Multidisciplinary international projects win LED TECH Symposium


On Tuesday 13 June, third and fourth-year LED students presented their Living Technology semester projects at the LED TECH Symposium in the Grolsch Veste.

On Tuesday 13 June, third and fourth-year LED students presented their Living Technology semester projects at the LED TECH Symposium in the Grolsch Veste. During this semester, students from different programmes work together on Living Technology projects.

They compete for both a jury and an audience award. The jury award went to the international project group Printing a Heart for the Future, while the students from the GreenSource project won the audience award. All prize winners received a trophy (designed in the IPO workshop) and a VVV voucher.

Jury award for Printing a Heart for the Future 

The project group Printing a Heart for the Future consisted of students Yalcira-Adina Wallé, Annelies Mannak, Peter Merjenburgh, Julia Fidyk and Patrycja Wojtasiak. This multidisciplinary group united Saxion students from the Biology and Medical Laboratory Research programme with two Biomedical Engineering students from Poland. They won the jury award for a thermal ink jet printer capable of printing a specific pattern of heart cells, which they built and converted themselves. Such technology can be used to print heart cells onto a microchip. This enables testing to be carried out on human cells, eliminating the need for animal testing.

Replacement for animal testing
Animal testing still constitutes an important part of the pharmaceutical industry's testing process for new medication. This practice is both morally undesirable and expensive. As testing on human stem cells is much more economical, the alternative presented by the winning group would allow the industry to make substantial savings. Moreover, human stem cells have the potential to boost the development of "personal medicine" (i.e. medication tailor-made for the patient), which is increasingly sought after.

Group project leader Yalcira-Adina is proud to have won and found the Living Technology project to be very instructive: 'The main things I've learned are how to work together with people from other disciplines and deal with the various personalities and cultures within our group.'

The students were supervised by the research group Nanotechnology/NanoBioInterface.

GreenSource project leads to clean drinking water
Saxion's Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Engineering Physics and Chemical Engineering students Bart Bekkema, Mark Kalma, Yorick Schigt and Bas Schadenberg won the audience award together with Sinead Whelan, a Product Design & Technology student from Ireland.

This project group spent six months working on the GreenSource project, which lays football pitches with synthetic turf capable of collecting rainwater in South Africa. The membranes in the turf purify the water, resulting in clean drinking water for the locals. The project group developed a rapid test method to check whether the membranes were still capable of filtering out bacteria and viruses. It also developed a training animation to instruct illiterate and semi-literate South Africans in the use of the pitches.

Project leader Bart: 'Our team really benefited from a multidisciplinary approach, which allowed each member to contribute their own specific skills. I noticed that collaborating as part of such a project puts you on a much more equal footing than collaborating with lecturers or supervisors. A project of this size really prepares you for the professional field.'

The GreenSource project students were supervised by the research group International Water Technology.