Boston University is hosting a networking and informational event (Global Health Technology Meet-up) on February 24, 2014 from 4-8 pm in the Photonics Center that is designed to connect engineers, public health professionals and business people. Our goal is to create stronger links between these communities in order to facilitate collaborations that could lead to new solutions for global health challenges. You can register for the event using this link.
Essential technologies are still unavailable in many settings resulting in high infant and maternal deaths, high mortality from curable infectious diseases and limited ability to promote health to control the increase in non-communicable diseases. Universities are great sources of amazing innovations that can impact the health of people living in under-resourced counties. But the large gap that exists between academic research and commercial products is even larger for technologies designed for global health applications.
Each year the Office of Technology Development receives a number of disclosures describing possible solutions for problems directly related to global health. For example, the research of Dr. Muhammad Zaman (Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Medicine) along with graduate students (Darash Desai, Nga Ho, Andrea Fernandes) and research scientist Irani Shemirani have developed Pharmachk, a microfluidic-based diagnostic test to detect substandard and counterfeit medicines in resource-limited countries. Pharmachk is a fast, accurate, low-cost, and user-friendly test of whether medicines are present in the correct concentrations and associated with any impurities. Pharmachk was recognized as one of “Ten World Changing Ideas” by Scientific American in 2013, see article here. The group also competed with 52 other finalists to receive a $2M “Saving Lives at Birth” grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to transition the platform to scale production, see the following BU Today article.
The work of Dr. Chris Gill, called Project Search, will use smartphones to image ears as a cost effective way to link people with their medical records. Project Search completed a successful crowdfunding campaign and won the Social Entrepeneurship Award at the 2014 Tech, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll event.
Crossing this gap requires collaboration between all stakeholders in global health, from engineers, public health and medical professionals as well as funders, supply chain managers and the private sector. Join us at the Global Health Technology Meet-up to learn from experts in commercialization, technology assessment and implementation in a panel discussion. Participate in judging novel technologies by spending your investment “dollars” at the poster session and feast at the shark tank where three technologies closest to commercialization will be grilled. You have the ability to be part of the solution to bridge this gap.