Congratulations to Associate Professor Melissa Bates who spent the summer participating in the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) summer entrepreneurship incubator program for faculty and staff startups. Dr. Bates is developing a new device to improve the monitoring of chronic lung disease. At the end, Dr. Bates had to pitch her idea to investors and won 2nd place, which came with an investment toward the continued development of the technology.
“For the entire length of my career, [looking at] our ability to monitor lung disease, we haven’t really created any new tools. What I learned in the first round of the incubator program, doing some customer interviews, people still rely on not being able to breathe to know whether they’re getting worse.”Melissa Bates.
Bates said it was “terrible” that individuals needed to rely on their ability to breathe to determine the health of their lungs and the progress of their lung disease. She said she believed some of the research she has done could potentially help individuals and decided to enter the entrepreneurial marketplace.
“I never thought about starting a business,” Bates said in her interview to Ryan Hansen, The Daily Iowan. “I decided to participate [in the incubator] and see if we could, maybe, miniaturize this research technology to be used by patients.”
In spite of being in academia for almost two decades now, she said she was enjoying thinking about things in ways she has never considered before.
“Even though I’m a tenured professor, I feel like a student all over again,” Bates said. “It’s really exciting because I’m learning so much. I had the opportunity to create this start-up, LSF medical productions and… it’s a lot of fun.”