Michael Urner

Alumni of UC Merced - Materials Science & Engineering; Biological Sciences (Undergraduate)

Tergis Technologies LLC

The goal of Tergis Technologies is to decrease the amount of Hospital Acquired Infection (HAIs) through mechanical means rather than chemical, thermal, or radiation. We are currently focusing on solving the issue of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU.) Premature neonates, babies born at the 37th week of gestation, do not have the mechanism of humidifying the air they breathe in, thus causing the respiratory tree to dry out. Improper humidification can lead to a thickening of fluid, which can lead to VAP. Constant and stable heat, in addition to constant humidity, are necessary to prevent this illness. This is addressed with a new system that increases the surface area of contact between the air and the water. This is done by implementing a mesh at the air inlet, causing the air to break up into smaller bubbles, and implementing a helical structure in the center. This has drastically increased the humidity produced by the system. Also, to prevent the resulting condensation and rain out in the ventilator circuit, a silicone heat blanket was wrapped around the tubes. This prevents the “water plug” from being formed, which can result in heat loss. The warm and wet environment allows for gram negative bacterial growth, which is the cause for many HAIs. To combat the bacterial growth, we created a reservoir that will not accumulate condensation at the exits of the reservoir. Also, the heat blanket provides a steady heat to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tubing. This condensation allows for Gram negative bacteria to grow and populate. As the air blows through the tube, it becomes inoculated with the bacteria, ultimately being inhaled by the neonate. We aim to prevent bacteria formation at the source. By preventing the creation of an ideal bacteria incubating environment, we are offering a more proactive procedure, rather than reactive. Our future work is centered around developing new devices that prevent the number of HAIs. We are focusing on the ventilator for now, with plans to improve other devices and procedures in the hospital. Tergis Technologies will be the leading company in HAI abatement.



Primary Industry Sector: Medical Devices
Funding Status: Preseed

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