A team of bioengineering students that has been winning accolades for its novel medical device triumphed in its biggest national test so far, taking first place in the undergraduate category and receiving the Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award at the Collegiate Inventors Competition.

The all-woman team is composed of Jordan Suzanna Cole ’22, Kathleen Fallon ’22, Karly Faith Ripple ’22 and Allison Reichart ’22. They created the CatheSure, a device designed to prevent unnecessary surgery in hydrocephalus patients.

The team traveled to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, in October to face off against undergraduate teams from four other universities that have created inventions of their own.

When the students began the project in fall 2021, they were seniors in bioengineering. Cole, Fallon, Ripple and Reichart are now pursuing master’s degrees in the same discipline. Sarah Anne Stevens ’22, who also helped create the CatheSure as an undergraduate, is now a student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The CatheSure is designed to wirelessly detect shunt malfunctions in hydrocephalus patients in less than five minutes. Hydrocephalus patients, often children, suffer from a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in their brains, and a shunt is surgically placed in the body to help drain the fluid.

When the shunt malfunctions, it can be difficult to diagnose. The CatheSure makes diagnosis faster and less invasive, helping prevent unnecessary exploratory brain surgeries, prolonged hospital stays and repeated radiation exposure.

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