Health and Society
The project took the form of a product-centered interactive fellowship which comprised theoretical lectures and practical prototyping sessions to create tangible medical products. The fellowship took place over 5 days from 17 - 21 November 2018 at the American University in Cairo (AUC), with the participation of 43 participants from various disciplines. Speakers came from Germany, UK and Egypt, and attendees were researchers in the medical, pharmaceutical and biomedical engineering fields who wanted to pursue a research career in translational research. The workshop provided the participants with the basic information necessary to understand the process of product design and development, and translating basic science research discoveries into clinical applications. Utilizing interactive lectures, case studies and prototype designing approaches, participants were engaged in the scientific research and development process and understood all of its aspects in an interdisciplinary teaching environment.
A Dynamic Activity on Design and Prototyping
Experienced scientists from Germany and Egypt as well as certified trainers on design thinking, Jan von der Heyde and Theresa Weinstein from Protellus, provided hands-on training to the participants on how to translate their ideas into tangible medical products. The prototype designing workshop was serving the purpose of introducing the participants of the fellowship program to the 'Design Thinking' methodology in order to provide them with concrete tools for their future translational research career. During the workshop the participants were divided into 4 teams;, each team was assigned to one of four medical conditions: Diabetes mellitus, depression, multiple sclerosis and stroke. The diseases were selected based on their prevalence in the MENA region and their suitability for a prototype designing workshop while ensuring a great variety in the possible solutions. The didactic concept enabled the participants to create tangible concepts for products and services, ranging from prototypes for diagnostic tests, medicinal drugs, assistive and rehabilitative technology, to digital apps/websites, and wearables. The desirable outcomes aimed at the support of the diagnosis or treatment of the assigned diseases and the increase in the quality of healthcare for the end user in a specific situation.
The resulting prototypes generated ideas for accessories, mobile applications, and equipment that address conditions of Diabetes type I and II, depression, stroke and multiple sclerosis (a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves). These suggested solutions had in common to monitor the status of the patient and then communicate either with the patient (in case of depression) or with the closest hospital in emergencies (in the case of the other three diseases).
Moreover, further topics were covered in the training, including good scientific practice and scientific research integrity; good laboratory practice in non-clinical studies; good manufacturing and clinical practices in clinical studies; highly effective communication for collaboration within interdisciplinary teams; and regulatory as well as business considerations in drug development.
DATE and Venue of the project
17 - 21 November 2018
American University in Cairo (AUC)
Pictures by Jan von der Heyde / Protellus