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Senior Design Team Gain Patent Approval of 2011 Project

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Ritchie School Communications Team


The University of Denver’s Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science is proud to announce that a 2011 Senior Design Team gained patent approval on the shaped evacuation port of the multi-lumen tracheal tube they designed for their final project.

Every University of Denver engineering senior must apply what they’ve learned over their previous three years at the University to a real world problem in their senior design project class. To identify product needs, University of Denver partners with companies and industry professionals. DU engineering students then work in teams and with the help of a faculty project facilitator they create a product with practical, real-world applications.

Tracheal tube


In 2011, University of Denver students Donn Sederstrom, Tyler Grubb, Alexa Jansey and Christopher Brune worked with Professor Peter Laz and developed the shaped evacuation port of the multi-lumen tracheal tube for the company Medtronic, formerly known as Covidien. Medtronic is a long-time partner of DU’s senior design program. The team chose this particular project because of its challenging mix of mechanical analysis, fluid dynamics and electrical components. All four students who worked on this project plus technical advisor Corinne Lengsfield are listed as inventors on the patent for the endotracheal tube design. According to faculty adviser Peter Laz, it is very rare for a design to be successfully patented.

Tyler Grubb is incredibly proud and excited to finally see this patent come through. Grubb, who is now a design engineer managing the development and launch of customized fluid handling systems for Colder Products Company in Minneapolis, credits his experience designing this endotracheal tube with launching his career. He describes the project as his first real job. “The time and effort that goes into the project closely matches the team efforts that go into real projects in industry and was a great was to get a flavor of how some of the engineering principles we had learned for 4 years could be applied,” Grubb told us, “I also can’t understate how great it was to have the opportunity to network with industry contacts who provided great mentoring throughout the project and have opened the door to further business opportunities after I graduated.”

Grubb also secured his first full-time job because of the skills he gained on this particular project and with help from project advisor Peter Laz. His transition from student to full-time engineer was quick but smooth. “Prof. Laz put me in touch with a contact from a medical device start-up company in San Francisco that was looking to hire an entry-level R&D Engineer and let me interview for the role. Three weeks later I moved to San Francisco and worked in the crazy Silicon Valley start-up environment,” Grubb recalled.

Though he lives several states away, Grubb still maintains his connections to DU. “I make it back to DU once every couple of years to visit friends and devour my share of queso at Illegal Pete’s,” Grubb says,”I am definitely excited to book a trip to tour the new Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.”

Contact us for more information about DU and how its unique engineering senior design project could help to jump-start your career.