2019 MIT DC Grand Hack Recap

Three George Hacks team members participated in the MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack DC at the Samsung Solutions Center two weekends ago.

Caitlyn Pratt, Jinbi Tian and Freddie Li took part in the three-day hackathon that partnered with the Veteran’s Health Administration and focused on solutions to help improve care for veteran’s across the country. George Hacks also saw participation in the event from four hackathon veterans, Shubham Gupta, Bianca Karpinecz, Liz Fischer and Emily Cheung.

The event, sponsored by Samsung, took place during the first weekend of August. On Friday, the first day of the event, participants attended an event kickoff, broke out into pitching sessions and formed teams. Teams created their ideas and practiced their pitches on Saturday and final presentations and awards wrapped up the competition on Sunday.

The hackathon consisted of three tracks for participants: access to healthcare, mental health and professional burnout, and rare and orphan diseases. The three George Hacks team members competed in the mental health track, which focused on the areas surrounding mental health diagnoses, prevention and care.

Along with brainstorming and building innovative solutions to various veteran’s health issues, participants of the hackathon heard from four keynote speakers throughout the weekend. Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VHA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, John Godfrey, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for Samsung Electronics America, Dr. Jon Bloom, a board-certified physician and entrepreneur, and Dr. Sharad Verma, Director of Research and Development for the Neurofibromatosis TherapyAcceleration Program addressed participants, discussing various topics surrounding veteran’s health and innovation.

Former George Hacks Participants Take Innovation to the 2019 BMES Coulter College

Last weekend, our Social Media Chair, Christianne Chua, and her three teammates represented GW Biomedical Engineering at the 2019 BMES Coulter College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A distinguished program focused on educating students in the “translation of biomedical innovations,” Coulter College recruits “mentors in key problem areas [the 2019 cycle featured structural heart, chronic hypertension, or type 2 diabetes disease management] to guide student teams through a highly dynamic process designed to help them better understand how innovations can meet clinical needs, while providing tools and approaches used to develop novel solutions for identified clinical problems” (read more about BMES Coulter College here). The conference convened at Medtronic facilities and was further supported by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Invitation to the program is highly competitive as only 12 teams comprising 4 students and a single senior design faculty mentor are selected nationwide. Anastasia Carr, Christianne Chua (our Social Media Chair and 2019 Medical Solutions Participant), Camille Daszynski (2019 Medical Solutions Participant), and Mercedes Suazo (2018 Medical Solutions Participant) as well as capstone faculty mentor Dr. David Lee were notified in May of their acceptance into Coulter College and assigned type 2 diabetes disease management.

From there, an intensive period of preparation began for the team. After compiling a lengthy pre-assignment researching their assigned disease, conducting clinician interviews, and attending multiple BMES-hosted webinars, the GW quartet whittled down their 20-page deliverable into several need statements required by program coordinators upon arrival to Minneapolis.

From Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning, the team experienced a completely immersive agenda of lectures, facility tours, and professional meetings with a diverse panel of clinicians, industry leaders, business mentors, designers, and venture capitalists. This intensive series of scheduled activities allowed the GW team to tailor its final design towards the guiding goals of promoting greater affordability, personalization, and actionability within the type 2 diabetes community. In a collaborative effort, they worked day and night to conceptualize a solution that best fit around the need for patients to remain motivated in chronic management of lifestyle. Each day, the team was expected to present additional components of device design, intellectual property, regulatory landscape, and business model to a cohort of judges.

Congratulations to the team for their strong performance throughout the program! We wish you the best start to your senior year and cannot wait to see where this experience takes you!

2019 GW Summer Start-up Accelerator Program Recap

Three George Hacks affiliated teams pitched their ventures in the Showcase and Demo Day on July 18 as they wrapped up their summer program with the GW Summer Startup Accelerator (SSA), a program run by the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The George Hacks affiliated participants included, our co-founder and former director, Michael Ready, our web developer, Sam Bunger and two former George Hacks participants, Jagan Doodala and Christian Trummer. Their ventures include Vaulted Vinyl, Voxion and WATTerWagon, respectively.

At the Showcase and Demo day, all participants in the SSA were given a chance to pitch ideas to a group of over 20 angel investors and venture capitalists. The 2019 GW Summer Startup Accelerator Investors included Amanda Antico, Founder and CEO at EvolvED, John Burke, Founder at True Ventures, Wayne Chen, Edge Tech – Ventures Director at Booz Allen Hamilton, and many more. The complete list of investors can be found here.

Congratulations to all of the teams for a successful finish to the program and we wish them luck as they proceed with the rest of their future ventures.

Meet the 2019-2020 Team!

Our team is growing! Our new George Hacks 2019-2020 team has been working hard this summer, and we can’t wait to get this fall semester started! We’ve got some exciting events coming up this semester, and, of course, stay tuned for more info about our 3rd Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon on January 25th-26th! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on the latest George Hacks upcoming news.

Alright then! Let’s meet some of the faces behind our operations!

Congrats to the George Hacks affiliated teams accepted into the 2019 GW Summer Start-up Accelerator Cohort!

The GW Summer Start-up Accelerator (GWSSA), run by the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is the accelerator for top student startups at the George Washington University. This 9-week summer program engages student entrepreneurs who want to develop a startup venture. The program provides the students with funding, mentorship, and resources.

Three George Hacks affiliated teams were accepted into this intensive program. We are so proud of all their hard work and with them the best of luck this summer!

Our co-founder and former director, Michael Ready, is a member of Vaulted Vinyl, the Premium POP! Vinyl Protection Company, which offers top-tier protection for Funko Pops all over the world.

Sam Bunger, our web developer, is one of the engineers behind Voxion, a user-friendly and cost-effective solution for consumer-facing businesses to build custom voice applications.

Two former George Hacks participants, Jagan Doodala and Christian Trummer, are the founders of WATTerWagon, which increases water carrying capacity and eliminates strenuous labor for hundreds of millions living in rural water-scarce regions.

The GW Summer Startup Accelerator (SSA) will hold its Showcase and Demo Day on July 18, 2019 in Duques Hall on the Foggy Bottom campus of the George Washington University. We’re excited to see how they all progress!

George Hacks team member, Christianne Chua, named a Barry Goldwater Scholar

Our very own Social Media Chair and former George Hacks participant, Christianne Chua, has been named a 2019 Barry T. Goldwater Scholar, the highest national-level award for outstanding undergraduate researchers in STEM.  

Christianne is the only SEAS student (and one of three GW students) to receive this prestigious award.  Her research is in the field of cardiac optogenetics in Dr. Emilia Entcheva’s laboratory; she was trained by and worked closely with PhD students Julie Han and Weizhen Li.

We are so proud of you, Christianne, and keep up the hard work!

Michael Degaga (left), Weizhen Li, Sarah Schrup, Emilia Entcheva, Christianne Chua and Julie Han attended the 2018 BMES Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

George Hacks students win big at the 2019 New Venture Competition Finals

Last Thursday night, four George Hacks affiliated teams won big at the 11th Annual GW Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s New Venture Competition Finals. 216 teams entered into the competition back in January and only 12 teams advanced all the way to the finals round. We are so proud of all their hard work and wish them the best of luck moving forward!

Congratulations to our director, Caitlyn Pratt, and her team, Takin’ it Easy, which won Runner-Up in the Technology Ventures track ($5,000). Takin’ it Easy is a user-friendly, cost-effective automated pill dispenser providing medical safety and autonomy for users and families.

From left to right: Sydney Bailes (SEAS ’19), Caitlyn Pratt (SEAS ’21), Solomon Abrams (GWSB ’19)

Congratulations to the Mobility Innovators team, who won Runner-Up in the Social Ventures track ($5,000). The team developed a compact tray designed for U.S. veteran wheelchair users. Their problem statement was originally provided by the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem at the 2019 George Hacks Medical Solutions Hackathon.

From left to right: Justina Pruski (SEAS ’21), Jonathan Lau (SEAS ’22), Raymond Yau (SEAS ’22), Giavanna Corazza (SEAS ’22)

Congratulations to the Voxion team, who also competed in the finals round and was awarded an Honorable Mention ($2,500). Voxion is a user-friendly and cost-effective solution for consumer-facing businesses to build custom voice applications.

From left to right: Nathaniel Bury (SEAS ’22), Saramarie Puzzanghera (SEAS ’22), Sam Bunger(SEAS ’21)

Congratulations to two former George Hacks participants, Jagan Doodala and Christian Trummer, founders of WATTerWagon, which won the Quinn Prize for Best International & Social Entrepreneurship Venture ($7,500). WATTerWagon increases water carrying capacity and eliminates strenuous labor for hundreds of millions living in rural water-scarce regions.

From left to right:  Christian Trummer  (SEAS ’21), Jagan Doodala (CCAS ’19)

George Hacks teams advance to finals of New Venture Competition

This week, three George Hacks affiliated teams advanced to the final round of the GW Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s New Venture Competition. 12 teams remain out of 216 that entered. We are so proud of all their hard work and wish them the best of luck moving forward!

Our director, Caitlyn Pratt, is CEO of her company Takin’ It Easy, which developed an automatic pill dispenser to alleviate the burden placed on caregivers when taking care of their loved ones. The venture was first developed last November at VCU HealthHacks.

From left to right: Sydney Bailes (SEAS ’19), Caitlyn Pratt (SEAS ’21), Solomon Abrams (GWSB ’19)

Giavanna Corazza, a George Hacks Ambassador, continued to work on her pitch provided by the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem at the 2019 George Hacks Medical Solutions Hackathon. Her team, Mobility Innovators, developed a compact tray for U.S. veterans who are wheelchair bound and lack independence.

From left to right: Justina Pruski (SEAS ’21), Jonathan Lau (SEAS ’22), Raymond Yau (SEAS ’22), Giavanna Corazza (SEAS ’22)

Sam Bunger, the George Hacks web developer, is one of the engineers behind Voxion, a user-friendly and cost-effective solution for consumer-facing businesses to build custom voice applications.

From left to right: Nathaniel Bury (SEAS ’22), Saramarie Puzzanghera (SEAS ’22), Sam Bunger(SEAS ’21)

George Hacks Founder, Brianna Cathey, publishes paper in Scientific Reports

George Hacks founder, Brianna Cathey, and Sofian Obaid, working with Dr. Igor Efimov, are the first authors in paper published January 24 in Scientific Reports. This paper presents an open-source platform for optocardiography, in which both software and hardware are open to the public via open-source license. Hardware can be printed on a 3D printer, and the platform will be useful in research and education of the heart.  

The citation for their paper is: B. Cathey, S. Obaid, A. M. Zolotarev, R. A. Pryamonosov, R. A. Syunyaev, S. A. George, and I. R. Efimov. “Open-Source Multiparametric Optocardiography,” Scientific Reports, Vol. 9: 721 (2019).

A recent GW Today article, “SEAS Students Design 3D-Printed Optical Mapping System,” further explains their research and its implications.

George Hacks All-Women’s Team Takes 3rd Place at Pitch George Competition

The team of Caitlyn Pratt, Sydney Bailes, Shirali Nigam, and Trish Mikolajczyk—all from the BME Department—took Third Place and a $750 cash prize in the Undergraduate track at this year’s Pitch George Competition, held November 17 in Duques Hall.  The all-female team pitched their novel pill dispenser product, which targets the population over the age of 65 who may be dealing with problems like arthritis or juggling more than five medications a day.

The team is also one of the founding teams of the George Hacks Innovators in Action Program.  They were mentored by BME alumnus Konstantin Mitic, who co-founded the George Hacks organization and worked with the team as their adviser between rounds of pitches at the competition.