Innovations and Developing Technologies

Innovations and Developing Technologies

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Becky Selle, BS

Becky Selle is a Global Health Fellow at Rice 360˚: Institute for Global Health. She is developing BreathAlert, a monitor and correction device for apnea of prematurity in low-resource settings. Becky earned a BS in Bioengineering from the University of Maryland- College Park where she focused on enabling people through technology, education, adventure activities, and social connections. Her past projects include: a gamified stroke rehabilitation system using sensory substitution, neural feedback, and a social network to enhance recovery and quality of life; a surgical lamp for low-resource settings; and a contactless, gesture-based control system for a master-slave robot. While pursuing her passion for global health, Becky has worked in hospitals and emergency medicine throughout the US, Central and South America, and Africa. She also worked in outdoor adventure and adaptive sports.

Mary Kate Hardy, BS

Mary Kate Hardy is a Global Health Fellow at Rice 360: Institute for Global Health. She leads the development of a low cost infant incubator previously designed by Rice students. She studied Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, where she also planned and led service trips for students. Hardy also collaborated with local technicians to repair medical equipment and develop maintenance procedures in a variety of settings throughout Central America and the United States.


Erica Skerrett, BS

Erica Skerrett is a Global Health Fellow at the Rice 360˚: Institute for Global Health. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Bioengineering from Rice University in 2015, where she worked with Rice 360 on designing medical technologies for low-resource settings. Her past projects include the early design and development of an entirely mechanical IV volume regulator as well as a reflectance-based, neonatal pulse oximeter. Currently, Skerrett is developing a low-powered syringe pump and validating its performance on pre-eclamptic women in a central hospital in Malawi.

Improving lives through technology innovation at Rice 360°

There is a desperate need for medical technology designed specifically for use in developing countries—99% of all infant and maternal deaths occur in these settings. Often, the life-saving medical devices used in developed countries are unfit for low-resource settings, making donations ineffective. Rice 360˚: Institute for Global Health is working to diminish dispairities in health outcomes through the development of setting-appropriate medical technology. Through their undergraduate design program, interdisciplinary student teams work under the mentorship of clinicians in the developing world and Rice University faculty to innovate and implement appropriate technologies that solve real healthcare challenges. Full-time staff further develop these technologies and run clinical studies domestically and internationally, and industry partners commercially manufacture and distribute successful technologies. Throughout the design and implementation process, Rice 360 collaborates with local ministries of health to ensure that the end product is appropriate, robust, and impactful.

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 Eric Richardson, PhD

Eric Richardson joined Rice University’s Department of Bioengineering in 2013 to teach undergraduate and graduate medical technology design. In collaboration with his colleagues, he has developed and launched the Global Medical Innovation Program (, a Masters Track specifically focused on preparing engineers for leadership in emerging-market product development. Prior to joining Rice in 2013, he was a senior and principal R&D engineer at Medtronic Heart Valves and member of the company’s Leadership Development Program. There he worked on CoreValve, one of the world’s first transcatheter aortic valves. He also led a project team of engineers, scientists and technicians to develop a next-generation heart valve, the CoreValve Evolut R, which just received FDA approval in 2015. Dr. Richardson holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, where he trained in the Visible Heart Laboratory ( in the Department of Surgery.

Designing Medical Technologies for (and with) Emerging Markets

The medical technology industry is experiencing rapid globalization, with most of its future growth projected to originate from emerging markets. In addition, the current US healthcare reform is driving healthcare system dynamics that are unprecedented. This has led to major industry trends that include innovating to lower healthcare costs, showing cost-effectiveness and economic value of new technologies, and designing products for resource-limited settings within the US and abroad. Models of successful global product development are evolving to address these trends, moving from “de-featuring” expensive medical devices to partnering with local engineers to design country-specific products. Academia is in a unique position to integrate clinical, business, and engineering expertise in order to catalyze this new movement in medical technology. Rice University has a rich history of designing medical technology for low-resource environments, and continues to pilot new models of emerging market product development. Our experience, including successes, failures, and lessons learned, will be shared.

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 Haiyang Li, PhD

Dr. Haiyang Li is Professor of Strategic Management and Innovation at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University. He earned a Bachelor and a Master in economics from Renmin University of China and received a Ph.D. from City University of Hong Kong. Before joining Rice University, he was on the faculty of Department of Management at Texas A&M University. Dr. Li’s research interests focus on technology entrepreneurship and innovation (particularly in China’s transition economy), strategic alliances and multinational firms’ innovation in emerging markets, as well as the growth of China’s technology clusters. His articles on the above issues have appeared in Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Marketing, Organization Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Management and Organization Review, Journal of High Technology Management Research, Journal of International Marketing, and others.Medal.

How do multinationals innovate to address the healthcare needs in emerging markets?

Based on a case study of GE’s innovation centers in Shanghai and Chengdu, I will focus on how multinationals can address the healthcare needs in the bottom of the pyramid through innovation.

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Tomasz Tkaczyk, PhD

 Tomasz Tkaczyk is an Associate Professor at Rice University in both Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. He specializes in the development of modern optical instruments that combine advanced technologies in optics, opto-mechanics, electronics and software, and bio-chemical materials for the early detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer.
Tkaczyk’s basic, applied, and translational research is leading to the development of new imaging technologies that are compact, robust, portable, inexpensive, and adaptable to mass production. The compact optical imaging systems are ideal for point-of-care diagnostics in various clinical settings around the world.

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