Rains, Lam Score 2021 Golden Helix Awards

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When Georgia Bio, the state’s life sciences trade association, virtually celebrates its annual Golden Helix Awards April 1, BME Capstone Director James Rains will be there as one of the 2021 Golden Helix Award winners.

“It’s great to be recognized, but I just happen to be in a lucky position — this is a reflection of a great community that is passionate about life sciences and health care and innovation,” said Rains, professor of the practice in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. His was one of three awards that went to the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Rains won a Community Award for his work fostering more than 500 Capstone projects where BME undergraduates work with clinicians, patients, and industry leaders to address a wide range of health care challenges. The award is presented annually to a small number of individuals “whose contributions to Georgia’s life sciences community are worthy of special recognition,” according to Georgia Bio.

Georgia Tech also will be recognized with a Deal of the Year Award in the public financing category, along with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University, for receiving $18.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue their verification of Covid-19 diagnostic tests. BME Associate Professor Wilbur Lam is one of three principal investigators on the project.

Additionally, the lab of Chris Saldana, professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, will receive an Innovation Award with the Global Center for Medical Innovation for their quick development and production of personal protection equipment (PPE) face shields in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This past year has truly put a spotlight on the importance of the life sciences industry in our everyday lives,” said David Hartnett, chief economic development officer at the Metro Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Georgia Bio Awards Committee. “The coronavirus pandemic created an immediate need for our community to collaborate and foster innovation.”

This is the 23rd edition of the Golden Helix Awards, which will be presented virtually for a second straight year. Rains, who already has recorded his acceptance speech, is being honored for mentoring and coaching student entrepreneurs in the Capstone program, plus other biomedical startups.

“It’s not easy to take an idea and turn it into a product,” said Rains, who has launched a few startups of his own. One of them, Jackson Medical, makes a surgical fire safety cover called GloShield as well as PPE.

“There’s a greater barrier to market in the biomedical area, but the personal rewards are so much greater,” he added. “If I develop an app that makes it easier to find good coffee, that’s nice. But if I develop something that can improve someone’s health outcome? It doesn’t get much better than that.”


Related Links:

BME Capstone

2021 Golden Helix Awards

Georgia Bio

Georgia Tech Shares in $18.2 Million NIH Award

Georgia Tech Spearheads PPE Effort



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jerry Grillo
  • Created:03/29/2021
  • Modified By:Jerry Grillo
  • Modified:03/29/2021


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