Student research

Innovation spawns entrepreneurial venture

Every year, reused and infected hypodermic needles cause 1.3 million deaths. Two 2016 WSU bioengineering graduates developed a cost-effective solution.

Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein designed a sterilizing cap that fits over the opening of a vaccine vial, decontaminating needles to help save lives. Both young women are researchers at heart, but dove into the world of business to turn their discoveries into a technology for commercialization. With help from entrepreneurship experts at WSU, Willard and Brandenstein developed a prototype of their product and launched a company.

The duo won the WSU Business Plan competition and the University of Washington’s first Health Innovation Challenge. Willard and Brandenstein are now working to bring their product to market. In 2017 they will visit medical clinics in Tanzania.

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