Project Starfish is developing a biomedical device to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

The device uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light (UVC) to kill bacteria, molds, viruses and other pathogens in urinary catheters. About 75 percent of urinary tract infections during hospital stays are associated with catheters, and up to 25 percent of hospitalized patients receive a urinary catheter, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Project Starfish has received a provisional patent for its device and has confirmed with FDA consultants that the device will follow a relatively inexpensive regulatory pathway, said Elizabeth Bowman. Bowman received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in commercial entrepreneurship May 19.

The team received initial funding from Sling Health (formerly IDEA Labs).

Other team members are:

  • John Bisognono, sophomore, majoring in computer science with a minor in bioinformatics
  • Elliot Jaffe, BS/MS student in electrical engineering with a second major in physics
  • Caleb Ji, first-year student majoring in math
  • Daniel Lane, doctoral student in biomedical engineering
  • Jessica Miller, founder and an MD/PhD student at the School of Medicine and in biomedical engineering
  • Vineet Chauhan and John Henschen, MBA students in the Olin Business School
  • Jay Vasileva, a graduating biomedical engineering student from Saint Louis University

Project Starfish plans to incorporate this summer.

The School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Discovery Competition promotes innovative discoveries that solve a particular challenge or need.  The competition provides undergrad engineering students a forum to explore their entrepreneurial interests with support from mentors, to use their creativity to develop solutions for real-world problems, and to compete for financial resources that could help turn their ideas into businesses. The annual competition is funded by Engineering alumni.

Read more on the School of Engineering & Applied Science website.