Since 2006, biomedical engineering students at Bucknell have partnered with Geisinger Medical Center on their senior design projects, seeking solutions to real medical problems.

This year, five teams developed devices with Geisinger mentors and faculty advisers for use in general surgery, orthopedics, DNA research and urology. Each team of students observed a doctor in surgery and identified potential problems and areas for improvement. The teams then built and tested prototypes of real medical devices.

Geisinger may pursue further development and possibly a patent on several of the projects, including a device to remove air bubbles that sometimes form in tubes during cardiac catheterization. "Currently, the method is to manually check the tubing and physically flick to get the bubbles out. It's kind of a medieval process," says Anna Latimer, Class of '09.

The partnership helps the students and Geisinger, says Dr. Glenn Gerhard, who has been working with Bucknell students for the past three years.

"We don't have this ability. We can't build anything," Gerhard said. "To have eager students and brilliant engineers helping us is great. We're over there doing this business and we think, 'If only we could solve this problem.' "