PhD candidate Mustafa Unal named finalist for CIMIT Technology Prize

Mustafa Unal in lab

The Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) has selected PhD candidate Mustafa Unal as one of 10 finalists for the 2016 CIMIT Prize in Primary HealthCare, a national and highly selective competition aimed to stimulate and sponsor the development of truly innovative technology to support the efforts of primary-care practitioners serving the most significant needs of their patients. In this national competition, highly innovative projects of outstanding engineering students in top U.S. universities compete for three top prizes: $150,000, $100,000, or $50,000.

Selected by a distinguished panel of technologists and primary-care clinicians, Unal has received $10,000 in initial funding for research expenses and to prepare for the final round in August, in which he will compete for one of the three top prizes.

The objective of his project is to develop a reliable automated point of care Raman device as a low-cost platform for precise and automated diagnosis of crystal induced arthropathies.

Gout and pseudogout are the two most common arthropathies that affect 8 million individuals in the United States alone. Conclusive diagnosis currently requires observation of synovial aspirates by polarized light microscopy by an extensively trained rheumatologist or certified pathologist who is available only in major healthcare centers. However, the majority of gout cases are managed at primary care or acute care settings that lack expert microscopists.

The new technology, which has been developed over the past few years in the lab of Ozan Akkus, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will enable diagnosis of gout and pseudogout at primary care or acute care settings. This new device will provide a precise, user-friendly, expert independent and more informed decision about the presence or absence of crystalline arthritis, which is essential for timely inception of therapy or help avoid unnecessary treatments.

Learn more about the competition.