In Two Weeks, Two Wins for FluidScreen


The accolades continue to roll in for FluidScreen, the biotech company founded by electrical engineering doctoral student Monika Weber, chemical engineering doctoral candidate Şeyla Azoz, and School of Management MBA candidate Anthony Lynn. Just one week after winning $25,000 in Yale's 2014 Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize, the team has once again earned victory—and $10,000—in the 2014 Yale Venture Challenge.

As we reported earlier, FluidScreen is also the name of the company's invention, a disposable electronic device that can detect bacteria in liquids like blood or water in less than 30 minutes. We profiled the company last week in our article on the team's other recent competition successes:

With the press of a button, the device, which is about the size of a quarter, pumps the blood or water into an integrated microfluidic system that uses an electric field to separate any present bacteria from the liquid; nanowire field effect transistors in the device are then able to sense the small concentration of bacteria. When the analysis is done, the device sends the results to a smartphone.

“So, imagine you get a sinus infection,” says Weber. “Not knowing which antibiotic could treat the disease, a patient currently ends up using three or four antibiotics to clear the infection. This leads to any number of side effects and, on a larger scale, to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. With FluidScreen, the doctor would instead take a mucous swab from the patient’s nose and put it on the device. Within half an hour, he’d know which specific antibiotic will work on this specific bacteria, making the treatment much more efficient.”

In addition to the technology, both Weber and Azoz credit their competition success to their participation in the School of Engineering’s Advanced Graduate Leadership Program (AGLP), a competitive program that provides doctoral students with experiences and training beyond the research lab. Through the program, the team received coaching from professors at the Yale School of Management, thereby preparing them for submissions.

Sponsored by the Yale Entrepeneurial Society (YES), the Yale Venture Challenge was established to encourage entrepreneurship in the Yale community and to support startups at Yale. Offering participants opportunities for qualified feedback throughout the year, the Yale Venture Challenge culminates in the YES Innovation Summit, where top competitors pitch for cash and in-kind prizes.