Innovative Partnership Benefits Children Undergoing Heart Transplants: Fostering New Opportunities

The Illinois MakerLab at Gies College of Business is partnering with Carle Health researchers to contribute to healthcare innovation. The project aims to explore whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology can replace invasive biopsies for monitoring heart transplant patients, particularly children. Currently, biopsies involve removing heart tissue, whereas MRI scans produce detailed images without the need for such invasiveness. The study, led by doctors from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Vanderbilt University, is taking place at multiple sites across the country, including Carle. The MakerLab has provided 3D components for building objects called phantoms, which are used in MRI scanners to measure image quality. The flexibility of 3D printing allows for customized shape iterations, optimizing design for medical purposes. The MakerLab also collaborates with CIM3D, a student-led group from Carle Illinois College of Medicine, to host 3D printing workshops, providing opportunities for medical students to learn about medical product design and individualized patient care.

The Illinois MakerLab, established as the first business school 3D printing lab in 2013, operates in the Business Instructional Facility at Gies Business. Students from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus play a role in the lab, gaining valuable experience through volunteer work and involvement in cutting-edge projects. The lab’s collaboration with Carle Health is just one example of its role in healthcare innovation. Vishal Sachdev, director of the Illinois MakerLab, emphasizes the importance of 3D modeling and printing in healthcare as it allows for experimentation and customization at a low cost, opening up novel possibilities in the field. The MakerLab also offers opportunities for partners and students to get involved, with the aim of pushing boundaries and making a significant impact in various sectors, including healthcare. To learn more about partnering with the MakerLab or working as a student, visit their website.

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