VeinTech is working to improve first pass cannulation success rates in obese patients and ultimately in all patients with difficult venous access.
Team VeinTech (L-R): Alumni Fellow Dr Caroline Chapman, Nick Buckley, Dr Katherine Arenson, Nik Bappoo, Ritu Mehta, Business Mentor Dr Simon Graindorge. Not pictured: Saleem Al-Odeh
What drew you to the problem you are working to solve in Biodesign?
First hand experience with the frustrations of repeated cannulation attempts in patients with difficult venous access - Katherine A
Prior experience solving vascular problems using biomedical engineering and growing up in a developing country where I’ve witnessed routine and minor procedures like cannulations take lives of close ones because of poor practice and lacking technology. - Nik Bappoo
Being needle phobic and having to go through the pain of repeated cannulation attempts. -Ritu M
What have you learned from the Biodesign process?
Start-ups are not for the faint hearted and to be successful they require tenacity and commitment - Katherine A
The clinical problem you are setting out to solve is the keystone of everything that follows. Your solution, marketing and company is founded on this, so make sure it is rock solid! - Nick Buckley
The needs-driven philosophy is a fantastic way to make a real impact. It is something I will be applying in any position I hold in the medical innovation ecosystem. - Nik Bappoo
I’ve learned so much from my time doing Biodesign. I have also been privileged enough to gain immense experience in start-up culture and from my team mates. Being in a room with so many diverse professionals all striving to achieve the same thing you learn a lot! - Saleem Al-Odeh
What has been your favourite thing about the Biodesign experience?
Hearing so many brilliant entrepreneurs speak and being introduced to so many fields of expertise that I wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to - Katherine A
Having an entirely new world opened up to me in my own city that I had no idea existed - Perth has a thriving, dynamic BioTech space, you just have to be shown where it is! -Nick Buckley
Biodesign introduced me to incredibly like-minded and passionate people and I could say it was a platform for “your vibe attracts your tribe”. - Nik Bappoo
I think looking back, I’ve made some great friends and connections. Looking at the progress we’ve made in such a short time is probably my favourite. That idea becomes almost like your baby and you see it grow. - Saleem Al-Odeh
What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?
Acting as a connector between research and industry, allowing the two spheres to work synergistically for the betterment of patients. -Nick Buckley
Making genuine patient impact through medical innovation - that could be through research translation, MedTech startups, consulting or who knows what the future holds! - Nik Bappoo
Working as a life scientist in a patient-focused MedTech startup will be exciting.
What would be your advice to someone considering taking the course?
Having a great idea is just the first step in helping patients; this course will teach you how to take your ideas and make sure they go all the way to getting into the hands of clinicians for the benefit of patients.-Nick Buckley
Be ready for intense and exciting 6 months, where you will get hands-on learning experience at solving an unmet clinical problem.- Ritu
Katherine Arenson is an Emergency Physician at Armadale hospital and also the practice manager for Murdoch Endocrinology. She is originally from South Africa and is the mother of 4 and wife of a dual trained physician. Katherine has set up two successful medical practices and arranges charity events in her spare time.
Nick Buckley is a physiotherapist and PhD student, specialising in paediatrics and severe disability. His primary areas of research are scoliosis and body shape changes, as well as automated measurement of positioning during sleep. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Curtin University.
Nik is a biomedical engineer at the Harry Perkins Institute and has worked internationally with Materialise, medical 3D printing giants. He is currently developing tools to predict placental and fetal impairment during pregnancy as part of his PhD and manages other projects in vascular engineering and surgery. Nik also runs a non-for-profit to connect Perth’s medical innovation industry.
Ritu is a Laboratory Technician at School of Biomedical Sciences, UWA. She came to Australia in 2017 to study at UWA where she achieved her Master of Biotechnology with a specialisation in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In past, she has taken up various leadership roles in the World’s largest youth-run organisation- AIESEC.
Saleem is currently a dedicated Engineering student specialising in Biomedical Engineering at UWA, where he is a student guild councillor and founder of the Ethnocultural Collective. Saleem has completed two observerships at GETINGE Group, a biomed manufacturer, as well as recently completing an internship at Modern Pharmaceutical Company in Dubai.