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UEF’s Biomedical Spectroscopy Lab selected as Terkko Health X 2021 winner

The Biomedical Spectroscopy Lab at the Department of Applied Physics of the University of Eastern Finland has won the recently concluded Terkko Health X 2021 accelerator programme. Terkko Health X is an annual pre accelerator programme organised by the Helsinki-based think company to help life science teams transform innovative ideas to commercial products.

The biomedical spectroscopy team emerged as the winner after competing against seven other teams in the virtually organised programme across Finland. The team developed a novel smart optical sensor (JEDI) for real-time assessment of connective tissue quality during arthroscopic surgery. JEDI combines spectroscopy and machine learning to provide quantitative tissue diagnostics as opposed to the traditional diagnostic approach that is based on subjective visual assessment and manual palpation of the tissue.

Globally, more than 10 million knee arthroscopies are performed annually; the team believes that integration of JEDI into the arthroscopy routine will result in more accurate tissue diagnostics and better clinical outcomes, for example, optimal treatment of cartilage injuries and faster recovery time after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

The team is led by Academy Research Fellow, Docent Isaac Afara, who also leads the Biomedical Spectroscopy Lab. Other team members include Professor Juha Töyräs, Docent Ervin Nippolainen, Docent Jaakko Sarin, Postdoctoral Fellow Jari Torniainen, and Ph.D. candidates Linus Awuniji and Iman Kafian-Attari.

As winners of the programme, the team received two start-up tickets to participate in the annual Slush event in Helsinki – the biggest tech conference in Europe – and a cash prize of €2,500, plus a six-month membership in the Terkko health hub and AWS credits.

Following their recent success at Terkko Health X, the team is now focused on launching a start-up company – Insight Biomedical – to commercialise JEDI. They are already taking steps towards applying for Business Finland’s Research to Business funding and are selecting the company’s advisory board members.

The University of Eastern Finland continues to encourage researchers to engage in high-quality research with significant societal impact. Adequate support is also given to researchers to take research from ideas to commercialisation.