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UCT Team

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is leading this project from the institutional side. Professor Sudesh Sivarasu from UCT is the programme manager and overall project lead for the challenge. The UCT team have been actively involved in coordinating, managing and overseeing all related activities in the merSETA ViroVent Innovation Skills Challenge. UCT is involved in all streams of the challenge both the Integrated Skills Development Programme (ISDP) for the students and the development of UCvenT Non-Invasive Ventilator. 

UCT’s team was involved in developing the curriculum of the Medical Device Sector Essentials  (MDSE) Course as well as overseeing and coordinating the courses developed by NTIP. All courses were taught asynchronously via UCT’s official online learning system, Vula.   

In conjunction with the merSETA ViroVent Innovation Skills Challenge, there is a UCT engineering design team developing the UCvenT Non-Invasive Ventilator. The core purpose of the ventilator is to provide treatment to patients with breathing problems caused by Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Consulting sessions will be offered with the team to gain insight and knowledge on the challenging process of commercialising a device in South Africa.

UCT has a total of nine Master student participants involved in this challenge who are all working on MedTech related projects as part of their dissertation.  One of these students are completing their Masters of Philosophy in Health Innovation, whilst the rest are studying towards a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering.

Associate Professor Sudesh Sivarasu

Programme Manager and overall Project Lead, UCT Lead

Prof. Sudesh Sivarasu is a professor of biomedical engineering from the Department of Human Biology, UCT. He also holds an adjunct appointment at the North-western University, Chicago, USA, as an international lecturer in Global Health and Technology. Prof. Sudesh Sivarasu is a qualified electronics and instrumentation engineer, with a master’s and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from VIT University, India. He is the Director of UCT’s Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (UCT-BMERC)

Prof. Sivarasu’s research focuses on developing appropriate health technologies with a special focus on their suitability and translation towards low resourced settings. He has supervised 39 students to completion (including 5PhD’s, 28 MSc’s & 6 Hon’s students). He is currently supervising 18 students (which include 6 PhDs and 12 MSc students). Prof. Sivarasu has published widely in the field of medical devices and orthopaedic biomechanics. He has over 47 peer-reviewed journal publications and 50 peer-reviewed conference publications.

Prof. Sivarasu is currently listed as UCT’s prolific inventor with the second most active inventions portfolio across the University. He holds over 51 patent applications across 19 patent families of which over 15 patents have been granted across, USA, UK, South Africa and India. He also holds 3 open-source innovations to this credit. His innovations have led to 3 start-up companies from UCT namely reScribe Therapy, Impulse Biomedical and VAS MedTech. These companies were started by student innovators trained at the UCT’s MDL & OBL.

Prof. Sudesh Sivarasu conceptualised the multi-award-winning FrugalBiodesign™, a unique medical device innovation methodology. He founded the Medical Devices Lab and co-founded the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab. This multi-award winning lab has produced several medical technologies such as reScribe, Laxmeter, PatRig, OpenSource Ptosis Crutches, Zibipen, Easysqueezy and the FlexiGyn platform. He also headed the COVID-19 Medical Devices Task Team which was involved in numerous innovations including the UCT ViZAR, UBUNTUBooth, UCT Hearo, FHS ChatBots, and contributed to the clinician validation of CSIR-LIFE Ventilator device: over 18,000 of these ventilators have been made and implemented across South Africa.

Prof. Sivarasu is the recipient of UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s award for achievement in Innovation, DST’s Innovation Bridge Award and NSTF-South 32, TW Khambule award for Emerging Researcher in addition to other 16 MedTech awards across 4 continents. He is an elected member of the Global Young Academy (GYA) and the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) and currently serving as the Co-Chair of SAYAS.

Sarah McEwan

Project Coordinator of MediVentors Challenge and Project Manager of UCvenT

My role in this challenge is spread over both the academic and research and development team. I am the project coordinator for the MediVentors Challenge, as well as the Project Manager for the MzansiVent team and assisting with SAHPRA submission. I have submitted my thesis for my Masters in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cape Town and completed my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stellenbosch University. I also have two years of experience in lecturing the first year UCT physiotherapists in physics at the University of Cape Town.

Jeran Cloete

Lead Engineer for UCvenT

Jeran has a background in electrical and biomedical engineering and has been working in Japan for the past three years. (2 years as a freediving instructor and 1 year in auditing and testing medical devices). His education and career experience has morphed from electrical engineering through mechanical, biomedical and electrochemical fields.

Etienne Horn

Research & Development Engineer for UCvenT

Etienne is a mechanical engineer with a masters degree from Stellenbosch University. During his undergraduate studies Etienne was introduced to biomedical engineering which planted a decade-long dream to one day become involved in this exciting and challenging field.

After spending many years honing skills and gaining industry experience in engineering consulting, Etienne got the opportunity to join the Medical Devices Lab at the University of Cape Town, finally realising this dream!

Jonathan Oehley

UV based irradiation sterilization system

Degree: MSc in Biomedical Engineering
Bio: Studies: - MSc in Biomedical Engineering, UCT: 2020 - Present
-BSc in Mechatronics (First Class Honours), University of Cape Town: 2016 - 2019
Experience: - Hardware Engineer (Internship): MiX Telematics International: 12 weeks (2019)
- Student Tutor at SkillUp and Club Electron: 2017-2020

Maureeen Dimitria Etuket

COVID19 innovation landscape analysis

Degree: MPhil Health Innovation
I have a background in Biomedical engineering from Makerere University, current co-director of Pumzi Devices; a not for profit aimed at innovating for emergency care services in Sub Saharan Africa, hosting three medical device innovations. I am currently doing an MPhil in Health Innovation with my research project: centred around describing the medical device regulatory pathway during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vongani Lowan

Multi-User Oxygen Concentrator

Degree: MSc BME
I am an RSA resident with an MBA and 17 years engineering and Quality Assurance experience. I have also worked as an Operations Director for a Medical device company that I founded with partners. I have extensive experience in quality compliance and regulations of different industries and have developed a passion for Medical Device quality regulations and risk compliance. I am also a certified ISO 9001 Lead auditor.

Muhammed Eyasim

BiPAP/ CPAP - Patient Mask Circutory

Degree: MSc BME
Bio: I completed my BSc Mechanical Engineering at UCT with first class honors. I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering at UCT. My area of interest is the medical device field. I am currently working on a ventilator related project.

Brandon Reabow

High Flow Nasal Oxygen System

Degree: MSc BSc; UCvenT Market Researcher
Bio: I graduated from UCT in a BSc Mechanical and Mechatronics engineering with first class honours. I have mentored first years and been a tutor throughout my undergraduate degree. I am currently studying my master's in Biomedical Engineering at UCT, in the development of a High Flow Nasal Oxygen system (HFNO). I am currently employed for part-time in Market research for the UCvenT Ventilator team.

Joel Philpott

Biphasic Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) Mechanical System

Degree: MSc BME
Bio:I did my undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Cape Town, and have continued my studies with a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering also at the University of Cape Town. I am excited to combine the skills I have acquired and my passion for healthcare to develop innovative medical devices that meet the unique needs of the South African people.

Ntokozo Joyfull Magubane

CFD Model to Standardize the Selection of Auto-injector Components

Degree: MSc BME
I graduated with a BSc Mechanical Engineering degree from UCT in 2020. I'm currently in my first year studying a MSc Biomedical Engineering at UCT.

Qhamani Maqungu

A smart device for an autoinjector with a remote patient monitoring system

Degree: MSc BME

Bio: I am currently a 2nd-year Biomedical Engineering Masters student, under the Medical Devices group, at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I hold a BSc (Eng) in Mechatronics engineering from UCT. I hold Impulse Biomedical bursary, working together to develop an IoT medical device for my Master's project.

Kerstin Lisa Hall

Design and Development of a Reloadable Pneumatic Intramuscular Autoinjector

Degree: PhD BME
Bio: I am a Mechanical Engineer, currently embarking on a PhD candidature in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. Between academic activities, I consult for a biomedical startup in Cape Town.