06 Mar 2021

Engineering student and alumnus place top two at Mayo Clinic competition

Last month, students from all over North America competed virtually in the inaugural Mayo Clinic Innovation Sprint — a competition meant to foster collaboration among business, IT and clinical professionals in a 24-hour effort to solve problems and develop solutions.

Claiming second place and a prize of $1,500 was Western Medical Innovation Fellow and biomedical engineering alumnus Michael Lavdas, BESc’18 and MESc’20.

Lavdas was paired with Mayo Clinic medical student David Soriano, and they tackled a project based on the fitting of lower-limb prostheses.

“Each year, about 120,000 people in the U.S. will have a lower limb amputation, and 80 per cent of these are a result of bloodborne illnesses,” said Lavdas. “Fifty-five per cent of people with prosthetic lower limbs will develop pressure sores due to poor fit, and it costs anywhere from $500 to $75,000 to treat these sores because these patients are so prone to infection. This is roughly a $600-million annual problem in the U.S.”

Lavdas and Soriano built a business case for a device that provides more quantitative data about fit quality to patients and their physicians to optimize fitting.

“David and I were honoured to be acknowledged in front of some incredible peers and role models in the med-tech space,” said Lavdas. “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments made over just a 24-hour sprint, and we felt that we really left it all on the floor when it came time to pitch.”

Lavdas and Soriano plan to use some of their prize money to create a more elaborate prototype, which they hope to share with clinical contacts in Minnesota and see it eventually tested on patients.

This article appeared in Western News.

Read more