The Si-Low team, inventors of a gastroschisis treatment system for newborns in Uganda, won the top award in the George R. Brown Engineering Design Showcase held April 12 at Rice University’s Tudor Fieldhouse. The Excellence in Engineering Award comes with a prize of $5,000.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal wall that predominantly affects premature infants and leaves their intestines outside their abdomens. The problem intrigued the team of freshmen Sajel Dutt and Owais Fazal and sophomore Sanika Rane, who came up with a low-cost alternative to expensive silicone bags that protect the intestines while allowing gravity to ease them back into the body.
Remarkably, none of the team, who were advised by Rice postdoctoral research associate Meaghan Bond, are engineering students.
“We took this design class because we’re all interested in a global health minor,” said Rane, who represented the team at the showcase while her colleagues took an exam. “We just went in not know what we were doing.”
Rane is a kinesiology and health science major, while the others are majoring in social policy analysis. “We’re interested in public and global health,” she said. “I’m surprised because of all the amazing teams here, we’re probably the ones with the least amount of experience.”
Excellence in Independent, Multi-year or Club Engineering Design Award ($1,000): Colostomates
The annual public event put on by the George R. Brown School of Engineering and the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen features senior capstone design and other projects by Rice undergraduates. Read about all the participating teams at http://oedk.rice.edu/showcase.