The Battelle Innovation Gathering (BIG) is a 10-week program that gives employees the opportunity to develop their ideas into Battelle’s next great innovation.
Our researchers and scientists spend their days working on ground-breaking innovations for clients, but often that work leads to other ideas. We needed a way to encourage employees to bring those ideas forward and learn something about the innovation process along the way.
BIG wraps up with participants presenting their ideas to employees and our senior leadership selecting the concepts that have the most potential to move forward.
Smart Coatings to Improve Hip Replacements
Battelle Researcher Julio Zelaya received first-place in the 2018 BIG competition. He came up with an idea on how to improve hip replacement technology.
Total hip replacements are quite common across the U.S. And unfortunately, the number of infections that occur after a replacement are becoming more and more common.
Traditionally, there haven’t been preventative measures that can ensure an infection-free procedure.
“The innovations I’ve seen in the market currently are about treating and not about preventing an infection,” said Julio.
But he has an idea to help change that. He’d like to integrate a “smart coating” on the replacement hip. This nanocapsule would be designed to respond to the presence of bacteria and could help drive down infection rates.
We think he might be on to something.
Innovative Strategies for Sorting High-Value Cell Populations
Research Scientist Jake Lilly came in second in the 2018 BIG competition. His idea focuses on a new way to sort cells.
Cells in the body exist as heterogenous mixtures. They are separated into like groups (size, shape, etc.) for the purposes of personalized medicine. That’s where you redirect a patient’s own cells to treat a specific disease.
There are several current methods of cell sorting – fluorescent sorting and magnetic sorting, for example. But each of these have their own challenges.
“There is a strong need for a scalable, biofriendly strategy for cell sorting,” said Jake.
His idea is to use protein-gas nanoparticles for buoyancy activated cell particles – specifically for protein-based sorting.
“It would be rapid, simple and scalable,” said Jake.
The idea is still in its early stages, but we have confidence he will make some great progress in the near future.