University of Wisconsin-Madison alums, Dr. James Berbee and Karen Walsh, have agreed to a five-year, $300,000 gift to the Morgridge Institute for Research through their Berbee Walsh Foundation. According to the press release, their intention is to “create a prototype pathway for clinical devices between University of Wisconsin-Madison clinicians, students and the Morgridge Advanced Fabrication Laboratory, or ‘Fab Lab.'”
According to its website, Morgridge provides research assistance in a number of medical device areas, including regenerative biology, medical engineering, and core computation. The website states that some projects currently in the works are more effective ways to maintain health of organs prior to transplant, feedback sensors to warn of the possibility of injury when installing breathing tubes, and a multi-source x-ray tube. Berbee and Walsh’s donation provides the ability for students to be full members of the Fab Lab team, instead of one-time participants, thus allowing them to work closely with clinicians throughout the process.
According to Morgridge CEO Brad Schwartz:
“What’s really exciting about this project is its potential to improve patient care by unlocking great ideas from people at the front lines of medical care”
Further, according to Kevin Eliceiri, the interim director of Morgridge Medical Engineering and the Fab Lab: “I expect this program to have a great impact and generate a fair amount of intellectual property.” For example, participants can tap into the well-established connections with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for timely IP support.
The press release notes that Dr. Berbee was an engineering graduate who founded the Berbee Information Networks in Madison in 1993, now owned by CDW, and got involved with Morgridge as he received help from the Fab Lab for early prototypes of his new otoscope. Walsh was an assistant dean at the UW-Madison College of Engineering and helped launch the schools first-ever campus innovation prize, the School’s Prize for Creativity.