Two UC Doctoral Students Received MedTech Core Award

30 July 2021

UC celebrates finalist Mariah McDonald and winner Jake Campbell for their efforts in the 2021 MedTech Core Competition

  • Two UC Doctoral Students Received MedTech Core Award

The University of Canterbury Mechanical Engineering Department is pleased to highlight PhD candidates Jake Campbell and Mariah McDonald for their recent accomplishments with MedTech CoRE and The Consortium for Medical Device Technologies (CMDT) conference.

MedTech/CMDT operates as a translational research platform and was developed by bringing together clinicians, nurses, and engineers in an environment that helps matchmake problems with solutions. The conference is described by Mariah as an atmosphere that helps to “build connections”.

Jake, having placed third in 2019, has returned for 2021 to place first for research in light based non-invasive, glucose monitoring for neonatal patients. Jake observed that:

                “Blood loss from the neonatal ICU can be up to 5 percent of a neonate’s blood… and blood sugar levels going low can have poor developmental outcomes. There is a definite need to reduce the invasiveness of measurements.”

Jake will have continuing involvement with this research as patient trials are currently ongoing at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital to help measure and calibrate the device for future use.

While the developments made by Jake certainly have patient benefits, there are also local and global areas of medical care accessibility to consider with the potential of reducing the expected glucose monitoring cost for a patient from a $100/week recurring cost to a $100 fixed cost.

Mariah made strides as a finalist this year for presenting research into the modelling of respiratory dynamics of neonates during mechanical ventilation therapy, focusing on patient specific therapy. 

                “The more you know about the specific patient parameters the better you can attune the therapy to each individual…you need patient specific settings,” said Mariah.

Mariahs approach, which has shown promising results in previous research when applied to adults, has been repurposed to measure the elasticity of the lungs specifically for neonates.

With current generalizations being made from often limited patient record data, developing alternatives that measure a patient’s specific volume expenditure can help produce a more effective treatment.

Both Jake and Mariah are inspired by the validation of their work and experiencing the tangible good generated between academia and commercial enterprise fostered through the MedTech/CMDT conference.

As Jake nears the end of his PhD at Canterbury and Mariah continues to make inroads, we expect bright futures for these candidates.