Author: Lisa Fratt

Innovation Tank: And the winner is … AIR

Innovation Tank
Kevin Cedrone presents AIR to the judges at the Innovation Tank

“These start-ups are really looking to change the world. [They won’t be] the next Uber or Facebook. [Instead] they will really affect lives in the pediatric space,” said Troy Carter, founder and CEO of the entertainment company Atom Factory and newly named guest shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” as he introduced the Innovation Tank at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards.

Though each of the three participating innovations promised a tremendous impact on kids, the six judges agreed on the ultimate Innovation Tank winner and awarded a $30,000 investment to the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR).

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My work, my life, my innovations: Anne Hansen, MD, MPH

If these walls could talk …

The walls of Anne Hansen’s office tell a story. The main character, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital, is an innovator, a global citizen and respected neonatologist. Her life and work has benefitted newborns and parents, medical trainees and colleagues around the world.

Read more about her life, work and innovations by hovering over the objects that surround her every day.


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Q + A: Scientist on a roller coaster

FriendThe twists and turns of Stephen Friend’s career are both dizzying and thrilling. In the early days, Stephen Friend, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks, spent many a late night as a resident in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with Gary Fleischer, MD, current pediatrician-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Friend later wound up at Boston Children’s as well, where he did his pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship and later, as part of the faculty, helped co-lead the team that identified the first tumor suppressor at Boston Children’s. A few years later, Friend left academia to pursue his passion in a startup and later engineered a landing at Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit focused on patient engagement and open science in the research process. The Resilience Project, one of Sage’s research initiatives, analyzes DNA from healthy volunteers to discover rare mutations that protect resilient people from serious childhood illnesses.

In November, Friend will be on the Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards stage as a panelist on the Patient Engagement in a Big Data World panel. He sat down with Vector to share his thoughts on working outside one’s comfort zone, suspending disbelief, supporting emerging innovators and more.

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My work, my life, my innovations: Bruce Zetter, PhD

Though Bruce Zetter, PhD, Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Surgery, has had a lifelong passion for science, he once toyed with an alternate career—as an actor. But he stuck with his love for science and pursued a career in academic medicine. Countless patients, students, business partners and mentees have benefitted from that decision.

Read on to sort through a few artifacts from Zetter’s work and life, and if you want to hear more from him, make plans to attend Boston Children’s Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2015,  Nov. 9 + 10, where Zetter will be the emcee for the third year.


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Fighting crime in the health enterprise: Five tips for building academic-industry partnerships

shutterstock_224589463Bruce Zetter, PhD, wears quite a few hats: Pioneer. Partner. Teacher. Mentor. Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Surgery.

Now, he’s adding crime fighter to the list. “The biggest crime in the health enterprise is when the next cure for Parkinson’s disease, cancer or multiple sclerosis is left on the bench because the researcher completed the discovery phase and decided that was enough,” he says. “So the breakthrough never becomes a drug or test.”

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My work, my life: Gena Koufos, RN, MS, MBA

Gena Koufos, RN, MS, MBA, is program manager in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program. Her role entails designing new programs to support innovation acceleration across the institution. She offers resources and strategic guidance to cultivate and advance early stage innovators through product development and care delivery projects.

Learn more about the connection between nursing and innovation by exploring Koufos’ work and life. Click on the images and icons in the photo below to see what makes Koufos tick.

Explore the Innovation Acceleration Program at Boston Children’s.
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What we’ve been reading: Week of April 27, 2015


Crowdfunded science is here. But is it legit science? (Wired)
More and more scientists are turning to crowdfunding to pay for research. Is it the end of science as we know it or a meaningful and realistic evolution?

The world’s top 10 most innovative companies of 2015 in robotics (Fast Company)
Medical applications are well-represented in this compendium of companies working on the world of tomorrow today.

What Uber drivers can teach health care (
Doctors can learn from enterprising and fiercely independent Uber drivers.

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What we’ve been reading: Week of March 23, 2015



Single-Dose Cures for Malaria, Other Diseases (MIT Technology Review)
Pills that deliver a full course of treatment in one swallow could, or “super pills,” could simplify the treatment of diseases such as malaria and potentially produce cost savings that stretch into the $100 billion a year range, according to Bob Langer, PhD, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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What we’ve been reading: Week of February 16, 2015

Vector’s picks of recent pediatric healthcare, science and innovation news.

Hand of a Superhero: 3-D Printing Prosthetic Hands That Are Anything but Ordinary (The New York Times)
3D printers, it turns out, are an ideal solution for children who are missing fingers or hands. Prosthetics are rarely made for children; they tend to be too expensive, and children outgrow them far too quickly. Enter the 3D printer, which can create a D.I.Y. hand for as little as $20 to $50.

A Pancreas in a Capsule (MIT Technology Review)
Can stem cells solve the Type 1 diabetes puzzle? A handful of United States patients have had lab-grown pancreas cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, transplanted in a human safety trial. Tech Review documents the challenges, and potential, of turning stem cells into real, functioning pancreas cells.

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Realities of relativity nudge researcher to alternate career plan

From a series profiling researchers and innovators at Boston Children’s Hospital

He’s a big thinker focused on harnessing the hyper-small. Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, is a leading drug delivery and biomaterials researcher, leveraging nanoparticle technology and other new vehicles to make medications safer and more effective.

It’s not quite what he had in mind as a child. He dreamed of studying life forms in remote galaxies.

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But when he became aware of the constraints of relativity, he re-focused his ambitions, ultimately concentrating on innovations in drug delivery. Here’s what he told us.

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