Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health


For immediate Release: November 16, 2011

NIH Undergraduate Design Challenge Focuses on Technology Solutions in Health Care

NIBIB Solicits Innovative Diagnostic and Therapeutic Devices and Technology for the Underserved and Disabled

Photo of QuickStitch device

QuickStitch, one of the winning designs in the 2012 DEBUT challenge, is an inexpensive, disposable suturing tool for gastrointestinal surgery that improves safety, efficiency, and consistency in stitching.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

A competition for undergraduate students to foster the design and development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic devices, and technologies to aid underserved populations and the disabled is being sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health. The Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge is part of NIBIB's efforts to build, strengthen, and prepare the future workforce of biomedical engineers.

One winning student team will be selected for each of three challenge categories: diagnostic devices/methods; therapeutic devices/methods; and technology to aid underserved populations and individuals with disabilities. Eligible team candidates must be full time undergraduate students and U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Each winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, to be distributed among the team members. Winners will be honored at an award ceremony during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in Atlanta, Ga. Each winning team will also receive up to $2,000 towards travel and registration costs to attend the awards ceremony.

Dr. Zeynep Erim, the architect of the NIBIB challenge, said "At NIBIB, we aim to prepare the next generation of engineers working at the intersection of the biological and physical sciences to improve human health. This program challenges up-and-coming biomedical engineers to force the boundaries of their design skills and knowledge to develop innovative biomedical technology for health care."

"As a nation, we have reached a crossroads where there is a tremendous opportunity to harness the science, engineering, and mathematics talent within our universities to address challenges in health care," stated Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, NIBIB director. "NIBIB's DEBUT Challenge, authorized under the America Competes Act, seeks to promote competitiveness in these disciplines and to put American ingenuity to work to address some of the unmet medical needs that are most prevalent in our country. I look forward to seeing what technological innovations our best and brightest students can offer to improve health care in our nation."

Details on how to enter, requirements and general information about the challenge can be found at For updates and additional information, visit the NIBIB Debut Challenge page or contact Dr. Zeynep Erim.

Submission Period: start: Jan 03, 2012 12 a.m. EST end: May 26, 2012 11:59 p.m. EDT
Judging Period: start: May 27, 2012 12 a.m. EDT end: Jul 22, 2012 11:59 p.m. EDT
Winners announced: Jul 31, 2012 12 a.m. EDT


About the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB): The NIBIB’s mission is to support multidisciplinary research and research training at the crossroads of engineering and the biological and physical sciences. NIBIB supports emerging technology research and development within its internal laboratories and through grants, collaborations, and training. More information is available at the NIBIB website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. More information is available at the NIH website.

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