Johns Hopkins
Engineering Design Day

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Johns Hopkins Engineering community is creating a better future, translating theoretical knowledge into real-world solutions.


Join us on Tuesday, May 4 for a virtual celebration showcasing student innovation and creativity at Hopkins Engineering annual Design Day!

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engineering students

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Design Day Projects

Increasing the Safety of Percutaneous Lung Biopsies

Team: Advanced BME Design Team: PneuTech

Program: Biomedical Engineering

A percutaneous core needle lung biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure by which a sample of abnormal lung tissue is obtained through a needle inserted directly into the targeted site of the lung using imaging guidance.The most common complication during this procedure is pneumothorax, a collapsed lung, which occurs in 1 in 5 patients. With over 100,000 procedures performed in the United States alone, pneumothorax contributes to over $120 million in annual hospital costs. Thus, there is a critical need to improve the safety of percutaneous lung biopsies. The current standard of care utilizes a straight needle guided by computed tomography (CT), making it a challenge to direct the needle to the target site while navigating around critical structures, such as major blood vessels, airways, and ribs (Figure 2). Therefore, additional pleural punctures within a single biopsy or a repeat biopsy may be necessary to obtain an adequate sample, increasing the likelihood of pneumothorax. Our solution addresses these issues via a novel needle system equipped with the ability to access any target site in any location while minimizing the number of pleural punctures. By enabling safer high-yield lung biopsy procedures, our device has the potential to revolutionize the lung biopsy space.


  • Clinical Mentor: Dr. Robert Liddell, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Mentor: Shababa Matin
  • Dr. Harjit Singh, M.D.
  • Rich Middlestadt
  • Dr. Supriya Munshaw, Ph.D.
  • Bibhav Poudel
  • Dr. Kimberley Studeman, M.D.
  • Ian McLane
  • Sarah Lee

Team Members

  • Katia Kovrizhkin
  • Sean Darcy
  • Ashley Tsang
  • Jacob Desman
  • Deborah Weidman
  • Tatiana Pereira
  • Gohta Aihara

Current straight lung biopsy needle is unable to reach the target behind a rib in just one pleural puncture.

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