Wound-Pump application

Initial Wound-Pump prototype in Haiti. Photo: Danielle Zurovcik and WiCare, Inc.

Before pursuing a doctorate at MIT, Danielle Zurovcik SM ’07, PhD ’12 had never designed or developed a medical device. But her exposure in Professor Alex Slocum’s Precision Engineering Research Group (PERG) led her to develop a simplified negative pressure wound therapy device (sNPWT) that would later become known as the Wound-Pump.

“I realized that I was passionate about medical devices. I liked the Wound-Pump because we were able to put it on patients faster than a technology that was highly invasive,” she said.

A negative pressure wound therapy device (NPWT) applies a vacuum dressing to the wound to drain fluid and increase blood flow. It also stresses the cells, which causes them to divide faster and accelerates the healing process. The NPWT currently on the market requires electricity to operate whereas Zurovcik’s sNPWT is entirely mechanical.

During her D-Lab Scale-Ups fellowship, the device was applied in the field after the earthquake in Haiti and during a study in Rwanda. After witnessing its successful application, Zurovcik realized that the device could solve an immediate and critical need.

Zurovcik is the founder and CEO of WiCare (Worldwide Innovative Healthcare Inc.), a company that develops effective and inexpensive medical devices. WiCare’s goal is to make high-quality healthcare available to remote or impoverished areas of the world. The Wound-Pump is the company’s first product.

A NPWT currently on the market has been proven to quickly and effectively heal chronic wounds but the high cost and electricity requirements limit its use. Zurovcik’s Wound-Pump requires no electricity to operate and costs less than $3 to make.

While starting a company isn’t an easy task, Zurovcik draws inspiration and motivation from the many patients that the Wound-Pump has already helped.

“Whenever you’re working all hours of the night and you’re like, ‘what am I doing this for?’ You have to think of those small cases that are making you move forward,” she said.

For aspiring entrepreneurs she offers this one piece of advice:

“Be true to yourself,” she said. “Because you’re going to have to put a lot of time into it so you should put a lot of time into what you’re comfortable with and what you love.”


Mindset_of_Big_Ideas_Podcast_RectangleGood ideas never exist in a vacuum—they come from life experiences, world views, curiosity, hard work, and collective brain power. And when put to practice, the best ideas address real issues and solve real problems.

And MIT is never at a shortage of big ideas. The Institute’s mindset lends itself to digging deeper to find solutions that question the status quo. So, how are MIT alumni putting this solve-anything mentality into practice? And what are some big ideas—and solutions—that are making a tangible impact? In this Slice of MIT podcast, recorded at the 2015 South by Southwest Interactive festival, five MIT alumni discuss how they confronting real-world problems with unconventional thinking.  (Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.)

You’ll hear how a hacking ethos is leading to breakthroughs in medicine; how embracing new technologies will shape the camera of the future; how rethinking microbes could change the way we treat disease; and how crowd-sourcing is helping protect Earth from asteroids. (Read the “Mindset of Big Ideas” transcript.)

Featured MIT Alumni

Hans_PeterHans Peter Brøndmo ’87 (@brondmo)
Advisor, TrueNorth Venture Partners

Brøndmo is an executive and entrepreneur who has spent his career at the intersection of technology innovation and consumer empowerment.

Lina_ColucciLina Colucci (@lina_colucci)
Co-Director, MIT Hacking Medicine

Colucci is a PhD candidate in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program and focuses on non-invasive, portable sensors.

Priya_GargPriya Garg ’15 (@priyaisms)
Co-Director, MIT Hacking Medicine

Garg’s healthcare experience includes the MIT Biomechatronics Group, the Linda Griffith Lab, Covidien, and CAMTech.

Bernat_OlleBernat Olle SM ’05, PhD ’07, MBA ’07 (@bernatolle)
Chief Executive Officer, Vedanta Biosciences

The 2013 Innovator of the Year by MIT Technology Review Spain, Olle was awarded the 2015 Princess of Girona Award by the King of Spain.

Jenn_GusteticJenn Gustetic SM ’07 (@jenngustetic)
Assistant Director for Open Innovation, Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Gustetic career has focused on open innovation, open government, innovation, public-private partnerships, and technology policy.

Listen to podcast above or on the Alumni Association’s SoundCloud page, or read the transcript. And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and rate the podcast and leave a review. Tweet your thoughts on this episode to @mit_alumni.

This podcast was produced to coincide with HUBweek, Boston’s week-long celebration of the arts, science, and innovation; and Solve, a new MIT program that connects  creative thinkers, doers, and influencers to explore, model, and test new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.



160km to Hanoi, Vietnam (© Owen Franken)

160km to Hanoi, Vietnam (© Owen Franken)

Learn more about Owen Franken from his profile, read a What Matters opinion column he wrote called “Life in Brownian Motion,” or visit his Web site.



HUBweek is co-sponsored by MIT and includes Solve, a new interdisciplinary program at MIT.

HUBweek, which begins on October 3, is a celebration of Boston’s unique culture of real-world innovation. The week-long festival will highlight the meaningful impact of science and technology in society, so it’s no surprise that the MIT community will have a strong presence as presenters and attendees.

HUBweek, which is co-sponsored by MIT and founded by chair Linda Pizutti Henry SM ’05, will take place in locations throughout Boston and Cambridge. More than 40 MIT community members, including at least 15 MIT alumni, will be part of HUBweek’s group of “creative thinkers, doers and influencers” who will discuss their research and host events throughout the week. (View the full list.)

Registration for HUBweek is now open. MIT campus will be part of HUBweek’s Inside Kendall Square event on Thursday, Oct. 8. MIT alumni invited to visit the MIT Alumni Lounge, which will feature a free Brass Rat polishing and liquid nitrogen ice cream.

The bulk of the Institute’s HUBweek content can be found in the newly-launched Solve, an ongoing program at MIT that aims to bring together interdisciplinary collaborators to explore, model, and test new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. (Read more about Solve at MIT News.)

More than 500 people are expected to attend Solve, which is structured around four pillars—Learn, Cure, Fuel, and Make. The program features three public presentations throughout HUBweek, which require advanced registration.

  • Opening Convocation, Monday, October 5, featuring a keynote address from Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs
  • “Fuel” Pillar Roundtable, Tuesday, October 6, with Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons Ltd.
  • “Learn” Pillar Roundtable, Wednesday, October 7, with Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder, Emerson collective

View the slate of MIT Community members participating in the festivals (view a larger version) then register for HUBweek and Solve. If we missed someone, let us know in the comments below or at @mit_alumni.




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A small group of the 700 alumni who attended ALC pose with Tim the Beaver and the ALC Instagram frame.

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MIT Sloan professor Renée Richardson Gosline explains why being a good leader means being vulnerable.

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A panel discussion moderated by Chancellor for Academic Advancement W. Eric Grimson PhD ’80 and the deans from MIT’s five schools.

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The 2015 MIT Alumni Leadership Conference took place on Sept. 25-26 with a record 700 registered for the weekend’s events. Alumni attendance at ALC was up 9.6% and, in addition, 232 non-ALC participants registered for the graduate-focused Startup in America panel, and 143 watched the live webcast of the Deans Panel.

The two-day conference kicked off with Professor Marty Culpepper SM ’97, PhD ’00—MIT’s official “Maker Czar”—and his talk on maker spaces at the Institute. Culpepper addressed the question “Why does making matter?” and discussed that while MIT has more maker spaces than any other institutions in the world (130,000 square feet), the Institute needs to shift in the way these spaces are used.

Day one of ALC included a keynote panel discussion, moderated by Chancellor for Academic Advancement W. Eric Grimson PhD ’80, that featured the deans from MIT’s five schools: Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean at School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; School of Architecture and Planning Dean Hashim Sarkis; David C. Schmittlein, the John C. Head III Dean at the Sloan School of Management; School of Science Dean Michael Sipser; and School of Engineering Dean Ian Waitz.

ALCFacebook2The conversation included topics such as cross-department collaboration; what keeps the deans up at night; basic research funding; and what is needed to maintain top rankings for each school. Schmittlein stressed that MIT must “keep pursuing a distinctive path in the world.”

The Startup in America session on Friday evening, with nearly 300 in attendance, offered insight and advice to the audience from a panel of entrepreneurial alumni. Following the event, attendees joined all other ALC guests for a festive reception.

Saturday’s sessions began with a keynote conversation featuring MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart SM ’86, PhD ’88 and MIT students discussing the Mind+Hand+Heart Initiative, which aims to change the conversations and stigmas around mental health and improve access and resources. This insightful presentation was followed by an informative update from President and Chair of the Alumni Association John Chisholm ’75, SM ’76.

MIT Sloan professor Renée Richardson Gosline concluded the morning sessions with a powerful talk on her research involving the relationship between social networks and consumer brand relationships. She stressed the notion of authentic leadership, recognizing that how you think you’re leading might not be the same as how you’re perceived.

“It’s about aligning the way you want to affect those around you with the way that you do,” says Gosline. And one good way to do this, she said, is to be vulnerable, yes vulnerable, and to tell your story in a genuine way to those around you. “The stories are what inspire and allow people to connect.”

The story of MIT’s ALC weekend was rich with many other highlights this year, including sessions like Thought Leaders and Planning + (Programming x Promotion) = Participation (a session on alumni club strategy and best practices), plus the popular traveling Instagram frame, which made its way onto MITAA social media as well, along with my other posts by alumni and friends throughout the weekend using the hashtag #mitalc. Overall, attendees and staff posted 845 tweets from 155 unique twitter accounts and 111 unique alumni shared or engaged with content on Facebook.

The conference closed with Saturday evening’s Leadership Awards Celebration. 23 alumni and five groups were honored for their dedication to MIT, including Robert V. Ferrara ’67, Jonathan M. Goldstein ’83, ’84, SM ’86, Robert N. Gurnitz ’60, SM ’61, PhD ’66, and Theresa M. Stone SM ’76, who received the Bronze Beaver Award, the highest honor that the Alumni Association bestows up on its volunteers.

Listen to a Slice of MIT Podcast with this year’s recipients.



Jeannine Mosely SM ’79, EE ’80, PhD ’84

Science and art come together in compelling ways for Jeannine Mosely. A software engineer at Akamai Technologies in Cambridge, she contributed to the development of cell-phone technology as a graduate student at MIT and has made a mark as a master of origami.

When she talks about the ancient art of folded paper, which her mother introduced her to at age five, it becomes clear that it shares a creative root with programming: the ability to find inspiration in a blank page.

Mosely earned undergraduate degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by graduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. After MIT she began to work with the powerful new tools of computer-­aided design at Cambridge-based ICAD.

Mosely presented at the IgniteCraft Boston 2 event, hosted by the Common Cod Fiber Guild.

Meanwhile, she realized that business cards were an interesting shape for use in origami and began using them to build cubes. Watching her seven-year-old son Simon stack those cubes inspired her to create a stable and expandable structure: an illustration of a Menger sponge, a mathematical fractal formed by endlessly dividing each face of a cube into nine squares and removing the resulting smaller cube in the middle of each face and the center of the original cube.


Mosely stays connected to MIT through the campus group OrigaMIT.

A level-one Menger sponge is made of 20 cubes. Level two encompasses 20 times 20 cubes, and so on. Mosely completed a level-three sponge with 66,000 business cards over the course of 11 years, with help from about 200 volunteers.

“We had to get all new business cards after ICAD moved to Burlington, so I was able to get my hands on thousands of unneeded cards,” she says with a laugh.

Her creation inspired a successful effort to create a level-four mega–Menger sponge last year, involving 20 sites worldwide.



Juliana Chang PhD ’10

During her MIT years, ­Juliana Chan PhD ’10 could often be found at a lab bench, researching nanoparticle drug delivery technologies, or blogging on her laptop, reporting news about the Asian scientific community.

Today, back in her native Singapore, Chan has scaled up both activities to impressive levels. A fellowship at the city-state’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research led her to an assistant professorship and a $750,000 startup grant to open her own multidisciplinary lab at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.

And her blog, with an investment from a major scientific publishing company, has evolved into Asian Scientist magazine. The glossy quarterly journal offers in-depth coverage of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, materials science, and other disciplines, with Chan as editor in chief.

“I’ve always liked writing and been a fangirl of magazines like MIT Technology Review and Scientific American,” says Chan, who earned her BA and MA in natural sciences at the University of Cambridge. “I noticed that no one was writing about great Asian scientists, even though there’s so much hunger for knowledge in Asian countries. I have no journalism training, so it’s crazy that I have a magazine, but it really makes me happy.”

Meanwhile, Chan’s six-person research team is pursuing the use of nanoparticles to treat cardiovascular and skin diseases—work inspired by her PhD studies in the biotech-materials lab of Institute Professor Robert Langer, ScD ’74, and her postdoc work in biological engineering with Professor Roger Kamm, SM ’73, PhD ’77.

The dermatological work is especially important in Asia, she notes, “because conditions like eczema and psoriasis are very common and the current standard of care is steroid creams, which can thin the skin.” Nanoparticles could deliver greatly reduced dosages directly to inflamed tissue, leading to better results with lower risk.

Chan met her husband, Chester Drum, at the Langer Lab, where he was a postdoc; he’s now a cardiology consultant and assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. Chan says that since the 2013 birth of their daughter, Heather, “we have no leisure time, but I don’t care because I love playing with her so much.”

This article originally appeared in the September/October issue of MIT Technology Review magazine.


Joe Lemay MBA ’06 isn’t afraid of technology. As a computer programmer, engineer, and most recently a marketer, Lemay has often had to be on the cutting edge of tech. But when it comes to keeping notes or sharing ideas, Lemay prefers a low-tech approach.

“In a variety of roles, I struggled with the reality that I always wanted and needed my notes digitized and stored. But no matter how hard I tried, there was never anything like pen and paper,” Lemay says.


From notebook, to app, to cloud. Photo: Rocketbook

This challenge to easily digitize handwritten notes inspired Lemay to create Rocketbook, an app and notebook system that lets users upload handwritten notes and sketches to cloud services with no transcribing required.

The Rocketbook app works in conjunction with the Rocketbook notebook, which looks a lot like a regular notebook. The notebook allows you to jot down your notes and then color in a  box at the bottom of each page that corresponds to the cloud service of your choice. The mobile app then turns your notes and drawings into high-quality images and loads them directly to the cloud.

Although individual Rocketbook note pages can be printed from the Rocketbook website, users may want to spring for the full Rocketbook notebook. Why? Pop it in the microwave and find out. Rocketbook notebooks are designed to be reused. With the help of an erasable pen, the notebooks can be microwaved and used again.


Rocketbook notebooks look similar to traditional notebooks. Photo: Rocketbook

“Essentially the eraser from these pens creates heat from the friction. The pen ink turns clear when it reaches the high temperature created by that friction,” he explains. Lemay discovered that the level of heat needed to turn the pen ink clear can be achieved in the microwave. So when you fill up your Rocketbook notebook, pop it in the microwave and start over new.

Despite the inherent fun of Rocketbook, Lemay wasn’t sure if customers would be interested in the product and unsure whether to pursue funding from investors.  “We let the market dictate whether we should pursue this idea,” he says. Lemay let the market decide by sharing the idea for Rocketbook in an Indiegogo fundraising campaign. The market responded by funding Rocketbook 3,563 percent of the original $20,000 fundraising goal.

Lemay credits part of his success to the help of the Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), which Lemay has worked with since the early days of Rocketbook. Lemay says he has many ideas for the future of Rocketbook, but right now he’s working on getting the hundreds of preordered Rocketbooks in the mail to awaiting customers.


A low tide, Kennebunk, Maine (© Rowland Williams).

A low tide, Kennebunk, Maine (© Rowland Williams).

Rowland Williams ’72 is a photographer living in Amesbury, MA. View more photos on his website. View more alumni via the Photo of the Week category


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The MIT Facilities Office removed the clock shortly before 11:00 a.m.

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In less than two weeks, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed went from an anonymous Texas high school student to cultural phenomenon.

On September 14, Mohamed was arrested by police who mistook the ninth grader’s self-made electronic clock for a homemade bomb. Within days, the story was viral, buoyed by support from President Barack Obama, who invited Mohamed to the White House; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who extended an invite to Facebook headquarters; and members of the MIT community, including MIT President L. Rafael Reif.  (Mohamed responded, via Twitter, that MIT was his “dream school.”)

On campus, the MIT community lent their support in the most MIT way possible: a hack. In the early morning of September 18, hackers created their own homemade electronic clock and placed it in Lobby 7, directly above the entrance to the Infinite Corridor.  The clock was accompanied by a banner reading “#ISTANDWITHAHMED,” the ubiquitous hashtag that has accompanied Mohamed’s story.

The hack was removed by late morning but Jose Gomez-Marquez, a designer in the Little Devices @ MIT lab, was able to document the hack and shared his photos with Slice of MIT.

Call it a prank with purpose.

All images via Jose Gomez-Marquez.