BME PhD student wins top prize in national research pitch competition

October 12, 2023 — BME PhD student Tate Shannon bested 46 contestants in a research pitch competition hosted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in September.

Shannon pitched a fully regenerative, minimally invasive vein valve he has helped develop under PI and Distinguished McKnight University Professor Bob Tranquillo

The competition was held as part of the NHLBI Annual Meeting for the organization’s Catalyze Program, which aims to facilitate the transition of basic science discoveries into viable diagnostic and therapeutic candidates cleared for human testing. 

NHLBI staff selected four finalists from 46 first-round pitches to deliver a 5-minute pitch live at the annual meeting to a panel of investors. After making the final cut, Shannon’s pitch beat out two CEOs and a senior researcher for the top prize. 

The Catalyze Program is supporting Tranquillo, Shannon, and team’s work to conduct design optimization and three rounds of pre-clinical testing in preparation for a first-in-human trial of the vein valve technology. The study team also includes fellow BME PhD student Luke Voce and postdoctoral researcher Eric Yu.