Dr. Li-Mei Lin Gets to the Core of Technology Development with I-Corps

September 2, 2019 By Grace Wood

Dr. Li-Mei Lin, a neurosurgeon at UCI Health, wants to fix stroke care, one minute at a time. She developed a product concept that focuses on the reduction of surgery time for stroke patients, a crucial issue to solve since every minute the brain lacks blood, approximately 2 million neurons die. Dr. Lin believes the concept could save anywhere from two to 45 minutes in surgery by shortening the pathway for the clot retrieval.

“It would be like if you were wanting to climb a mountain, you could take a tram that goes all the way up instead of taking the twisty road up,” said Dr. Lin “In that way, it can save the time it takes to restore the blood flow in the area of the brain that we’re trying to save.”

This is just one of two original concepts for the healthcare industry that she brought to the I-Corps program at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, a National Science Foundation-funded grant program that trains innovators to think about the commercial application of their concepts.

Dr. Lin first thought about the brain when it was a topic at her high school decathlon competition. At medical school at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Lin opted for a specialization in neurosurgery in a decision she describes more as a “gut feeling,” rather than a logical choice. In addition to her fascination with the brain, Dr. Lin constantly ponders improvement of current technologies. She believes there is always a way to do something better, faster and more proficiently.

“I am very interested in how we can improve the care we deliver as physicians and in the healthcare community. I also have interests in technology and how to apply it to improve medical care,” said Dr. Lin. “I developed these interests early in medical school and continued to refine them during my fellowship in minimally invasive neuroendovascular neurosurgery.”

After her positive experience with her first concept, Dr. Lin returned to I-Corps. Her second I-Corps concept uses virtual reality in hospitals to reduce patient stress through mental preparation. She notes more open communication with healthcare providers and decreased recovery time as some potential benefits of reduced stress.
Dr. Lin appreciates the encouraging support from the Applied Innovation team to progress her ideas and consider patents.

Find out more information about the I-Corps program.

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