Urfree is working to solve the problem of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, particularly in patients with chronic urinary incontinence.
What drew you to the problem you are working to solve in Biodesign?
Sara: During our ward observations, we were struck by the number of patients who were there, not for the reasons of their original admission, but because of infections they developed following hospital treatment. It got us thinking about the types of devices used in such infection-prone areas.
What have you learned/gained from the Biodesign process?
Valentina: I learned that the most important part of the Biodesign process is the identification of an unmet need in the medical field. It will be more successful to have a simple solution that assesses a compelling need than a cool technology that solves a non-existent problem.
What are the next steps for the team/team members after the course?
Ravi: After the course we would continue to work on concept 2 to make it a sustainable life changing solution and also work on developing the the more advanced concept 3.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years’ time from now?
Nathanael: Treading the line between academia and industry. From this course I feel more equipped to deal with commercial partners, understand their needs, and what is at the core of a viable med-tech product.
L-R: Course co-Director Matthew Oldakowski, Ravikiran Sonawane, Nathanael Yates, Valentina Tiporlini, Sara Sukudom, Ciara Duffy and course co-Director Intan Oldakowska.
Alumni Mentor: Cettina Raccuia
Business Mentor: Helga Mikkelsen
What would be your advice to someone considering taking the course in 2019?
Ciara: Absolutely apply! Perth Biodesign is such an interactive course where you learn all of the fundaments of medical device innovation, intellectual property, company formation, and you get to form networks with numerous stakeholders across the biomedical and business sectors of Western Australia.
Sara is completing her Bachelor degree in Finance and Medical Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Her extracurricular experience has been focussed in strategy and projects across a range of areas. She is currently working as an analytics consultant in the resources industry at Visagio.
Dr Valentina Tiporlini is a postdoctoral researcher, currently carrying out research on catheters for atrial fibrillation ablation procedures. She completed her Bachelor of Electronic Engineering and Masters in Microelectronic Engineering at UNIVPM in Italy, before moving to Australia and completing a PhD at the Electron Science Research Institute at ECU.v
Ravi is a consultant intensivist and director of ICU at Rockingham General Hospital, where he created and maintains a database helping in electronic notes, maintaining records and improving workflow. Ravi is also the Medical Director for DonateLife at Rockingham Hospital.
Ciara is currently completing her PhD at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, researching novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer. In particular, her research focuses on the application of bee venom in fighting cancer, for which she recently won the Western Australian Young Achiever Award for Innovation.
Nathanael is a UWA neuroscience researcher with broad interests in brain development, injury, and mental health. His personal goal is to improve long-term brain development, by intervening early in life for high-risk groups for brain injury or poor mental health.