Mira-Mini | Neurava: Innovation of the Year
Gerry Dick: Well, the innovation of the year this year comes from a company Neurava, startup out of Purdue University, and pleased to be joined by Steve Abel, who is the Associate Provost for Engagement at Purdue. Steve, you accepted the award on behalf of Neurava. Interesting company, and we'll talk about that Purdue connection in a minute. But this is a medical device startup that focuses on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy or SUDEP. Can you give us kind of a thumbnail description of the company and the device?
Steve Abel: Well, the company was started by a couple of graduate students from Purdue, under the direction of a faculty member in electrical and computer engineering. The device itself helps individuals who are caregivers for patients with epilepsy, understand when there may be an acute episode pending and it alerts those individuals to the possibility of that acute episode and enables them to respond in a way that previously didn't exist.
Gerry Dick: This seems to me like a great example of the innovation, entrepreneurship, all those kinds of things coming out of Purdue. As you look at this company in particular, and how it represents that in innovation, talk a little bit about that.
Steve Abel: Well, innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization has been a signature of Purdue for a really long time, and we've received national accolades for, especially our history, which spans over a decade, in terms of commercialization of important things. The other thing I might say is that impact, societal impact is really important to us, and what better way to show impact than to have a device like this, which previously was unavailable for individuals who could have a sudden acute event and not know it, and that event might be terminal.
Gerry Dick: Do you sense there is, as you say, Purdue's been doing this kind of thing for a long time, but there's more momentum behind that whole innovation movement, if you will.
Steve Abel: Yes, absolutely. We are so proud of our contributions to the economy and innovation in Indiana and beyond. The infrastructure at Purdue is just incredibly collaborative and we're really blessed to have what we have, to enable individuals to be creative and to, I guess, foster that creativity and turn it into something that's really impactful.
Gerry Dick: And again, you mentioned the founders of the startup, the company, Neurava. Are they Purdue grads?
Steve Abel: Jay and Vivek were both graduate students when this whole thing started. I believe one of them has graduated and one of them has not and I mean, what a great way to want.
Gerry Dick: Exactly. And again, another example of the talent at Purdue, be it on the student side or the faculty side, kind of commercializing, getting some of that innovation into the marketplace.
Steve Abel: Absolutely. And the infrastructure at Purdue has changed in the recent past to enable anyone who is innovative at Purdue. It could be students, faculty, staff, to take their innovation forward and make a meaningful impact on society.
Gerry Dick: Steve Abel is Associate Provost for Engagement at Purdue University, the place where Neurava, this year's winner of the Innovation of the Year, where it was hatched. Steve, thanks for joining us.
Steve Abel: Thank you so much.
The West Lafayette startup co-founders and Purdue University grad students Jay Shah and Vivek Ganesh developed a wearable device for refractory epilepsy patients who are at high risk for a deadly complication of the disease that affects one-third of Americans. The device monitors key millionbiomarkers and sends a wireless signal to a caregiver when it detects abnormalities typically linked to the complication. An estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S. and more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy.