle Screw Augmentation Device and Related Method


Corticoplasty describes a method of using an anchoring system which extends the remaining strength of an osteoporotic vertebra to a pedicle screw system.  One particular device to perform corticoplasty is the Cortical Anchor. The Cortical Anchor is single piece of injection-molded PEEK, which augments the standard pedicle screw as universally compatible anchoring system. It is placed into the vertebra after the pilot hole is created, and expands within the vertebral body as the pedicle screw is inserted.  The anchor only adds material in the superior and inferior portions of the pedicle and the vertebra, where additional space is created due to the anatomical changes caused by osteoporosis. The Cortical Anchor (Figure 1) increases the strength of current fixation systems by optimizing the interaction between the stiff cortical bone and the screw.

Ferromagnets as pure spin current generators and detectors


Spin polarized current has been widely used in spintronic devices.  Recent trends indicate pure spin current would be even better for spintronics. To date, non-magnetic metals, such as Pt and Au, with a strong spin-orbit coupling have been used as pure spin current generators and detectors. In our recent work, we demonstrate the inverse spin Hall effect in a ferromagnetic metal such as permalloy. This indicates ferromagnetic materials can also be used as highly efficient pure spin current generators and detectors.  The much lower costs and great variety of ferromagnetic metals are attractive.

Nanostructured Hydrogen Fuel Cell Catalysts


Fuel cells are devices that convert chemical energy into electrical work via electrochemical reactions occurring over catalytic materials.  All low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells, such as are envisioned for automotive applications to replace the internal combustion engine, require two catalytic electrodes: one to extract protons and electrons from a fuel such as hydrogen or methanol, and one to re-combine these protons and electrons with oxygen to form water.  The latter reaction, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), is the primary bottleneck and accounts for the most loss of power in operational cells.  By forming a nanoporous metal by electrochemical dealloying of nickel-rich NiPt alloys, we have developed a new nanostructured catalytic material for the ORR that exhibits the highest reported activity toward oxygen reduction.

Drugs & Therapeutics

T cell antigen discovery

Contact: Daniel Wansley;

Description: The current bottleneck in discovery of novel CD4+ T cell antigens is the development of a platform that allows high-throughput analysis of patient T cells. I am currently developing a high-throughput platform for discovery of novel human CD4+ T cell antigens by combining synthetic biology with next generation sequencing techniques.


Digital health solution for chronic respiratory disease management

Contact: Jason Kirkness;

The solution includes wearable sensor hardware attached to respiratory therapy devices, a smartphone app to engage patients and a cloud based software tool for integrating clinical data with healthcare management systems. The sensor is based on a clinically-validated, low-resistance flow sensor that accurately assesses breath-by-breath airflow. Our flow sensor product family includes form factors for managing asthma, COPD, and obstructive sleep apnea. The smartphone acts as a receiver/gateway device, processes the data and then the tracking of therapy adherence can be done in the cloud. The system provides a patient-monitoring solution for hospitals, durable medical equipment (DMEs) providers, pharma companies and payers to reduce the cost of managing patients with chronic respiratory disease.


Contact: Doug Mogul;

Description: Microfluidic "lab on a chip" for home monitoring of a very important blood test, and use of mobile device for analysis and transmission of data.

MI app

Contact: Jose Gomez-Arroyo;

Description:  a Biomarker assay for patients undergoing myocardial infarction and a phone application to evaluate patient's condition/evolution after pharmacological treatment during clinical trials based on Apple's Research Kit. 

Health E-App

Contact: Francoise Marvel;

Description:  My idea for commercialization the "Johns Hopkins Health-E Application (JH HEALTH-E)" designed to be prescribed by physicians as an electronic patient self-management tool (EP-SMT) at discharge and between office visits. The JH HEALTH-E App targets three self-management areas (1) increasing medication adherence, (2) engaging patients as partners in their own acute and chronic disease management through personalized education and instructions, and (3) improved preparation for emergency care situations (including advanced directives). The project scope includes integrating the app within the existing workflow at hospital discharge and/or continuity of care visits to reinforce therapeutic plans across multiple health settings and home. We believe the JH HEALTH-E App will be a transformational technology in self-management of acute and chronic care with the potential to reduce patient morbidity and mortality, while simultaneously reduc ing medical expenditures related to avoidable emergency department visits and hospital admissions. 

The prototype currently in development will focus on a "Health-E Heart" - which addresses a high acuity and risk for readmission subpopulation of patients who had a heart attack and received a coronary stent(s). These patients are required to take Plavix and Aspirin daily without interruption (dual anti platelet regimen for prescribed amount of time - usually 1 year). Health-E app would facilitate medication and therapeutic adherence for patients in the post-coronary stent placement "risk window" in which even one missed dose may have major life-threatening consequences like blockage of the new stent (i.e. heart attack). 


Infirmary 3D

Contact: Ibi Keller;

Interactive 3D game for tablets to teach nursing and medical skills. Already prototyped and functional. Learning scenarios currently include testing for knowledge and identification of cardiac rhythms. Website is available for viewing at ... aims to provide an immersive, interactive, realistic experience for learning skills on a hospital unit, virtually.

Tomographic Reconstruction using Prior Images


A novel method for generating previews of low-dose x-ray projection images (i.e. radiographic or fluoroscopic images) and/or low-dose cone-beam CT (CBCT) images.  Given a prior volumetric image of a patient (e.g., a diagnostic CT image), the method provides a means to produce highly realistic preview images associated with a desired low‐dose CBCT protocol that accurately reflect real CBCT images from that protocol, including realistic image contrast, spatial resolution, artifacts such as truncation, beam hardening, and scatter, and image noise. The method simulates the physical forward model to transform the prior volumetric images to a set of projection images, which are then reconstructed to form CBCT images.