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University of South Florida

USF medical engineering team wins first place in national NIH competition

A USF medical engineering team placed first in a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) competition for their Eucovent device that allows multiple patients to be treated with a single ventilator.

USF students Abby Blocker, Carolyna Yamamoto Alves Pinto, Jacob Yarinsky won the Steven H. Krosnick Prize from NIBIB’s annual Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge, earning the prize’s $20,000 award for the 2021 competition.

USF’s medical engineering program is a collaborative degree program for the College of Engineering and the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this student team, and their mentor Dr. Souheil Zekri, to receive this award in only the first full year of BME Capstone Projects here at USF,” said Robert Frisina, PhD, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Biomedical Engineering program. “In addition, their project dealt with a new, novel system for doubling the number of ventilators available, such an important issue during the pandemic.”

DEBUT is a team challenge hosted by NIBIB for undergraduate students in biomedical engineering or bioengineering programs. NIBIB selects winning teams for designs that excel according to four criteria: the significance of the problem being addressed; the impact on clinical care; the innovation of the design; and the ideation process or existence of a working prototype.

NIBB announced the DEBUT winners Aug. 25, and the USF team will be presented with their award during the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference held in October.

The USF team’s design is called The Eucovent, a medical device that allows for multiple patients to be treated with a single ventilator, delivering different pressures and volumes to each patient from the same ventilator. The Eucovent addresses some of the safety concerns traditionally associated with co-ventilation and the device can be used in low resource scenarios such as rural areas, military settings, and natural disaster scenarios.