NSF + NIH = Student Win

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The Biodesign Immersion Experience (BIE) is an NIH-sponsored 8-week summer program focusing on the critical aspect of translating bioengineering innovations from the lab out into the world. Fellows include top UC Berkeley undergraduate/graduate students and clinical clients from UCSF.

Leading the program is Amy Herr–rock star UC Berkeley BioE professor and entrepreneur (Zephyrus Biosciences, the company she co-founded, was acquired).  Dr. Herr is also an NSF I-Corps alum, so it was a natural fit to partner with her team to deliver a series of classes and workshops to the Fellows throughout the summer.

National instructors Darren Cooke and Rhonda Shrader led students through journeys that included surprises, pivots and profound “aha’ moments for projects ranging from automated sutured devices to wireless solutions for measuring intracranial pressure.

How did the teams progress? As the teams honed their skills in customer discovery, some decided to pivot radically after not finding a “hair on fire” problem for their target customer segment.  Others pivoted their solutions after finding larger, more profound problems in their target customer segments.

Regardless, all students developed impactful skills and a healthy respect for why placing the customer at the center of every conversation matters most.