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the technology a "game-changer." That sentiment is echoed by NICO's board chairman, James Baumgardt (ChE, 1970): "We think we'll revolutionize the way brain surgery is done." Just as its name suggests, BrainPath is essentially a pathway into the brain, says Joe Mark, NICO's Chief Technology Officer, who worked with Dougherty and his team to enhance and commercialize the technology, starting with a rough prototype developed by a neurosurgeon. The pathway allows surgeons to guide other tiny NICO instruments into parts of the brain that otherwise would be inoperable. These instruments safely remove malignancies or collect tissue for testing. Those devices include the NICO Myriad tumor removal system, another technology breakthrough refined with the help of Rose-Hulman students and now used in 21 of U.S. News & World Report's top 40 neurosurgery hospitals. The new BrainPath technology makes surgery possible, in many cases, where older methods would be too risky. And, its minimally invasive nature has the potential to reduce hospital stays to a day or two following brain surgery. Why would a company involved in something as complex as brain surgery ask engineering students to help bring its product to market? For one thing, Baumgardt says, these aren't just any students. "These kids are smart," he says. "At Rose-Hulman Ventures we have the capacity to work with some of thebrightest young people."

 

Compared with scientists who may have focused on a project for an extended
period of time, Rose-Hulman students bring a new perspective. "They have fresh, unbiased ideas," says Mark. "Thinking you know all the answers can taint how you creatively think."

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The overarching goal of Rose-Hulman Ventures is building a legacy by inspiring today's students through phenomenal educational experiences. Those experiences can be transcendent. Adam Furore (BE, 2012) can hardly believe his good fortune and his contributions to BrainPath's success. "You're designing a product that is going to change people's lives and save people's lives," he points out. "How many new graduates can talk about that in a job interview? How many students can say they've changed the world and touched

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lives before they even turned their tassels?" It's much more than just a great line on a resume, agrees Dougherty. It's an opportunity for students to put into practice those engineering skills learned in the classroom. "They need to be in the chaos and mess of the real world to see how things happen," Dougherty says. An important lesson, Mark says, is that success happens through trial and error. "Are things always right the first time? No. What's important is learning how to fail quickly so you can succeed sooner," he says. Time spent in the real world, as accessed through Rose-Hulman Ventures internships, helps students understand how brainstorming happens. He adds, "There is no stupid idea, no crazy idea, and no dumb idea-just an idea." Before long, BrainPath will be the tool surgeons across the U.S. use with other high-tech equipment to routinely see and access brain tumors once considered more difficult or impossible cases. It will aid in saving or extending lives and turn complicated brain surgery into a more efficient procedure with better outcomes. Looking back, Furore says it's gratifying to know that he played a significant role in BrainPath's birthing process. "For several months that was my baby. That was my project," he says. Another legacy established.