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Team Moonshot is working to reduce the urethral tissue damage caused by intermittent catheterisation

What drew you to the problem you are working to solve in Biodesign?

Joey: We appreciated a problem with a proven clinical need and a large affected population. It highlighted a strong value-add we could bring if we tackled the issue.

Sarah: We felt there was a strong clinical need and that we could really make a difference to patients’ quality of life.

Maddy: The current solution seems to really impede on the wellbeing of the patient, and there seems like a great deal of opportunity to offer patients something better and more!


Team Moonshot (L-R) - Business mentor Ian Brown, Nittaya Caruana, Sarah van der Laan, Filippo Valente.

Not pictured - Joey Koh, Alumni Fellow Hayley Cullen

What have you learned from the Biodesign process?

Nittaya: Sometimes we have to continue making small progress to complete a bigger project. Get comfortable with the unknown and work on it and see it as a possibility.

Joey: Being proficient in switching quickly between a task-focused state for productivity and a social people-focus state for team-building is vital with limited time. Another key takeaway is a deeper multidisciplinary appreciation. It’s great having opinions on commercial and patient-centric aspects, especially in prototyping and brainstorming phases. The best gain would be the friendships and connections made with some of the most interesting people in Perth.

Maddy: The process has really affirmed my appreciation for the diversity of thought, background and reiterated for me the vibrancy and creativity different people can bring to the table in the right environment.

What has been your favourite thing about the Biodesign experience?

Nittaya: Self-growth. I have learnt to choose the response that will lead to the best team outcome instead of the response based on emotion. We achieve more when we get out of our way (remove the ego).

Joey: The clinical immersions were an inspiring experience as an engineer. On my first immersion, I donned scrubs and saw a live leg-amputation in theatre. I read up afterwards that people needing amputation either endured great pain or opted for death in the past. It was a personally impactful demonstration on how anaesthesia and technology in general, led to drastically improved outcomes for a person.

Sarah: As a clinician, my favourite part about this course has been learning about concept development and how to go about bringing your product to market. I often have ideas about how we might improve the healthcare system, but before this course, I would have had no idea where to even begin!

Maddy: The supportive, creating and proactive individuals I have met has been without a doubt my favourite takeaway. I think coming from a non-clinical background, insight into the challenges faced by the individuals in the sector - and the creativity with which they and others have met these challenges with product development - has been nothing short of profound.

Fil: working with a cohesive team of people each with different expertise was definitely an educational experience. Everyone came with a different point of view to tackle the problems and to close the gaps in the project.

What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?

Joey: By then, I’d have executed the start-up cooking in my mind every night, studied abroad, worked my first job in a cool-tech role with interesting people, and find my 10 year self in a highly profitable tech or financial company as a result of its mission to improve lives with technology.

Fil: I want to take my biotech expertise out of the lab, learning how to develop business. Management and commercialization knowledge are fundamental skills to aim to have an impact in the society with the technology that we develop.

What would be your advice to someone considering taking the course in 2020?

Nittaya: Don’t be smart but be curious and enjoy finding out the answers. Build beautiful relationships with people along the way and enjoy the journey.

Fil: definitely be curious and take advantage of all the network opportunities to learn about something different and exciting.

Sarah: Be prepared to meet some incredibly interesting people from all sorts of different backgrounds and appreciate what each member of the multidisciplinary team has to offer to the table. Stay up to date with your deliverables and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it - whether that be from your team, team leader, mentors or Matt and Intan. But above all, enjoy it!

Express interest in the 2020 Perth Biodesign course here.

Applications are now open for our new Perth Biodesign for Digital Health course here.

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Filippo Valente

Filippo Valente is an early career researcher from Italy. He obtained his PhD with a thesis on novel nanomaterials for inner ear drug delivery, a collaborative project between the University of Padua and the KTH University. Afterwards he joined the Ear Science Institute Australia, working on silk-based biomaterials for tissue engineering in the middle ear.

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Joey Koh

Joey is a UWA student majoring in Electrical Engineering and Finance. Outside, he explores deep learning in image processing, and was inspired from its health industry applications. He has industry experience in business intelligence and control systems at WorleyParsons and the Water Corporation. To share an opportunity or to have an interesting chat, send him a message on LinkedIn (link above)

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Madeleine Bartlett

Madeleine has benefited from medical innovation and bio-technologies. Her mother was diagnosed with heart failure when she was 9. An ICD, a heart transplant and 15 years later Madeleine’s mother is in great health. Madeleine studied Mechanical Engineering and Economics and today is passionate about commercial challenges and business models, working in commercial advisory at Deloitte.


Nittaya Caruana

Nittaya has worked across different Intensive Care Units including cardiothoracic ICU speciality and completed a post grad in Critical Care, a Master of Nursing (Honours) and a Graduate certificate in healthcare leadership and management. Nittaya has acted in different roles in critical care nursing, presented in an international conference and published a research article in JCN.

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Sarah van der Laan

Sarah is a passionate, Dutch/Irish junior doctor who graduated from Trinity College Dublin, School of Medicine in 2017. Sarah moved to Perth in 2018 and is currently working as a resident medical officer at Fiona Stanley Hospital. She is multilingual and has experience working in France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Australia.

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