2015 Global WACh – Coulter Foundation Seed Grant Awarded

The Coulter Project and Global WACh teamed up again to offer a seed grant award.  The Bioengineering Solutions Seed Grant supports collaborative translational research in biomedical engineering addressing the clinical needs of women, adolescents, and children.

This year we received a fantastic pool of innovative applications and ultimately awarded funds to Drs. Wendy Thomas (UW Bioengineering) and Anthony Roche (Anesthesiology). Their project titled An Affordable, Portable Drawover Vaporizer  was selected for funding by a team of expert reviewers and we couldn’t be more excited!


Wendy Thomas, PhD

The project aims to develop an affordable and easily portable anesthetic delivery device to help in low resource settings, particularly in Uganda. Most anesthetic delivery devices are bulky, difficult to transport, not sufficiently durable, expensive, or can’t function without reliable power sources making them an unrealistic solution in low resource settings.

PI Wendy Thomas says she volunteered to help with Bioengineers Without Borders (BWB) when they asked her to suggest a bioengineering co-advisor for the project.



They are hard-working, passionate about learning and helping people, and very capable. I want to particularly compliment David Peeler and Eric Swanson, the graduate BWB team members who put the most work into writing this proposal.

anthony roche

Anthony Roche, MBChB, FRCA, MMed


This project is hoping to use a simplified design that requires no additional power source other than the patient’s breathing to draw anesthetic from the device.

PI Anthony Roche also expressed his thanks to Global WACh and The Coulter Foundation for the support of the project.



I am constantly inspired by the vision and passion of our team, as well as their dedication and tireless effort to improve healthcare in low resource settings.

The funding process served as a great catalyst for their team.  They have been working hard for months solidifying design constraints, identifying key engineering questions, and collaborating with experts at PATH. “All of this was done before the award was even made!” Dr. Roche says.

A few of the Bioengineers Without Borders team

A few of the Bioengineers Without Borders team

Eric Swanson, a 3rd year Bioengineering PhD student and team leader for BWB’s Anesthesia Device Team says the team is comprised entirely of undergraduate and graduate students.

My hope is that this funding will not only enable us to take steps towards developing a device that could have a significant impact on an important global health problem, but that it will also increase awareness of the Bioengineers Without Borders student group and promote future funding and collaboration opportunities for our other projects.

Congratulations are in order for this dynamic team! Global WACh is proud to support such innovative work and can’t wait to share the results with you.

Global WACh & Coulter Foundation 2014 Pilot Award

We are pleased to announce that the Global WACh/W.H. Coulter Foundation Seed Grant for 2014 has just been awarded to Drs. James Lai, Barry Lutz, and David Horne for their excellent proposal focused on point-of-care tuberculosis testing. The doctors were first approached with the idea by two students attending  Global WACh’s  course on Bioengineering Solutions to Improve the Health of Women, Adolescents and Children (WINTER | GH590). Nuttada Panpradist (Bio Engineering) and Diana Marangu (Global Health) were very excited, and had this to say about their involvement:

We are delighted to be the part of the team that has received the 2014 Coulter Seed Grant Award. Who could imagine that this all started from participating in the Bioengineering-Global WACh Seminar? We both have been very passionate about tackling the diagnostic dilemma in tuberculosis and were fortunately paired together to develop a solution to one of the many challenges in Global Health. Our mentors were very supportive and drove us to think critically about this challenge when we shared our idea with them. This experience has been a wonderful learning opportunity, from the process of grant writing and now seeing this idea being potentially translated into reality. The world needs a low-cost, accurate diagnostic tool for active TB that uses a non-invasive sample like urine. Hopefully, this technology can be truly implemented at all levels of healthcare and benefit patients with TB who need it the most.

Tuberculosis affects 9 million people with 1.7 million dying every year. Because most TB testing requires 6-8 weeks and a culture of sputum, it’s been difficult to implement methods of detection in limited resource settings. Many of the methods currently in use are not widely available, and delays in diagnosis can mean easier transmission of the disease.  Being able to diagnose the disease using efficient, same day methods that use urine samples instead of sputum would be a great step in the right direction. That’s what Drs. Lai, Lutz, and Horne hope to do, so please join us in congratulating these great researchers and students who are helping to improve the health of women, children, and adolescents everywhere!