Us­ing 3D print­ers in the med­i­cal field

Jody Mou’s work in bi­ol­ogy and en­gi­neer­ing has led to mul­ti­ple new prod­uct de­signs

Midtown Post - - Currents - By Darcy Stre­it­en­feld

Toronto-born wun­derkind Jody Mou has al­ready ac­com­plished more for the bet­ter­ment of the planet be­fore the age of 20 than most of us could ever hope to. Dur­ing her time at Univer­sity of Toronto Schools, she claims to have “tried a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing” but ul­ti­mately found that sci­en­tific re­search sparked a keen in­ter­est for her.

In ad­di­tion to her ac­com­plish­ments in sci­ence, she ran track at the city and pro­vin­cial level un­til Grade 10 and did a fair bit of vis­ual art co-edit­ing her year­book.

“The great­est thing about UTS is that ev­ery­one has a tal­ent, and you find things that fit what you like and put all your en­ergy into it,” she says.

How­ever, sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing is where Mou truly shines. She worked with the Foun­da­tion for Stu­dent Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing, with a quar­terly peer-re­viewed re­search jour­nal, to high school stu­dents.

“I was in a few labs at the Univer­sity of Toronto,” she says. “At the McGuigan Lab at IBBME, we were work­ing with a bio printer to find a method for print­ing 3D tu­mour mod­els.”

That year, af­ter work­ing through Grade 12 and into the sum­mer, Mou pre­sented her work at a sci­ence fair and went on to the Sanofi-Bio­ge­nius Com­pe­ti­tion fi­nals in Ot­tawa, where the ris­ing sci­ence star placed third and took home the award for the en­try with the most com­mer­cial po­ten­tial.

“I met a lot of peo­ple I’m still friends with to­day,” she says of the com­pe­ti­tion.

While still in high school, Mou also fig­ured out a way to 3D print med­i­cal tools. Work­ing with 3D4MD, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that makes lower-cost 3D print­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian solutions for peo­ple world­wide, Mou and her peers did sev­eral de­signs for med­i­cal di­ag­nos­tic tools that would be over 20 times cheaper than ex­ist­ing tools.

“We printed hun­dreds and tested them out with doc­tors, and we want to move to­ward FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion] ap­proval,” she says. “Maybe one day our de­signs will be some­thing doc­tors ev­ery­where can use.”

And even though Mou is truly an ex­cep­tional stu­dent, she re­mains mod­est to a fault.

“Bi­ol­ogy and en­gi­neer­ing just hap­pened to be the two things I did in high school. I was also in­ter­ested in vis­ual arts, so it made sense,” she says. “I love how what I’m study­ing is re­ally a way to use cre­ativ­ity and en­gi­neer­ing skills to solve re­al­world prob­lems.”

Now Mou has a cov­eted spot at John Hop­kins Univer­sity in Bal­ti­more, Md., fo­cus­ing on re­gen­er­a­tive im­mune en­gi­neer­ing.

“I’m cur­rently work­ing in a lab that re­searches re­gen­er­a­tive medicine,” she ex­plains. “I’m mostly just learn­ing and ob­serv­ing now at the Elis­se­eff Lab, but we’re work­ing on an im­munomod­u­la­tory bio­ma­te­rial that helps wounds heal faster.”

Mou is also the head of prod­uct devel­op­ment on her neu­ro­surgery team, Cor­titech. In 2017, the team de­vel­oped a less in­va­sive brain re­trac­tor for tu­mour re­moval in neu­ro­surgery.

“Cor­titech has raised over $30,000 in fund­ing for our neu­ro­sur­gi­cal brain re­trac­tor, and we are plan­ning to sub­mit a patent for our prod­uct, the Radiex,” says Mou. “We had no idea we would raise so much money or get where we were with our med­i­cal de­signs. I go in want­ing to learn and then put all my time and en­ergy into things.”

And al­though Mou says it’s not about go­ing in and try­ing to change the world, it’s ex­ceed­ingly pos­si­ble that she may do just that.

Mou and her team raised $30,000 in fund­ing for their brain re­trac­tor

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