Fast-Tracking Founders Program: Provisional patent applications for capstone teams

UC Berkeley students, faculty, researchers, and other innovators have access to a deep, interconnected ecosystem of resources for educating entrepreneurs, commercializing research, and advancing startups.

Learn more about UC Berkeley’s entrepreneurship ecosystem:

Many of these innovators and entrepreneurs are born out of the UC Berkeley Master of Engineering (MEng) program.

In Spring 2021, a number of campus stakeholders came together to further promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and launched a competition for the most patentable capstone idea (recently renamed to FastTracking Founders Program). The winners of the competition would receive financial and organizational support to file a provisional patent.

“Over the last 10 years of the MEng program, there have been a variety of extremely entrepreneurial projects, and we thought it was a pity that they weren’t taken to the next level in terms of being possibly spun off into companies. So over the years we’ve been toying with exactly how to do this. And approximately two years ago we got to the point where we were able to assemble all of the moving parts on campus to allow this to occur,” shared Tarek Zohdi, Associate Dean of Post Baccalaureate Programs in the UC Berkeley College of Engineering.

The College of Engineering drew on the support and expertise of UC Berkeley Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, Rich Lyons, the Senior Licensing Officer at Berkeley IPIRA, Laleh Shayesteh and the Director of Experiential Learning, Alex Beliaev, to make it happen, and launched the FastTracking Founders Pilot in Spring 2021.

Three Berkeley MEng capstone projects won the Spring 2021 competition and were recently granted provisional patents for their innovations.

A summary of each project and how to find out more about their work moving forward is below.

MEDiRoller: Revolutionizing Low-Cost Vaccine and Drug Delivery in Low-Resource Communities

Illustration by Ella Rochelle-Lawton

MEng Student Lead: Diego Espinoza [BioE]
Advisors: Phillip B. Messersmith [BioE/MSE], Katerina Malollari [ME], and Kelsey DeFrates [BioE]

MEDiRoller revolutionizes vaccine and drug delivery through the elimination of trained medical personnel requirements, reduction of blood-borne disease transmission, and preservation of patient comfort during immunizations. MEDiRoller creates small passages over large regions of skin to allow for drug transport without trained medical professionals and mitigates sharp exposure.

For updates on this projects’ developments, connect with Diego Espinoza.

Water Purification Using Non-Thermal Atmospheric Plasma

Illustration by Ella Rochelle-Lawton

MEng Student Leads: Justin Gonzalez [NE], Nebeyu Yonas [NE]
Advisor: Ed Morse [NE]

Clean water scarcity has been an issue mainly among third-world countries and even in the US because of pipes that have been corroded over the past few decades. This project endeavors to deliver an advanced purification system that is affordable for the average household.

Applying high voltage and ionizing atmospheric gas in water can eliminate the toughest of hazardous organic and inorganic compounds: such as lead, PFAs and pathogens that bypass traditional treatment processes.

Enhancing Minimally Invasive External Stimulation to Alleviate Osteoarthritis

Image provided by Ricardo Juarez Martinez

MEng Student Lead: Ricardo Juarez Martinez [BioE]
Advisors: Syed Hossainy [BioE] and Dorian Liepmann [BioE]

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects millions of people and is the leading cause for disability in the US. The current standard of care is reactive and invasive. This team is paving the way for a regenerative approach that can roll back the progression of OA by combining an injectable electro-active polymer with an external electromagnetic field.

For updates on this projects’ developments, connect with Ricardo.



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