O’Brien’s team received NIH prize for developing device to detect postpartum hemorrhage, co-founded company to commercialize it.
Christine O’Brien, an assistant professor at Washington University’s McKelvey School of Engineering, and her team have been awarded a $20,000 prize from the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Technology for Maternal Health Challenge. This prize is part of a larger challenge that will award up to $8 million in total prizes to inventors developing home-based and point-of-care maternal health diagnostic devices, wearables or other technologies. O’Brien and her team have developed a light-based, wrist-worn device designed to detect and monitor severe postpartum bleeding. Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of preventable maternal death worldwide, and O’Brien’s device could help to reduce this statistic. The team has co-founded a startup company, Armor Medical Inc., to further develop and commercialize the device, and the university’s Office of Technology Management has applied for a patent on the technology. In July, O’Brien and her team were also recognized as Honorable Mention Awardees in the National Institutes of Health Technology Accelerator Challenge (NTAC) for Maternal Health.
Christine O’Brien’s research focuses on developing optical technologies to improve women’s health care. Her lab uses optical spectroscopy, optical imaging, and simulation techniques to tackle important challenges in maternal health, reproductive cancers, and women’s global health. With the NIH’s support, O’Brien and her team are working to develop innovative technologies that can save the lives of mothers around the world. The $20,000 prize is the first step in the challenge, and with the continued development of their device, O’Brien and her team could be awarded even more funding to help make their vision a reality.