Dual Injection Syringe for Ultrasound-Guided Musculoskeletal Injections; The Triple Helix Model of Innovation and its Impact on Academic Entrepreneurship

Morris, Jacob, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Kent, Jeremy, MD-FMED Family Medicine, University of Virginia

Ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections are a common procedure administered in both family medicine and sports medicine. However, this process is arduous for both the physician administering them and the patients receiving them. These procedures are plagued by inefficiency and discomfort experienced by both parties involved. These shortcomings call for a device that can alleviate these pain points and advance both fields. The Triple Helix Model of Innovation portrays the interrelatedness of academia, the government, and the economy and how they work together to market academic innovation. The Triple Helix is a framework that can be utilized to reveal the frequency and fashion of academic entrepreneurship within a university setting. Through academic entrepreneurship, technologies and innovations can be produced to aid procedures like ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections and further schools of thought. For my capstone project, my team and I were tasked with creating a double-barreled syringe to improve the administration of ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections. We were aiming to create a device that would enable one hand injections, to aspirate different media into each barrel, and to inject different media out of each barrel, all without mixing. Furthermore, we intended to let physicians in the field try our device, and to obtain a provisional patent for our device. My STS thesis examined the Triple Helix Model of Innovation and the role it played on encouraging or discouraging academic innovation to be commercialized. In particular, academic entrepreneurship outside the US was investigated, an interview with an academic entrepreneur was conducted, and the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute was inspected. These case studies were chosen to shed light on how other countries approach academic entrepreneurship, to gain valuable insight on the thoughts and feelings of an innovator inside academia, and to give an example of a successful entity that turns academic knowledge into transferable goods. All of this was done in hopes of comparing what other entities did well to apply to the current system in the U.S. Ultimately, my capstone team and I got stuck in a loop of prototyping our double-barreled syringe device. Because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to meet and 3D print as much as we had hoped for, and as a result we didn’t arrive at a final device. Without a device, we weren’t able to test our device with physicians, nor were we able to obtain a provisional patent. If one were to continue my STS research, I would suggest conducting interviews and research with key stakeholders within the university setting (professors, researchers, deans, etc.). My research suggests encouragement from academia and the actors inside it is one of the most crucial factors to catalyze the production of academia-based innovation. I would like to thank Dr. Ferguson, Dr. Allen, Dr. Barker, and the capstone TAs for their guidance, patience, and encouragement. I would also like to thank my capstone team for the work they put in over the last year, I had a blast. Finally, I would like to thank my family for the constant love and support over my four years at THE University of Virginia.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Ultrasound-guided, Musculoskeletal injections, Triple Helix Model of Innovation, Academic Entrepreneurship

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Jeremy Kent
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson
Technical Team Members: Nir Diskin, Trent Levy, Nathanael Zegarski

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