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The DeFINE Program: A Clinical Immersion for Biomedical Needs Identification

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Design and Research in BME

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1514.1 - 26.1514.16



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Paper Authors


Breanne Przestrzelski Clemson University

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Breanne Przestrzelski is a University Innovation Fellow at Clemson University where she is pursuing her PhD in Bioengineering with a focus on innovation of biomedical devices and translation thereof through immersion of bioengineers in design and entrepreneurship opportunities. The University Innovation Fellowship, which is a program of Epicenter and a joint-venture of VentureWell and Stanford University, has inspired Breanne to share her passion for design and entrepreneurship through a variety of initiatives she is helping to bring to Upstate South Carolina, one of which is the NIH- and VentureWell-funded DeFINE Program. Breanne obtained her B.S. in May 2012 (research focus: nanomedicine technology) and her M.S. degree in August 2013 (research focus: glenoid loading and stability of the inlay verus onlay shoulder system) both from the Clemson University bioengineering department.

Breanne was a four year varsity collegiate athlete, rowing for the Clemson University Women's Rowing Team, where she learned how to foster her team-centered leadership. Breanne moved on to lead her senior design capstone team to a 1st Place finish in the 2012 NCIIA BMEStart Undergraduate Design Competition for the team's innovation: Assurefit- a chest tube stabilization device. Breanne found her drive for innovation and fascination with design during the development of this technology and seeks to equip students with this same drive through experiential learning.

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John D. DesJardins Clemson University

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Dr. John DesJardins is the Robert B. and Susan B. Hambright Leadership Associate professor in Bioengineering at Clemson University and the director of the Frank H. Stelling and C. Dayton Riddle Orthopaedic Education and Research Laboratory at CUBEInC. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University in December 2006. He has worked for over 25 years as a biomechanical research engineer, and has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed conference or journal publications in the areas of biomechanics, biomaterials tribology, engineering education, biomedical design and mechanical testing. He directs the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Design and Engineering on the main campus of Clemson University, and in his 7 years since joining the bioengineering faculty, he has graduated 4 PhD students and 15 MS students, and has led or has been a co-PI on numerous multi-disciplinary research teams funded through NASA, DoT, DoD, NIH, NSF, the Gates Foundation, biomedical industry and other regional non-profit foundations. He is an active contributor to many professional societies and review panels, including the NSF, VentureWell, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) where he is currently the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee. He was a recent guest editor with the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, developing a special issue on Design Innovation in Biomedical Engineering, and is a business and educational program development consultant with the Coulter Foundation, advising NIH NIBIB SBRI awardees in technology translation.

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The DeFINE Program: A Clinical Immersion for BioE Needs IdentificationThere is a need for biomedical engineering students to more fully engage in the biomedicaldevice design process through experiential learning and immersive experiences. The summerDeFINE (Design Fundamentals In Needs-finding Experience) Program, an NIH andVentureWell funded program, gave 18 students, 15 rising juniors and seniors and 3 graduatestudent mentors, the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive 6-week clinical andtechnology transfer immersion experience in collaboration with the Greenville Health System(GHS) and the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF). These students were pairedwith established clinical design collaborators to conduct needs-based assessments of biomedicaldevices with the goal being to map clinical care processes and identify areas of unmet medicaldevice and system needs. These needs assessments and outcomes were then, upon conclusion ofthe 6-week summer program, broadly disseminated for future use by other biomedicalengineering senior design students to increase the impact of the program beyond the 18 studentsthat participated. To provide entrepreneurial relevance to this clinical immersion, the DeFINEProgram featured an internship in technology management with the university technologytransfer office, CURF, during which time the students were exposed to: (1) intellectual propertyassessment decisions and portfolio management, (2) technology marketing, and (3) technologylicensing and commercialization. The students were challenged to assess the needs discovered intheir clinical immersion experiences as well as existing bioengineering technologies withinCURF’s intellectual property portfolio for their potential as commercial products. Specificoutcomes of the technology management internship included enhanced analytical skills intechnology assessment, identification of viable commercialization technologies, and patentlandscape assessments.By the conclusion of this first 6-week summer DeFINE program, the following outcomes wereproduced. Over 40 clinicians participated as clinical design collaborators in the areas of plasticsurgery, sports medicine, pediatric surgery, minimal access and bariatric surgery, thoracic andoncology surgery, interventional radiology, otolaryngology surgery, OBGYN, and vascularsurgery. In summary, the opportunities afforded to the 18 students included 106 observedsurgical procedures, 227 hours observed in the clinic, and 723 hours observed in the operatingroom. By way of 470+ hours devoted to needs documentation and formal video log with theclinical design collaborators, the 18 DeFINE students identified 1000+ clinical needs. Thisdatabase of clinical needs has since been distributed to the current BioE Senior Design students,many of which have taken the opportunity to solve one of these 1000+ DeFINE-identifiedclinical unmet needs. The DeFINE Program will continue for four additional summers, seekingto further engage bioengineering students in the experiential learning and immersive experiencesassociated with the clinical biomedical design process.

Przestrzelski, B., & DesJardins, J. D. (2015, June), The DeFINE Program: A Clinical Immersion for Biomedical Needs Identification Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24852

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