Metabowlite for the Win

June 02, 2022

Pitching its optical technology for early detection of urinary tract infections (UTIs) to help save lives, improve health and reduce costs, Metabowlite won UC Santa Barbara’s 23rd Annual New Venture Competition (NVC) Finals(link is external), taking home the $10,000 First Place Award. The event represents the culmination of the Technology Management (TM) Department’s rigorous eight-month technology business plan competition that is open to UCSB students from all disciplines.

Comprising Chirikian, Markus Merk and Mohamed Faynus, all of whom are Ph.D. candidates in BMSE, Metabowlite designed a technology to detect UTIs quickly and accurately. UTIs are one of the top health complications impacting people 65 years and older, second only to respiratory infections. Seventy percent of UTI cases in the elderly progress to urosepsis, where the body’s aged immune system starts attacking its own tissue, requiring hospitalization and, often, causing cognitive impairment and kidney problems. Most people seek treatment for UTIs only after experiencing symptoms; the team created a product to detect them before significant issues arise.