AUC Students Win First Place at 2022 Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition

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Five students from the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECNG) at the American University in Cairo won recently first place worldwide in the 2022 Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition in the digital health track for their device, GlucoClip, a glucose blood monitoring device for diabetics. Maha Shatta, Fatema Lokma, Mostafa Nosseir, Ahmed Elghoul, and Seif Ahmed ‘21 were the only Egyptian team among the finalists. “We’re all proud to have represented AUC and Egypt at this international competition,” says Nosseir. The impacts of the GlucoClip can be far-reaching, as the project “has the potential to influence the lives of 537 million diabetics around the world,” he added.

Beginning as a thesis project, GlucoClip was conceived and developed by the student team under the supervision of Hassanein Amer, professor in the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering. It monitors blood glucose levels with a high level of accuracy, safely and non-invasively using near-infrared spectroscopy. It aims to ultimately improve the quality of life for people with diabetes, serving as a substitute for finger pricking or other invasive blood tests. GlucoClip also connects to a mobile app, allowing more ease and convenience in the monitoring of blood glucose levels.

Lokma highlighted that traditional testing methods may “actually create a psychological barrier for many people, preventing them from making regular measurements.” GlucoClip works as a safer, less invasive and convenient alternative, she adds.

The students worked on the project for a year, designing a prototype and then testing it on a population of over 100 people. Despite the difficulties COVID-19 presented in getting medical approval for large-scale tests during a pandemic, the team successfully completed the project, and GlucoClip showed relatively high accuracy despite the small sample size. 

The 2022 Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition attracts undergraduate and graduate students from all over the globe annually. This year, the competition saw 120 proposals submitted from 74 universities and 18 countries. After being shortlisted as one of the seven finalists for the Digital Design track, GlucoClip was handed first place.

“To present this project — which we have worked really hard on — to an international panel at such a prestigious university known for its intensive research programs is a very rewarding feeling,” says Elghoul.

Winning the award of such a prestigious high-ranking university in the world has brought hope for the expansion of the GlucoClip device. As Lokma affirms, “this award has encouraged me to continue developing and improving our idea until it reaches the global market.” 

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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.