In the third edition of our Bison Summer Series, men's basketball senior Zach Thomas talks about his work to help finalize a prototype of a rapid dual injection syringe that will help patients suffering from supraventricular tachycardia and cardiac arrhythmias.

This summer, I am doing research with Dr. Cavanagh and Dr. Kennedy of the Biomedical Engineering department. The project I am working on is a rapid dual injection syringe. The project has been going on for several years now with multiple students contributing. I have been tasked with finalizing the version 3 prototype and conducting mechanical testing so that the device can be mass manufactured and a poster can be presented.

The device is designed to decrease the time needed to inject adenosine and subsequent saline flush into patients suffering from supraventricular tachycardia and cardiac arrhythmias. A decreased injection time is needed because adenosine has a half-life of approximately 10 seconds. No devices currently exist to combat this problem. The device I am working on will simplify the injection process by having a faster dual injection instead of the two separate injection process that is currently used. Our device will be easier for doctors and nurses to use and will also optimize the effectiveness of adenosine. 

There is an existing patent on the device along with three different prototypes. I am slightly modifying the design of the version 3 prototypes using Solidworks, a solid modeling computer-aided design software program. Version 3 cannot be shown due to patent and legal reasons, but the design is a much cleaner design consisting of a cartridge, bypass channel, piston and end cap. 

I have developed several different design ideas using Solidworks to make an attachable bypass channel along with injection moldable pieces. After I have finished my design on Solidworks, I use a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer to print out different pieces of the version 3 prototype. I then analyze and test the new design pieces and consult with my advisers on how to improve the design. 

The second major piece to my research is conducting mechanical testing on the Instron machine. So far, I have done testing on the Version 2 prototypes and will do testing on the Version 3 prototypes soon. The testing is measuring force versus extension when an injection occurs and the device is used. This will be compared to a baseline test without the device to make sure the device does not significantly change the amount of force needed to make a normal injection. 

To get the most accurate data on the version 3 prototypes, I have ordered multiple prints from Protocam, a prototyping company that has an even more advanced 3D printer. After testing and data collection on these full version 3 prototypes, my advisers and I plan to talk with an injection molding company and Protocam to determine the next best steps for mass manufacturing of the device.

I will graduate with a degree in Biomedical Engineering next spring and decided to do this research at Bucknell because it sounded interesting and would allow me to gain some valuable experience in my field of study. Although I plan to play basketball professionally after I graduate, this experience will help me in the future when I apply for jobs. The research opportunity has also allowed me to be on campus for offseason basketball workouts and lifting. 

A Biomedical Engineering major, Thomas led the Bison in scoring (15.9 ppg) and ranked in the Patriot League's top 15 in eight statistical categories during the 2016-17 campaign. An All-Patriot League First Team and NABC District 13 First Team All-Star selection, he was also named the Patriot League Tournament MVP after averaging 17.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 5.7 apg in postseason action.

Past Bison Summer Series Features: 

Max Kane at the Cannes Film Festival (Men's Tennis)

Catherine Romaine Conducts Alcohol Research (Women's Basketball)