Asee peer logo

Year Two - The DeFINE Program: A Clinical and Technology Transfer Immersion Program for Biomedical Needs Identification and Valuation

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Education Programs in BME

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Breanne Przestrzelski Clemson University

visit author page

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 Fellows, a program of the Epicenter and co-managed by Stanford University and Venturewell, has inspired Breanne to share her passions 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.

visit author page


John D DesJardins Clemson University

visit author page

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 has been a business and educational program development consultant with the Coulter Foundation, advising NIH NIBIB SBRI awardees in technology translation.

visit author page


Carson Mackenzie Ida Brewer Clemson University

visit author page

Carson Brewer is a second year student at Clemson University studying Bioengineering. Through many research opportunities in the department, Carson has led a team to the Limbs Summit in El Paso, Texas where they presented a functioning, 3-D printed, lower arm interface that allowed a subject with a congenital arm defect to successfully use a forearm crutch. Carson now focuses her research on designing medical devices for the developing world with an infant temperature regulation device. Having had these opportunities, Carson plans to pursue further research that enables her to reach out to others through engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Introduction Universities are meant to be institutions preparing students to have worldly impact, but the current higher education structure stifles innovative thinkers from reaching their potential and their innovations reaching the customers. Students are not learning in the classroom- in fact, while 96% of college provosts believe their students are prepared for the job market, only 11% of business leaders agree [1]. It is facts similar to this that drove the Bioengineering Senior Design program at Clemson University to develop a program that offsets these statistics to better prepare our biomedical engineering students for the world after graduation. The DeFINE (Design Fundamentals in Needs-Finding Experience) Program is a six-week NIH and VentureWell funded program with two immersive experiences: (1) a clinical immersion experience that enables rising juniors and seniors in bioengineering to experience, empathize and observe a variety of clinical specialties with the goal to identify needs that all too often go unseen by traditional senior design experiences and (2) a technology transfer immersion experience that enables these students to evaluate the defined clinical needs from a technology valuation perspective with a goal to define the likelihood of technology commercialization of each proposed need and the technology thereof. The DeFINE Program has undergone content improvements with respect to Year One and has been implemented for a second time in the summer of 2015. One of the new major metrics for this year of DeFINE is translatability of these skills to the senior design class for fall 2015 and spring 2016. This assessment is still in progress, and an overview will be provided.

Methods Year Two of this six-week summer program started off with a similar orientation week as Year One- training the students in design thinking, ethnography, empathy, observation, technology valuation, and clinical etiquette while also employing 18 students- 16 undergraduates (seniors and juniors) and 2 graduate student mentors- all of whom rotated between at least two of the ten available clinical areas (vascular surgery, surgical oncology, plastic surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, otolaryngology, interventional radiology, sports medicine, colon and rectal, minimally invasive surgery, and pediatrics). Year Two of DeFINE expanded to additional areas of focus for the students in comparison to Year One that allowed for greater flexibility when it came to the required daily clinical shadowing and documentation of needs in each environment. Four days out of each week during the six-week program was spent shadowing clinical collaborators in each of the aforementioned areas. The fifth day of each week was spent working directly with the university technology transfer office to provide exposure to portfolio assessment, technology marketing, and technology licensing and commercialization. Both immersions were vital to the collection of defined needs as seen in initial data collected.

Results Between all 18 students, over 1000 hours were spent defining needs in the operating room, nearly 300 hours in the clinic, and nearly 200 hours working with the technology transfer office, all representing the more than 100 clinicians shadowed to identify over 600 needs. These needs have since been passed on to current senior design capstone students-several of which are returning DeFINE students. It will be these students whose success in senior design will be tracked and whose data will be compiled at a later date with close examination of how the DeFINE Program affected their technology maturity level at the conclusion of the senior design two-semester class.

Conclusion Year Two of the DeFINE Program identified over 600 needs in ten clinical areas- many of which will be re-visited during the senior design process. It is this program that is enabling bioengineering students to think more critically of their environment to make biodesign changes in every area they find themselves immersed in- readying these students with skillsets that future employers are expecting.

[1] 1.Kline, W.A., et al. (2014) The innovation canvas in entrepreneurship education: integrating themes of design, value, and market success. Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship 5(1) 74-93

Przestrzelski, B., & DesJardins, J. D., & Brewer, C. M. I. (2016, June), Year Two - The DeFINE Program: A Clinical and Technology Transfer Immersion Program for Biomedical Needs Identification and Valuation Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27062

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015