Winning BioE team members and some of their work

Winning BioE team members and some of their work. Credit: Matt Hagen/UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and Soraya Bailey/UW Bioengineering

Seven teams involving UW BioE students were among 22 teams to compete in 2023 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC), held March 2nd. Of these teams, three BioE-related teams won awards – LegUp Prosthetics, piezopulse and Endozene, which won the Grand Prize.

The HIC, held by the UW Foster School of Business Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, recognizes student entrepreneurs who seek to address important issues in health care, and offer the opportunity to win seed funding to advance their ideas. Students can also network and collaborate with mentors and other students and build entrepreneurial skills. Learn more about the competition at the UW Foster School Blog.

BioE students and their mentors have been successful in the HIC, winning awards in five of the eight years since HIC was created. In the first HIC in 2016, two teams from BioE took home the second and third place prizes, in 2017 one BioE team won second place, in 2018, two BioE teams received the first and second place prizes and in 2019 two BioE teams were awarded first and third place prizes and one team received a “Judges Also Really Liked” award.

Grand Prize – Endozene


Endozene Team
Credit: Matt Hagen/UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

This year’s $15,000 WRF Capital Grand Prize went to Endozene, led by Dr. Barbara Goff, professor and chair of obstetrics & gynecology, UW School of Medicine. The team consists of UW biology, philosophy and three Master of Bioengineering (MAB) students. Addressing endometriosis, a painful and traumatic condition, Endozene is developing a non-invasive, low cost, accessible diagnostic kit that accurately predicts whether a patient has endometriosis by detecting microRNAs (miRNAs) in menstrual blood.

Endozene was selected as a finalist from 117 submissions in the Dempsy Startup Competition hosted by the UW Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. The team will move forward to the Investment Round on Thursday, May 4.

The Endozene team was featured in this Q13 Fox News video

Best Idea Prize – LegUp Prosthetics

LegUp Prosthetics

LegUp Prosthetics Team
Credit: Matt Hagen/UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

LegUp Prosthetics, won the $2,500 Jim & Timmie Hollomon Best Idea for Addressing Health Access & Disparities Prize. The team of UW BioE, informatics, and mechanical engineering students is developing a modular, adjustable, below-knee prosthetic for children in low-resource communities.

This award recognizes a student innovation or intervention that seeks to close the gap in health disparities for low-income and disadvantaged groups by increasing access to point-of-care healthcare services and/or addressing systemic biases within the current healthcare system.

Spark Award – Piezopulse

Piezopulse Team

Piezopulse team
Credit: Soraya Bailey/UW Bioengineering

Piezopulse was awarded a $1,000 Connie Bourassa-Shaw Spark Award. Mentored by Dr. Babak Nazer, a cardiac electrophysiologist at UW Medical Center the team consists of three UW BioE MAB students and a BioE undergrad. The team is looking to extend the battery life of even the most advanced pacemakers through the innovative use of materials that can harvest energy from the natural pressure differences in the heart.

Other BioE-affiliated teams that competed in the HIC’s final round include:

Bacloflow is developing a time and cost-efficient continuous monitoring system for intrathecal drug delivery catheters so patients and physicians can place greater focus on healing.

nanoFLASH is developing a low-cost, simplified device for producing nanoparticles for research and drug development.

SleeveAI is developing a wearable sleeve that can measure muscle and joint health during exercise to determine risk factors and assist doctors in developing custom treatment plans.

The Cathe is developing a system for remote catheter surgeries where a specialist can perform the surgery remotely for a patient in a much lower-cost environment with the assistance of a local physician.

Congratulations to all of these talented teams!