ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Kaiba was just a newborn when he turned blue because his little lungs weren’t getting the oxygen they needed. Garrett spent the first year of his life in hospital beds tethered to a ventilator, being fed through his veins because his body was too sick to absorb food. Baby Ian’s heart stopped before he was even six months old.
Three babies all had the same life-threatening condition: a terminal form of tracheobronchomalacia, which causes the windpipe to periodically collapse and prevents normal breathing. There was no cure and life-expectancies were grim.
The three boys became the first in the world to benefit from groundbreaking 3D printed devices that helped keep their airways open, restored their breathing and saved their lives at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Researchers have closely followed their cases to see how well the bioresorable splints implanted in all three patients have worked, publishing the promising results in today’s issue of Science Translational Medicine.
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Zhen Xu received the 2015 Frederic Lizzi Early Career Award from the International Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU). Every year, Lizzi Award is given to a researcher at early stage of career who has achieved significant accomplishment and contribution to the field of therapeutic ultrasound.
Allison Powell (BSE) and Kyle Bettinger (BSE) co-founded a startup called “PuffBarry” to develop a device aiding people living with ALS, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy. Born out of their BME 458 team project the PuffBarry device uses puffs of air as code that a computer can interpret and translate into speech as an alternative communication device for those who have lost the ability to speak. Their passion for helping those with ALS came after a family friend of Allison passed away during her college career. Allison and Kyle took their idea to the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship competition “The StartUp” and came away with $3000 in seed funding among 16 others in the field of 60 and eventually won the grand prize of $15,000 and entry into TechArb. They also received an additional $1000 by winning the TedXUofM prize. Allison will attend TedXTraverseCity in May as one of the invited speakers.