Cast Your Vote for GW in the STAT Madness Tournament

GW Engineering and Milken Institute SPH research to go head-to-head with other leading research institutions in the online, bracket-style tournament.

March 3, 2024

STAT Madness

Two George Washington University discoveries have been selected to compete in this year’s national STAT Madness competition, an online tournament run by the STAT health news site to select the top biomedical innovation or discovery from the past year.

Similar in spirit to college basketball’s March Madness, 64 teams from leading research institutions will face off in an online, bracket-style tournament for the chance to be crowned 2023’s MVP of health and medicine. The first round of voting is open now, with new rounds of voting opening up weekly as teams advance toward the championship. The winner will be announced on April 5.

Cast your vote!

Here are GW’s contenders:

A dissolvable heart monitor

Nearly 700,000 people in the United States die from heart disease every year, and one in three people die from complications in the first weeks or months following a traumatic heart-related event. In 2023, researchers at GW and Northwestern University published a paper in “Science Advances” describing an experimental device that could one-day monitor and treat heart disease and dysfunction in the days, weeks and months following a traumatic heart-related event.

The device, a dissolvable heart monitor that could be placed on various sections of the heart, would  communicate information to physicians in real time on the heart’s health status. In addition, the device is made of materials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that are compatible with the human body and able to fully dissolve after a clinically relevant period, helping to avoid the health complications and costs associated with the surgical extraction of current devices. 

GW biomedical engineer Luyao Lu and his collaborator Igor Efimov, an experimental cardiologist and professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern and former GW professor, conducted the research. GW Ph.D. student Zhiyuan Chen also worked on the project with Lu and Efimov and was the lead author on the study.  

Contaminated meat and urinary tract infections 

In 2023, researchers at GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health published a study in “One Health” that suggested E. coli from retail meat may be responsible for more than half a million urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the United States every year. Foodborne E. coli has long been known to cause stomach upsets, but the GW study suggests that raw meat contaminated with E. coli may also cause potentially life threatening UTIs.

The researchers, Lance B. Price and Cindy Liu from the GW Antibiotic Resistant Action Center, developed a new genomic approach to tracking the origins of E. coli infections. The study provides compelling evidence that dangerous E. coli strains are making their way from food animals to people through the food supply system. Left unchecked E. coli infections in the urinary tract can travel to the bloodstream: Up to 40,000 people die of E coli bloodstream infection every year. 

The study suggests producers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could do a more rigorous job of checking for pathogens in food, particularly raw meat sold in grocery stores. At the same time, the research emphasizes the importance of food safety measures that can be taken by home cooks to prevent these risky infections.

If you’d like to help crown one of these GW discoveries the 2023 MVP of health and medicine, cast your vote today and return each day to vote again. Voters can vote multiple times from different devices and browsers.