The US is currently in a maternal health crisis. Even though 84% of maternal deaths in the US are preventable, the maternal mortality rate steadily rises, disproportionately affecting Black people who are currently 3-4 times more likely to die in childbirth compared to their White counterparts. Birth By Us is an innovative technology that provides comprehensive check-ins at sequential points in pregnancy and postpartum through quality questionnaires that give Black birthing people personalized health insights and top-tier, culturally responsive, and Black–specific resources. Upon completion of each questionnaire, the app analyzes and uncovers users’ top concerns, yielding tailored visit preparation and recommended resources. In addition to this, Birth By Us plans to include auxiliary healthcare providers such as doulas, lactation consultants, etc. to help mothers build their best, holistic care team. With this, BBU empowers Black mothers and birthing people to shape their birthing experience while giving providers and hospital systems the necessary insights to best support their birth. We intend to expand to other marginalized populations to help everyone achieve their best birthing experience.
Protein therapies are front and center of medical treatments with over 80 drugs approved worldwide and over 170 in active clinical development. Downstream processing of protein products accounts for 50 – 80% of the total cost of production, with a large portion of expenses going towards the protein extraction process. With the protein production industry currently valued at $284.5 billion, there is a demand for a cheaper, more sustainable, and energy-efficient alternative. Using genetic engineering, Cellyse proposes a novel lytic technology which offers researchers and fermentation companies a way to extract recombinant proteins with only water. Our technology can expand biologics production through its ease of use and nontrivial cost reductions—paving the way for more affordable and equitable healthcare globally. Beyond optimizing extraction, our genetic construct also allows for valuable nutrients otherwise lost in purification to be recycled in the fermentation process, eliminating waste from over 255 million liters of cell culture media annually.
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is one of the leading contributors to malnutrition around the world, causing blindness, stunted physical and mental development, and disease vulnerability. South Asia has one of the highest rates of VAD in the world, especially among children and pregnant mothers. Vitamin A supplementation has been cited as one of the most effective ways to combat VAD, but current methods, including high-dose injections every 6 months, dietary diversification, daily vitamin A supplements, and biofortification of crops, fall short because of a lack of strict government regulation and cultural incompatibility. This team’s yogurt-based, engineered probiotic starter is able to integrate into the existing culture of South Asia, increasing the likelihood of adherence and giving families power over their own nutrition. Once consumed, the engineered probiotic, S. boulardii, will continuously synthesize the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene in the gut, providing constant supplementation to vulnerable populations and reducing the need for government intervention.
There are two main issues affecting bee survival today. Varroa mite, a parasite which is difficult and laborious to detect and treat, and climate change, causing more drastic temperatures and temperature changes, making winter survival more difficult for bees. These issues have caused a year-over-year population declines of 40-50% in bee colonies, a far greater number than the 30% of decades prior. HexaHive aims to solve these problems by utilizing technology to empower beekeepers and help them fight against these issues decimating bee populations. HexaHive will easily integrate into existing beehives and beekeeping practices and utilize novel technologies to detect varroa mite, monitor internal hive metrics, including temperature, and have climate control systems to warm or cool hives as necessary. Through the use of HexaHive, both seasoned and novice beekeepers will have a greater degree of control and understanding of what happens in their hives, leading to greater bee survival.
Despite the large and increasing population of forcibly displaced Afghan immigrants in the U.S., there is limited information about their health status and health service utilization. Among this already marginalized population, women are at a higher risk for worse health outcomes given their unique sociocultural barriers to health and healthcare. With over 66,000 Afghan immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area as of 2019, there is an unaddressed need to ensure Afghan women are supported with attaining health and obtaining healthcare services in the U.S. Sofreh Salamati is a novel gathering, designed specifically to meet the needs of Afghan refugee women and created by Afghan refugee women. With our initiative, we facilitate health education and the health benefits of spirituality, address pervasive misinformation and cultural myths, and uplift the strengths that Afghan women already have. As a result, Sofreh Salamati will address practical and sociocultural barriers to healthcare and empower women to feel confident in imagining, seeking, and maintaining good health.
Every year, millions of people suffer brain injuries, yet diagnosis and treatment guidance is limited by traditional healthcare options. Confidence aims to improve the experience of brain injury patients and healthcare professionals by using a patient’s smartphone data to provide optimized and personalized care. After a suspected or known brain injury, healthcare professionals will direct patients to download the Confidence application to their smartphones, which will allow the application to locally access and analyze the patient’s data to analyze for changes correlated to brain injury, such as cognition, mobility, emotional stability, and general activity. A summary of this information will be provided to the healthcare team so it can be used to assist in diagnosis and guide treatment options. Ultimately, Confidence will give each patient customized rehabilitation that increases their recovery and opportunities to continue thriving in their community.
Over the past 20 years, vaccinations have prevented over 2 million deaths. This triumph, however, has not been a panacea. Today, 1 million children in low- and middle-income countries continue to die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. This inequality is largely fueled by technical challenges surrounding the administration of vaccines using hypodermic needles. The MEDiRoller, consists of a novel, handle applicator, containing a spring-loaded delivery system and one of our two types of single-use polymeric microneedle cartridges. The two types of cartridges include a novel cartridge containing a hexagonal solid microneedle roller, that can raster across skin to treat larger surface areas, as well as a MNP cartridge containing a sterile biomedical sponge for sterile vaccine or drug containment and loading, followed by delivery through hollow microneedles. This Big Idea, if successfully developed, will revolutionize vaccine and drug delivery in low-resource communities.
Iron-Deficiency Anemia is the major cause of illness and death in adolescent girls in developing countries, weakening an already vulnerable population and contributing to the cycle of poverty and gender inequality. Unfortunately, attempts to address iron-deficiency anemia in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are often limited by bottlenecks in access, distribution, and community and cultural acceptance. These issues commonly bring well-funded, national-scale global public health initiatives to a halt. By utilizing naturally growing turkey berries, this initiative mobilizes a ubiquitously accessible, culturally integrated, and uniquely bioavailable plant-based iron supplementation solution to address iron-deficiency anemia in LMICs. In a first-of-its-kind randomized-controlled trial held in Ahafo, Ghana, turkey berry–fortified biscuits outperformed UNICEF’s nationwide initiative by a factor of triple, six times faster, and at a cost of roughly US$15 per adolescent girl over a month and a half.
Patients undergoing mechanical ventilation usually use an endotracheal (ET) holder that secures the face and contains a bite block to protect the patient’s mouth. This holder, however, causes discomfort, facial pressure sores, and risks spreading bacterial pneumonias. The Secure-Swap team is developing a device that customizes fit for patients to increase comfortability, maintains patency of the breathing tube, and prevents infection from the bite guard. Their ultimate aim is to help improve care for patients and prevent any complications that can come from traditional ET holders.