Capstone Champs Score in National Challenge

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The hits keep coming for OculoStaple, a medical device company that began as a capstone design project at the Georgia Institute of Technology, based in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).

Comprised of three recent BME graduates – former Petit Undergraduate Research Scholar, Mohamad Ali Najia, with Jackie Borinski and Drew Padilla – OculoStaple took second place in the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) DEBUT Challenge. The contest is open to teams of undergraduate students from across the country who are working on innovative solutions to unmet health and clinical problems.

The OculoStaple is a novel surgical clamp designed to replace current surgical techniques to treat ptosis (drooping eyelids). The clamp features custom designed bioabsorbable staples and is driven by a standard surgical scalpel. The surgeon is able to quickly and safely resect the muscle that raises the eyelid while simultaneously sealing the incision with the absorbable staples, transforming ptosis repair surgery into a rapid, office-based procedure, improving cosmetic outcomes while establishing a safer surgical paradigm. This could potentially reduce operating time by 73 percent with an estimated cost savings of $4,000 to $6,000 per procedure.

With its second-place finish in this national contest, the OculoStaple team earns $15,000 and will be honored at the Biomedical Engineering Society Conference in Tampa, Florida, on October 9.

It’s just the latest success in a rapid string of honors for OculoStaple. The team won Georgia Tech’s campus-wide Capstone Design competition in December, took second place in Tech’s InVenture Prize competition, and was awarded an early-stage medical device grant from the Atlanta Clinical Translational Science Institute (ACTSI).

The nascent company’s co-founders have all moved on in their different careers, but remain committed to the continuing development and growth of OculoStaple.

Najia, OculoStaple’s CEO and a December 2014 BME graduate, is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Borinski, the team’s vice president for quality and reliability, also graduated in December 2014 from the Coulter Department (a joint endeavor of Emory University and Georgia Tech), and is now working with Bard Medical. Padilla, a 2015 BME graduate, now working with the Barry-Wehmiller Design Group, is OculoStape’s VP of manufacturing.

NIBIB, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a mission to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies.



Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience


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