The 2018 Perth Biodesign course was officially launched on Wednesday 28th March, with an event at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation featuring talks from 2017 SPARK Co-Lab Design Course alumni as well as world leading burns specialist and medtech entrepreneur, Dr Fiona Wood.

As part of the launch event, several participants of the 2017 course (then called SPARK Co-Lab Design) spoke on their experiences and what they learned from taking part. Martina Mariano and Chiara Giovanrosa (along with clinican Rhys Daniels and engineer Mark Mazzoni) founded Biacor, a startup currently working on the early detection of infections in orthopedic implants. Janessa Pickering took part in the course with her team, Kinisi Labs, and was asked to join Biacor following the close of the 2017 course.

The transcript of the video with key quotes can be found below and more information on the Perth Biodesign course can be found here. Applications for Perth Biodesign 2018 are closing this Sunday the 8th of March so apply here now!

Janessa Pickering – Research background

“So my name is Janessa, I’m a post doctorate researcher at Telethon Kids Institute. My background is in microbiology. So towards the end of the course last year I actually joined Biacor, I was previously in another group, but we all share a common thread in that we really, really love the Biodesign course. It was a wild ride, it was crazy and energetic but it really gave us the tools of how we’re going to go about commercialising ideas.

As a scientist I really understand the why, of why innovation is important. The course is about how we go about innovating and we have now got a fantastic network, we know lots and lots of people in Perth we can go to to draw upon their expertise to develop the medical technologies at Biacor. I encourage you to come and talk to us afterwards as well, we do have a website biacor.com.au. Now I’ll pass onto Martina.”

Martina Mariano – Research background

“Good evening everyone, my name is Martina, I am a PhD student at the Harry Perkins (Institute of Medical Research) and I am also a founder of Biacor. Biacor is a startup company, founded last year during the Design course, which is now Perth Biodesign, and it was founded by a team of passionate individuals working to find unmet clinical needs in the orthopaedic space.

So I just want to give you a quick snapshot of the benefits of the course for me. In those six months, we have learned an incredible amount of information in a very short amount of time. We learned every single detail about the clinical unmet needs, we learned about regulation, reimbursement, clinical trials, we talked about marketing strategies, IP protection and so on. It was intense. But it was absolutely worth it and fascinating. For me it was also about a self-discovery journey, today I know much more about myself. I understand my limitations and my potential and I feel more confident in stepping outside of my comfort zone so I feel like I am a different person to the one who joined the program just six months before.

We had the opportunity to be a part of a network of professionals and benefit from their mentoring and support and within our teams we established solid relationships based on trust, esteem, shared values which are fundamental to work together on a project which may impact the health of people and their quality of life. So I can say that for me it was absolutely an amazing experience. Before starting this journey I was a PhD student, very motivated to make an impact in the world but not quite sure of how to translate that desire into a clinical outcome. Today I am still a student but I know myself much better, I know what kind of professional I want to become and the skills that I need to achieve that goal. I would personally encourage anyone to embrace this opportunity of really thinking outside of the box to satisfy an unmet clinical need and if you feel that you are ready to be inspired and ready to be challenged, just do it, and you may find yourself being involved in a project that may really be right the way we diagnose and treat medical conditions.”