“These experiments provided proof of concept that heparin could in fact be created chemoenzymatically with anticoagulant activity, meaning that we could develop a batch of heparin in the lab without using animal sources,” she says.
Along with her work on heparin, Kemp remains heavily involved in research to stop the spread of malaria at its source. The findings could help stop any man, woman, or child from needing to take a drug.
Fighting Fire With Engineering
Conventional smoke detection and sprinkler systems are important safety tools and help to save lives, but indiscriminately soaking an office building, home, or workplace with water can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
A group of graduating engineers set their sights on this problem, and have developed a promising solution. Jake Pyzza, Erik Kauntz, and Ryan Clapp researched, designed, and built an early prototype of a new “smart” fire suppression system that pinpoints the location of a fire in a building and douses the fire with flame suppressants.
“Our sensors sweep a room, sense where the fire is, and then deliver a suppressant to just that area, while the sensor is still sweeping the rest of the room to see if the fire spread,” says Pyzza, a mechanical engineering major. “If it continues to scan and doesn’t see any more sources of fire, it turns the suppression system off to help minimize any damage to the room’s contents.”
The group developed and built their invention last year as their final project for a yearlong capstone mechanical engineering course, and they are among a handful of winners of the fall 2008 “Change the World Challenge” competition.
“We felt there was a resounding need for an update for home sprinkler systems,” says Clapp, who studied product design and innovation. “The original home sprinkler system was invented in 1873, by an RPI alumnus, and it hasn’t really changed since then. So we felt it was time for an update, and that this was the perfect place to do it.”
The group is currently investigating the possibility for licensing and refining the system, and potentially starting the formal process of filing a patent.