November 02, 2009
Second-year law student Stephanie Roberts has been impressively busy this semester. In August, Roberts and a group of fellow Tulane bioengineering graduates, along with Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering David Rice, applied for a patent for an inexpensive apparatus that could prevent millions of infection-related neonatal deaths in developing countries.
According to Roberts, the team has been “working on an umbilical cord device for use in developing nations to reduce neonatal infections and death from poor umbilical cord care at birth.”
The small device, called SafeSnip, has caught the eyes of many including mtvU—MTV Networks’ Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 24-hour college network. Last Thursday, Roberts and partner William Kethman, a second-year medical student at Tulane, were notified that they are one of three finalists in the MTV ‘Movers and Changers’ grant competition.
“MTV will be visiting us [this week] to meet with people that we have worked with and to interview us,” says Roberts. “They will also be flying us to New York to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week, and have the opportunity to win $25,000 for our project. This opportunity involves a judged presentation where we will present the medical device we designed and some of its implications for world health.”
The students developed SafeSnip—a three-inch disposable, plastic clamp that cuts, seals and disinfects an umbilical cord in one step—as part of a project in Rice’s class. In addition to this latest honor, SafeSnip has won the team $5,000 in funding from the Wal-Mart Foundation through the Clinton Global Initiative University and $500 from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.