Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monash medical students secure funding for their innovations

After wowing the crowds at a Victorian competition with their entreprenurial ideas, two teams comprising Monash Medical School students and alumni will receive $20,000 to put their ideas into practice.

Five finalists were selected at the Medtech’s Got Talent finals, with four of the 17 semi-finalists affiliated with Monash. The unique program is run by STC, an organisation that promotes commercialisation and entrepreneurship around next-generation medical technologies. Part pitch competition, part accelerator, it offers critical resources, skills development and seed funding to high-potential early-stage medical technology start-ups.

Monash Medical School
Gavin Fox-Smith, Laura Faulconer, Buzz Palmer, Jennifer Tang, Jarrel Seah, Toby McSweeney (Photo credit: Monash University)

Designed to support early-stage medtech business and product concepts including devices, diagnostics and ehealth, Victorian students, post-docs and recently graduated alumni were invited to apply and take part. Seventeen semi-finalist teams were selected and were mentored by leading business experts for a month to help prepare them for the competition finals, held in Melbourne.

Current student Jarrel Seah, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and alumni Dr Jennifer Tang, who studied Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, were one of two Monash teams to win at this year’s Medtech’s Got Talent competition. They presented their idea, Eyenaemia, an eye recognition app that diagnoses anaemia.

The non-invasive cloud-based anaemia-screening tool works by using any camera-enabled smart device. Last year they won the Microsoft Imagine Cup for their novel idea.

Jennifer Tang said being one of the finalists represented a great opportunity to share their idea.
“All the semi-finalist teams and ideas were great and it illustrates how much growth the medtech industry in Melbourne is going to have,” she said.

The five finalists each received $20,000 in seed funding, prizes and acceptance into the Accelerated Technology Roadmapping training and mentorship program, providing them with skills to grow their business. This will culminate in an Investor Boardroom Pitch on Aug. 7, where early-stage investors will critique the five teams’ investment pitches and select an overall winner, who will receive an additional $40,000.

Dr Andrew Yap was part of the other Monash affiliated team selected for the final five, winning the Monash University-sponsored prize presented by Dr Alastair Hick, Director of Monash Innovation, for their Medtasker idea. Medtasker aims to provide safer healthcare communication via a medical communication platform that enables task management and alerts for escalations in patient status and proactive clinical alerts for medical professionals in hospital settings.

Dr Yap is a Monash alumni, having completed an MBBS degree at Monash and is currently is currently studying a Master of Applied Information Technology at the university.

Dr Yap said making it this far in the challenge has provided additional validation for the team that they are building the right product, which will make healthcare communication safer.

“We’re currently piloting Medtasker at a hospital in Melbourne and are looking to roll it out to other hospitals around the country over the next 12 months,” he said.

The other Monash affiliated semi-finalists were Hannah Szto, Sarah McPherson, Evelyn Lim; IllumiKnight – Remote fall monitor for aged care facilities; and Jacqueline Harrison, Laura Roberts and Pooja Yashod; Neoband – Wearable device for wellness monitoring during pregnancy.

Monash Medical School’s MBBS

The Monash Medical School’s graduate-entry degree emphasizes clinical communication skills and early clinical contact visits to medical practices, community care facilities and hospitals. The MBBS is interdisciplinary program, organized to provide integration of structure and function within the biomedical sciences. It presents a continually expanding level of medical experience, starting in the first semester of the course. In the first year, the basic medical sciences are taught in the context of their relevance to patient care. Later in the course, clinical teaching builds upon and reinforces this strong scientific foundation.

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Location: Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Victoria (approx. 2 hours southeast of Melbourne)
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: September 11, 2015 (Round 2)


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