Matthew Leevy, Director of Biological Imaging at the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility, is working with three ESTEEM students this year – Nick Machesney, Charles Berno, and Daniel Ward. The laboratory is home of two startup companies – In Vivo Concepts, a platform for translating pre-clinical discoveries and devices to commercial markets, and Medical Data Printers, for producing 3D plastic models of patients’ heads that Ear/Nose/Throat doctors can study before performing surgery. Leevy has worked with two other ESTEEM students in the past whose contributions are part of patent applications.
“Each student has a unique experience in our lab,” he says. “I’ve got one project that was very early on and I asked Nick Machesney to come in and work on the science a little bit. He made some awesome advances in the lab, and solved a critical problem we had with data reconstruction. Daniel Ward is on a different project that deals with manifolds and various anesthesia projects. He’s learned industrial design and some fluid dynamics, and I have tasked him with preparing a peer-reviewed manuscript on this area of work.” Charley Berno regularly attends the meetings of the Medical Data Printers principals. “He gets to see what’s involved in a true startup,” Leevy says.
Leevy, who spends about two hours a week per student to meet and read their work, says their time in the laboratory will increase next semester. “I asked them to take Industrial Design as their elective,” he says. “It turns out that it takes a lot of their time. The expectation is they’re going to be in the lab probably five hours a week starting next semester. They’re available to do additional duties as needed – commercialization paperwork, business planning, running numbers. They are able to contribute in a meaningful ways that will enable them to differentiate themselves upon graduation.”