Biomed grad student Zaballa honored at design competition

Zaballa, VincentVincent Zaballa, graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has earned top honors at a medical device design competition that evaluated the commercial potential of medical device projects.

“The Design of Medical Devices Three-in-Five Competition,” hosted by the University of Minnesota, enabled researchers to get feedback about their projects from leaders in medical technology research, engineering and development. Participants were required to present their research in the form of a five-minute pitch to a panel of leading medical technology innovators. Winners of the competition were selected based on the quality of their problem statement, the technical soundness of their solution, overall presentation quality and fundability of their research. 

Zaballa was recognized for a novel tissue treatment approach that involves applying biocompatible glues to damaged tissues in order to treat chronic wounds, ulcers, diffuse bleeding as well as surgically seal organs and vessel tissue. Working with Covidien, Zaballa has developed a low-cost nanofiber mesh that can be applied to damaged tissue to more effectively promote healing. 

Zaballa, a Dallas native, works in the laboratory of Duncan Maitland, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and TEES assistant agency director for commercialization and entrepreneurship. 

Earlier this year, Zaballa was recognized with the Whitaker International Fellowship and will have the opportunity to study at Queen Mary University of London and at Imperial College this summer. The Whitaker International Program sends emerging leaders in U.S. biomedical engineering overseas to undertake a self-designed project that will enhance their careers within the field.  

“Vincent is in the accelerated Master of Engineering program and has worked in the Biomedical Device Laboratory for the last two years,” Maitland said. “It is clear that he has found his calling in commercializing medical devices; I expect to see Vincent in a successful CTO role in a startup in the next 10 years.”

As an award recipient, Zaballa earned a cash prize and was encouraged to expand his research paper for expedited review and publication in the ASME Journal of Medical Devices.