Article updated June 9, 2023
UW Bioengineering team Endozene won the Karr Tuttle Campbell Best Health/Wellness Impact Award for their endometriosis diagnostic kit in Dempsey Startup Competition. Hosted by the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the award recognizes a venture with significant potential to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases or disorders that impact human health.
The team is comprised of students from three UW programs – Biology, Philosophy and Bioengineering. The project is led by Rachel Shi, a bioengineering Master of Science student, and three members are Master of Applied Bioengineering (MAB) students – Aaron Ayenew, Jack Kussick and Aya Safira.
Endozene is developing a non-invasive, low cost, accessible diagnostic kit that accurately predicts whether a user has endometriosis through the detection of microRNAs (miRNAs) in menstrual blood. Endometriosis is a painful and traumatic disease that affects roughly 10% of reproductive age women and girls globally.
“The Endozene team has worked very effectively with other members of the Bioengineering community and also the UW community to identify and understand the challenges around diagnosing endometriosis,” said team advisor Soraya Bailey, assistant teaching professor of bioengineering and director of the MAB program. “Their advancement to the Sweet 16 round at Dempsey is a sign that their work is helping others understand the importance of early diagnosis for this debilitating disease. Developing solutions in femtech is extremely hard, and we’re very proud of their accomplishments in this area.”