Energy + Medical UROP Opportunities — Apply today!

by iihlab

We have two energy related UROP opportunities for this summer. You need to apply soon!

Project Title: CoolComply: Homecare for MDR-TB Patients in Extreme Environments using Passive Cooling Technology and Telemetry

Supervisor: Jose Gomez-Marquez

Description: We use wireless communication and smart materials to improve care of MDR-TB worldwide through a novel device – CoolComply – designed to maintain temperature and connect patients to healthcare workers in extreme environments.

CoolComply is powered from an “active” photovoltaic matt coupled with a “passive” evaporative cooling system for optimal performance requirements. Our modular storage device will be designed to slot into locally available containers with sufficient R-Values (thermal resistance). Sensors and wireless technology monitor patient adherence through access events, defined by opening the storage device and removing a dosage of medication. Access events and temperature information are time stamped and stored in a standard Secure Digital (SD) memory card embedded in the device. For thermostability security, the device is programmed to send an Short Message Service (SMS) alert the supervisor if either the internal temperature of the device is not less than 15 degrees Celsius 90 percent of the time and/or subjects are not meeting the access requirements.

Innovative devices for home-based care to maintain cool temperatures and strengthen adherence are needed for patients with Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is defined as a resistance to two of the most effective drugs, rifampicin and isoniazid, to treat tuberculosis. In 2008, approximately one third of the nearly half a million cases of MDR-TB died and many more continue to emerge. MDR-TB develops due to poor patient adherence and health provider management of tuberculosis. Patients with active tuberculosis can infect ten to fifteen people annually. Similarly, once people develop MDR-TB, it spreads like any contagious disease – through air transmission such as coughing and talking.

You will be working with a high level interdisciplinary team from IIH/D-Lab, Mass General Hospital and St. Peter’s Hospital in Ethiopia to design the cooling system using smart materials for small-scale energy storage, drawing power from renewable energy sources. Along with the thermodynamic modeling and design of the cooling system, you will be responsible for ensuring a user-driven design of the storage compartments for the medication with feedback from our partners in Ethiopia. This is a paid position for June – August 2011 with potential to continue in the fall semester.

Prerequisites: Coursework in physics, thermodynamics, and product design; Machine shop training preferred, but not required; Interest in global health and mobile phone programming and availability to travel to Ethiopia in July 2011.

Contact: helloiih@mit.edu

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