Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize
The Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize is awarded annually within the $100k New Ventures Competition. The purpose of the prize is to promote the advancement of research at Tufts through projects that assist in translation of research discoveries from the laboratory to applications that benefit society. To win the prize, you must demonstrate the commercial potential of the technology within your online application. Winners are selected that best demonstrate interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit in their venture.
Prize: A cash prize of $10,000, split evenly among the student team members.
- The team may consist of a minimum of two to a maximum of five members;
- At least two of the team members must be matriculated, degree-earning undergraduate or graduate students, or recent alumni (graduated within the last two years) from the Tufts University School of Engineering;
- Team members must represent at least two Tufts University School of Engineering departments, or two different Tufts schools;
- Non-Tufts team members are permitted, but Tufts engineering students must constitute at least half of the team;
- The team must have a faculty advisor in Tufts University School of Engineering;
- Demonstrates interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit; and
- Demonstrates commercial potential.
Intellectual Property: Intellectual property will be managed according to the practices and policies of Tufts Office for Technology Licensing and Industry Collaboration, http://techtransfer.tufts.edu/.
Cerobex is developing a novel lipid nanoparticle-based drug delivery platform. Our platform is the only technology, demonstrated in animal models, to safely and effectively deliver a wide variety of compounds across the blood-brain barrier, improving existing treatments, and enabling the treatment of currently untreatable neurological diseases.
Team Members: Lia Aftandilian (EG21, EG22), Kayla Fisher (EG21, EG22), Darian Matini (EG21), and Benjamin Webb (EG21, EG22)
How do we monitor bladder cancer? Current clinical methods are painful, provide low clinical accuracy, and have hardly evolved in decades. Cellens, a Tufts University spinout startup, develops a high-performing, efficient cell surface scanning technology platform for bladder cancer diagnostics. The core technology leverages the power of atomic force microscopy imaging and machine learning modeling. There are two main applications for our technology. First, we are developing a clinical non-invasive urine-based cancer monitoring test for bladder cancer survivors. Second, we provide a laboratory-developed test (LDT) for biotech and pharmaceutical companies that want to use this test for R&D purposes.
Team Members: Srushti Acharekar (EG20), Nathaniel Niemiec (A20), Jean Phuong Pham (EG21), Jonas Pirkl (EG20), Igor Sokolov (School of Engineering Faculty), Fiona Xueying Wang (EG20)
For people who wish to stay active and healthy, yet experience pain, the HeroPatch is a form of intradermal drug delivery that leverages microneedle technology to deliver targeted medicine. This is the most efficient mode of topical treatment and much healthier than oral options. With that in mind, HeroPatch will act as a medical device producer and distributor, revolutionizing medicine by providing the healthiest method of pain relief. 80% of NCAA athletes consume more than the recommended dosage of painkillers, and 65% of athletes know that they take too many pills but feel like they have no other choice. This is the first market where we will address the overuse of oral pain management with revolutionary microneedle technology to create an advanced drug delivery patch. This sleek, comfortable patch, similar to a bandage, allows for immediate, targeted pain relief, bypasses the digestive tract, decreases dosage, and has 4x greater absorption than other modes of intradermal relief.
Team Members: Lulu Li (EG19); Jake Lombardo (EG19); Robert Treiber III (E18, EG19); Konstantinos Tzortzakis (EG19)
VASERA Male Contraceptives
There is currently no reliable, long-acting, and reversible birth control available for men. VASERA seeks to fill this hole in the market by providing men with a temporary, long-lasting, non-hormonal contraceptive option. Our technology is a silk-based hydrogel that is injected into a male’s vas deferens in a quick, non-invasive, outpatient procedure. The gel blocks sperm flow in the vas deferens, temporarily mimicking the effects of a vasectomy and providing the user with effective contraception for at least one year. VASERA offers an alternative to hormonal birth control, condoms, and vasectomies for couples in committed relationships.
Team Members: Sophia Atik (E18, EG19); Kelsey-Claire Gallagher (E18, EG19)
2017 Winners (Tie)
UCHU Biosensors - $5k
UCHU is a biosensor attached to a tooth that passively measures nutrition intake, including calories, carbs, protein, and fat. Users can set goals and use real-time nutritional data viewed in an app to adjust their diets to meet those goals. Enjoy meals, track health, and ditch the activity log!
Team Members: Daniel Weinstein (E18); Camila Menard (E18); Noah Hill (E20); Saam Bozorg (D19)
Tarsier - $5k
Tarsier is developing an accurate and accessible headset that can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Their system eliminates several layers of bias and gives medical professionals higher quality data to make more informed decisions about their patients. Tarsier is focused on reaching a wider range of audiences, specifically those at higher risk. They believe that no one should have to compromise their medical care, especially when it comes to their sight.
Team Members: Andre C. Newland (E17); Erika Marmol (E17); Jessica Morales (E17); Jorge Anton Garcia (E17); Terence Tufuor (E17)
Freshmen Shehryar Malik (Biomedical Engineering) and Daniel McCormack (Undeclared) were finalists in the high-tech track at the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition for their Hujambo, their low-cost smartphone system. Hujambo also received the 2016 Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize, awarded to a project that bests demonstrates interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit.
Computer Science seniors Karan Singhal and Jaime Sanchez were part of the high-tech winning team track at the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition for their on-demand valet service and mobile app called SpotLight Parking. SpotLight Parking also received the 2015 Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize, awarded to a project that bests demonstrate interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit, and the Audience Choice Award, given to the highest-potential project as voted by event attendees.