SensUs 2016: In short
Over the weekend of the 9th and 10th of September, the time had finally come: the first edition of the SensUs contest! Student teams from London, Leuven, Uppsala, Copenhagen and Eindhoven came together in order to show the world the biosensor prototypes that they had designed and developed during the past nine months. Two days and a lot of exciting results and novel ideas later, we can say that SensUs 2016 was a big success!
The contest started off with the Testing Event on the 9th of September. This event was meant to challenge the analytical performance of the team's biosensors. All teams received a set of 20 microliter blood plasma samples spiked with creatinine, of which they did not know the concentration. The samples were handed out at set time intervals. First, one sample every 15 minutes, then every 10 minutes and finally every 5 minutes, over a total period of 3 hours. It was up to the teams to measure the creatinine concentration in the plasma samples with their biosensor prototypes and to report as many measurement results as possible.
It was a very lively contest, with excitement as data gradually appeared on central screens. At the end of this exciting and nerve-wracking day it was clear that the biosensor from the KU Leuven KreaSensa team gave the most accurate results, so they became the winner of the SensUs 2016 Analytical Performance Award.
On Saturday the 10th of September, an audience of nearly 400 people convened in the Auditorium of Eindhoven University to enjoy pitches of the student teams, presentations by experts, and finally the award ceremony. An additional 500 people from over 30 countries attended the event via the live stream!
The afternoon consisted of presentations and an open market, where people could talk with each of the student teams and with our sponsors. The student teams were trying to impress the jury as well as the attendees of the event, as they were all able to vote for the the team they thought was the most inspiring. The team with the most votes would be awarded the Public Inspiration Award. After counting all the public votes, team KreaSensa from KU Leuven won the Public Inspiration award!
After thoughtful consideration and conversation with the student teams, the jury finally handed over the awards. KreaSensa from KU Leuven won the Translational Potential award, for creating a plan on how they could take their device to the market. Team T.E.S.T from Eindhoven University of Technology won the Creativity award, for the novel molecular construct that they had developed for the detection of creatinine.
The success of SensUs 2016 inspired us to launch SensUs 2017. This second edition of SensUs had teams in ten universities, in Sweden, Denmark, England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Egypt, USA, Scotland, and Germany. The focus was on designing and building biosensors for measuring NT-proBNP, a molecule that is used for the diagnostics and monitoring of heart failure. More information about SensUs 2017 can be found here.