2017-2018 MEng Projects

Early Onset Scoliosis

Green Sun Medical is a company founded to offer new treatments for people suffering from scoliosis. The company has raised private investment and is well on the road to developing a dynamic brace to treat Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). The dynamic brace uses tissue remodeling, the concept of constant force over time, to reverse spinal deformities.

While AIS strikes children in adolescence and robs them of many Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Early Onset Scoliosis is, by all measures, worse. The current standard of care is to put these infants under general anesthesia, manipulate their torso and spine, and fix them in a plaster cast. This process is repeated every 2-4 months until the curvature is improved. General anesthesia on these infants likely impairs development. The only alternatives are major surgical procedures. This project will be for an engineering team to adapt the core principles of the Green Sun Medical dynamic brace to treat Early Onset Scoliosis. This project can have a massive impact on patients.

(Students: Caitlin Dorff, Joseph Felipe, Erin Gudger, and Kexin Xu)

Caitlin Dorff – Caitlin recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursing an MEng degree in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley. Her past project experiences and future career goals are focused on developing solutions that improve people’s mobility and sense of independence.

Joseph Felipe – Joe completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley in 2015. After graduating, he worked at Velo3D (a start-up in metal 3D printing) for 2 years and then decided to return to school for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Joe did research in the O’Connell lab during his undergrad at Cal and is excited to be applying this knowledge towards medical device design.

Erin Gudger – Erin is a bioengineering Masters student who received a B.S. in bioengineering from UCSD. She is working on a device for early onset scoliosis and hopes to peruse a career in the medical device industry.

Biological Hip Replacement

Amir Jamali, PhD is a orthopaedic surgeon from Sacramento and has developed a new method for preparing allografts from the hip joint (patent pending). The 2017-2018 MEng group will perform tests to evaluate ease of operation and mechanical integrity of the implanted tissue.

(Student:Karl Engel, Stephen Muller, Alejandra Pacheco, and Vija Veinbergs)

Karl Engel – Karl is a Master of Engineering student in the Bioengineering Department. Karl graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a BS in Chemical Engineering. After graduation Karl worked at the NIH and Stanford University School of Medicine doing various biomedical research projects. He will be working on the biological hip replacement project with Dr. Grace O’Connell and Dr. Amir Jamali.

Stephen Muller – Stephen is a Master’s student from Florida. He is currently working on a biological hip replacement project. His goal is to work in developing new orthopedic medical devices.

Alejandra Pacheco – Alejandra graduated from Santa Clara University with a BS in Bioengineering ‘17. She is a Master of Engineering student in Bioengineering ‘18, co-advised by Dr. Grace O’Connell and Dr. Amir Jamali. Alejandra’s research is focused on addressing current barriers to biological hip replacements with finite element analysis and device prototyping.

Vija Veinbergs – Vija is a Master of Engineering student in the Bioengineering department. She recently graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Applied Physics. She will be working on a biological hip replacement with Dr. O’Connell and Dr. Amir Jamali.