August 20, 2011

Nicaragua Day 3

by iihlab
IIH Researchers with Hospital Bertha Calderon medtech team

We’re on the starting leg of a 10 day trip to our H-Lab site in Nicaragua. We are following up progress of the MEDIKit deployments back in January, tracking down local medical hackers, and continuing the Solarclave, PortaVida, and asthma projects. In addition to Anna Young, Jackie Linnes (first from right) and Jose Gomez-Marquez (first from left) from IIH, Victoria Gerrard (second from right), an IIH affiliate through the Singapore University for Technology and Design.

We are excited because we have a few new projects that are not exactly done, but that’s the point of going to the field: to co-design with our field partners, in addition to need finding.

The Spectrophotometer

One of the most common instruments that you can find in a lab in the developing world is the spectrophotometer, a simple device that measures the change in color of a reaction as it goes through a blood sample (or other substances). They are usually over-engineered for what they are actually used for in the developing world. However, we’ve found that they are little the lab workhorses. A challenge for the lab is create a cheap one. First, we started by doing an tear down of a typical model found in Nicaragua:

MEDIKit Lab Spectrophotometer Dissection from Timothy Kotin on Vimeo.

We quickly concluded that was not a complicated device, or at least it didn’t need to be. So we’re making our own.

Paulino Vacas Jacques is an amazing engineer at IIH who is our optics wizard. In a few weeks after coming into the lab he made a sub $100 version of a spectrophotometer. We had to reassemble some parts locally, but thanks to Skype, we’re making it happen.

More on that on the next post! In the meantime, we’re off to Ocotal, Nicaragua.

August 8, 2011

Professor Catherine Klapperich talk to NPR on Lab-On-Chip Technologies

by iihlab

IIH’s own Catherine Klapperich, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, provides an expert perspective to NPR’s Joe Palca on the state of Lab-on-Chip technologies.

More at NPR

August 3, 2011

Global Health Technology 2.0: Leaping Over the Gap with Collaborative Invention

by iihlab

by Aya Caldwell, Anna Young, Jose Gomez-Marquez, and Kristian R. Olson

As published in IEEE Pulse August 2011


As global health development assistance has tripled in the last decade, policymakers are recognizing the need for accessible health technologies aimed at low and middle income countries (LMICs) [1, 2].  Developing these technologies is not simple [2]. It requires a delicate departure from top-down, sophisticated engineering towards user-enabled designs that are elegant, simple, and field tested and tailored. In this scenario, the stakes are higher, technologies must succeed with a unique set of design challenges and address a higher burden of global illness. To ensure these technologies aligned with ususer’s needs, co-development with innovators in LMICs and multiple iterations with their feedback are needed for ultimate translation to practical use.

Boston has emerged as a cluster of biomedical innovation for global health. The area’s leading academic institutions in medicine and engineering have coupled their collaborations across the globe, to create design and invention spaces for impact-driven research in global health. In this rich environment, now is the time for Global Health Technology 2.0. We define Global Health Technology 2.0 as the practical applications of science that are effective and sustainable in their intended care delivery settings. Here, technology stands as an independent determinant of global health rather than an aspect of policy that gets folded in as systems mature. In our work towards this new model of technologies in health, we outline a new way of doing research and development. The practice of Global Health Technology 2.0 equally balances attributes of Collaborative Research, Co-creation, and User-driven insight to drive the invention of innovative projects.

Continue reading

July 15, 2011

826 School visits!

by chachadurazo

Yesterday was quite an adventure! We had a lot of fun showing Dlab (Health, Energy, etc.) to about 25 grade school students. I (Chacha) got a little excited and managed to dress up as a “mad scientist” by modeling a mango picker as a fake prosthetic for my “missing arm.” I also sprinkled a little red food coloring on my lab coat. I don’t know if kids are smarter these days or if I was just more gullible at that age, but I think I only fooled like 1 kid (if I’m lucky). I know that the whole group of summer interns here though really had a blast showing the kids around and explaining all the various projects (because Lord knows we’ve got a plethora of them!). At the end we did a little skit describing the use/application of the bike pump nebulizers. After flashing the lights on and off (there was a bad storm in a developing country and the power was lost, so the donated electric nebulizer was no help in saving Jackie’s baby) the kids (divided into four groups) were given a tool chest in which they would find all they needed to build their own nebulizers that didn’t rely on electricity. Not a surprise, they encountered a couple problems but they all worked very well together and in no time each group had a working version of a nebulizer. Here are a couple pictures from the day! I know we here at the lab had a great time, I think the kids did too!

July 11, 2011

Jose Gomez-Marquez @TEDGlobal in Edinburgh

by Anna Young

We’re proud to say that IIH’s Jose Gomez-Marquez was announced as a 2011 TEDFellow! It’s an exciting acknowledgement and he’s in good company with MIT alum and social entrepreneur, Jodie Wu, who was also named as a TEDFellow. Read more at

This week, Jose and Jodie are presenting at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Follow #TEDGlobal for updates!

June 30, 2011

Innovating on a Shoestring: Jacqueline Linnes presents at the NY Academy of Sciences

by iihlab

June 21, 2011

Bob Malkin at TEDx “Donations Hurt”

by iihlab
June 2, 2011

Associated Press takes note of MIT Global Health Delivery Project class

by kmaciag

As noted on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s global health reports:

Associated Press Highlights MIT Global Health Class

The Associated Press highlights the work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Health Delivery Project class, a competitive course that sends graduate students to Africa and India to evaluate projects run by partner organizations. For example, four MIT students traveled to the Kibera section of Nairobi, Kenya, to study why residents of one of the world’s poorest slums were not using a health clinic established by the U.S.-based non-profit group Carolina for Kibera. MIT professor Anjali Sastry, who runs the class, said, “My fondest hope is that we deliver an improvement to that organization that is sustained. Whether it’s to increase scale and efficiency or improve quality” (4/27).

May 7, 2011

D-Lab Final Project Showcase

by iihlab

Come see the latest technologies that MIT students are developing to
make an impact in our world!

Please join us on Saturday, May 7th from 1 – 3 pm at the Microsoft
NERD Center to see the final presentations and project displays from
the growing MIT D-Lab family of classes. To kick things off, students
will give brief presentations, then more than twenty projects will be
on display and all the working prototypes will be demonstrated from
classes on the design and dissemination of technologies in health,
energy, mobility, agriculture, transportation, prosthetics,
small-scale manufacturing, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Please feel free to bring along friends or family, or to forward this
on to other people who you think would be interested. The NERD Center
is located at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA.

To learn more about D-Lab and the family of classes, please go to our

April 14, 2011

UROP Opening Summer 2011

by iihlab

IMPORTANT: MIT Direct Funding Deadline is TODAY at 5pm. Please apply today.

UROP job description

We are seeking a student to work on optimization of virus detection in culture systems.  The project would ultimately be applicable for creating diagnostics for real-world situations involving novel point of care diagnostics, enabled with mobile telephone for real-time epidemiology.

Today’s global world health challenges require advanced and sensitive technologies for detecting potential infectious agents that are health threats. To be able to prevent spread of new emerging diseases, to control epidemics and to best equip surveillance, there is a need to implement these highly sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic techniques. Among the emerging disease risks that this proposal will focus on is dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The project consists of refining techniques to detect dengue virus in the laboratory. Goals of the project are to be able to grow, concentrate and detect dengue viruses that are of diverse genetic information, and to develop rapid and highly sensitive assays for ultimate detection of dengue viruses in patients.

Students with prior background in Biology, Biochemistry, and Cell Biology are highly encouraged to apply. The project requires someone capable of working within BL2 level laboratory requirements and who has excellent organization skills necessary for cataloging of the viruses. There is a cataloging and bio-banking portion of the work.

Contact: Jose Gomez-Marquez, Innovations in International Health.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers