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FALL 2010
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PhD Student Gets Top Prize for Instant Test of Sore Throats

By Molly Cronin ’11

Mark Hartman
Jason Koski/University Photography

Mark Hartman's instant test uses DNA-based "nanobarcodes" to determine the cause of a sore throat.

A doctoral candidate in biological and environmental engineering has won the top CIMIT (Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology) Primary Healthcare Prize.

Mark R. Hartman ’07, MEN ’08, received the $150,000 top honor for his instant-diagnosis test of sore throats, a project that applies DNA-based fluorescent “nanobarcodes” to provide accurate results on whether the sore throat is caused by strep, flu, or other diseases.

In announcing the awards, Ronald Newbower, chief technology officer and co-founder of CIMIT, said, “We are delighted with the passion this prize competition has elicited amongst engineering students. They are clearly eager to develop innovative technologies to address our national challenges in primary care. The winners of our major awards are headed toward terrific careers and may well serve as role models for others in their field. CIMIT is proud to be able to support their efforts.”

Hartman graduated from Sayre High School, Sayre, Pa., and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in biological and environmental engineering at Cornell.

Another Cornell doctoral candidate, George K. Lewis Jr., MS ’08, in biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, won the $100,000 second-place award with a low-power ultrasound device—the size of an iPod—to promote pain relief and healing.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology won third place and a $50,000 prize.

CIMIT, a nonprofit consortium in Boston, held the competition to encourage graduate and undergraduate engineering students to develop creative, technological solutions that could enhance medical delivery.