Two MAP students secured 2nd place at FAU Start-Up Demo Day

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Award winners Ana Boji, Lara Đelević and Akshat Sharma. Image: private

Passion and knowledge for a 3D-printed, customised immobilisation solution

We, Lara Đelević and Akshat Sharma, are two MAP students in our third semester of study. We both have always been passionate about human health and the enabling role new materials and processes can play in making a difference in this field. Therefore, we were thrilled when we got the opportunity to work at the Institute of Biomaterials with state-of-the-art facilities like 3D bioprinting. We express our gratitude to Prof. Aldo R. Boccacini for this opportunity! Fascinated by the role that additive manufacturing can play in the medical sector, including devices and accessories, we decided to delve deeper.

We discovered that in radiotherapy for cancer, a problem frequently encountered is that of dose inaccuracy due to the movement of breast tissue. So we decided to team up with our friend from the physics department, Ana Bojic, to find a solution. Coming from different academic and cultural backgrounds, this was also an opportunity to learn from each other and inspire one another.

After a lot of literature research and talks with experts, we came up with the idea of a 3D-printed, customised immobilisation solution that can help breast cancer patients.

We decided to put our idea to test by applying as a team for the FAU Start-Up Demo Day, organized by FAU in cooperation with EELISA (European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance) on 28.09.2022 at Zollhof in Nürnberg. Having already known Zollhof through a MAP soft skill seminar, this was indeed a wonderful opportunity! When we were selected to make our pitch in front of a jury, we were a bit nervous but even more excited. In preparation for our pitch presentation, we sought feedback from our MAP Chair, Prof. Nicolas Vogel, who gave us valuable suggestions and ideas. We are immensely thankful to him for going out of the way to give us feedback, encourage us and always be there for us.

Fast forward to the day of the competition, our 3-minute pitch presentation and idea was well received by the jury and the audience. We were asked questions on various topics, from technical feasibility to the business model. Moreover, we received positive encouragement from industry experts – including an invitation by the Medical Valley Centre Erlangen to attend a conference on the future of healthcare, in association with Siemens Healthineers. We were beyond happy when the results were announced – we secured the second place, as well as mentorship vouchers worth 1000 euros to pursue our idea further! This motivates us even more to strive harder.

This could not have been possible without the support of our MAP Office, which is always welcoming towards new ideas from students. They were indeed the happiest to know about our achievement! The MAP curriculum (including soft skills), which is highly interdisciplinary, helped orient us towards ‘out of the box thinking’ by combining expertise from different fields.

We are once again thankful to our professors and the MAP Office for believing in our dreams and giving us the opportunity and guidance to pursue them!

By MAP students Lara Đelević and Akshat Sharma (matriculation group 2021)