Medical Student’s Invention Fights Super Bugs
Timothy Lu recently won $25,000 for his invention in the 2009 Collegiate Inventors Competition sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Abbot Fund. His invention beat hundreds of other entries in categories of originality, potential value and usefulness to society.
Lu, 27, is in the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Lu works at a hospital, and grew concerned about patients infected with bacteria that resist antibodies.
He saw that these bacteria were being treated with stronger and stronger medication until they started to evolve into something truly scary. Lu’s technology will be on the front lines in the fight against super bugs. Right now, the technology can be put into use treating diseases like cystic fibrosis and treating food preparation areas where bacteria grow.
While Lu won the contest’s grand prize, University of Michigan graduate Paul Podsiadlo’s “plastic steel” won the graduate contest, and MIT student Greg Schroll’s spherical robot won the undergraduate contest. Both of these winners received $15,000.
Podsiadlo’s plastic steel is an incredibly hard plastic material made through nanotechnology that could be used for many things including military body armor. Schroll’s spherical robot uses a gyroscope to give extra energy when climbing hills, and could be used for the military to go places not safe for humans.