Tufts celebrates Ricci Prize winners

Two student teams were awarded $5,000 each for interdisciplinary engineering design.
Stephen and Geraldine Ricci present checks to Team Tarseer and Team UChu.

At the annual Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition, two student teams received the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize. On November 15, each team presented its winning pitch and received a $5,000 prize for demonstrating interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial ability. Both teams gave their presentations to a room of students, faculty, and Tufts community members, including the prize’s founders, Stephen and Geraldine Ricci, E88P and J88P. In addition to being an alumnus and the parent of two Tufts graduates, Stephen Ricci, E67, is a member of the School of Engineering Board of Advisors.

Tarseer, a team of now-alumni from the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, pitched its product: a headset that can help diagnose and monitor glaucoma. Team members Jorge Anton Garcia, Erika Marmol, Jessica Morales, Andre C. Newland, and Terence Tufuor all graduated in May 2017. Garcia explained that 50 percent of people with glaucoma do not realize that they have the disease, and that tests for glaucoma can be inconvenient and inaccurate for patients. Tarseer’s product is designed to be more reliable and accessible than current testing machines, and to provide better data for medical professionals. Garcia reported that the team has built its first prototype and that the Ricci Prize has given the team the opportunity to work on the headset since graduating in May.   

UCHU Biosensors was the second team to receive a Ricci Prize. Biomedical engineering students Daniel Weinstein, E18, and Noah Hill, E20, electrical and computer engineering student Camila Menard, E18, and dentistry student Saam Bozorg, D19, are developing an intraoral biosensor designed to monitor and manage oral health. Weinstein and Hill gave the presentation, focusing on UCHU’s potential to help people manage dental caries, which is the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities. The biosensor will measure a person’s oral pH levels and alerts them to possible infections via a smartphone app. Hill and Weinstein outlined their plan to submit the product for FDA approval and expand into the dental market in a few years.

The Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize allows students to continue entrepreneurial designs after leaving Tufts, and promotes the advancement of interdisciplinary research at Tufts and beyond.