Wearable Airborne Chemical Detection Device Nets $10,000 in BEAR Cage


John Huston, MD, presented the winning concept in the Building Education to Advance Research (BEAR) Cage competition on Monday afternoon, May 16, at the ATS 2022 International Conference.

John Huston, MD
John Huston, MD

Dr. Huston, a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Yale University, made a pitch for PREDICT — Passive Respiratory Exposure Detection: Investigating COPD Triggers to the panel of judges.

“Rather than the reactionary approach to COPD exacerbations, we’re studying triggers and exposures in patients with COPD,” Dr. Huston explained. “Our innovation is a wearable device that can detect airborne chemicals and respiratory pathogens implicated in COPD exacerbations.”

The “Shark Tank”-style live pitch session gives early-career professionals an opportunity to share their research and innovative ideas with veterans of translational science in the areas of academia, industry, and government. Contestants also field questions from the audience about their projects.

“I’m extremely humbled and grateful to be able to win,” Dr. Huston said. “It’s important work that I plan to continue for the next few years at least, and I’m just excited to be able to pitch the idea and get great feedback from the judges, and audience, too.”

He said competing in the BEAR Cage was an intense experience.

“There’s a lot of time for questions, so you really have to know your stuff. There’s a lot of research going into everything, but it was really exciting,” he said. “Being part of a community that is really creative and cutting-edge is exciting for me.”

The two runners-up — Maged Hassan Fayed, PhD, and Miho Jeong, PharmD, PhD — each receive $2,500 for their proposals.

Dr. Fayed presented Antiseptic Irrigation for Pleural Infection to Reduce Infection Burden and Enhance Drainage. He is a lecturer, Alexandria University Faculty of Medicine, Egypt. Dr. Jeong presented Molecular Diagnostics of Pulmonary Fibrosis Using Cell-Specific Extracellular Vesicle. She is a postdoctoral fellow, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

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