When Matthew Campisi’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer—a diagnosis all too common in his wife’s family—the Tandon-trained engineer focused his full attention on early-detection technologies for this pervasive disease. But when he became aware of the startling mortality rates in developing-world countries (where expensive equipment and highly-trained medical personnel are exceedingly rare), he found himself wondering: What good is a lifesaving technology if you have no way to implement it?
He co-founded UE LifeSciences with this question in mind, determined to develop a screening technology that acknowledged global wealth disparities. “I had to learn to talk less and listen more,” Campisi says, whose on-the-ground partnerships in India and throughout Asia led him to his breakthrough: the iBreastExam. It’s a handheld, battery-powered, radiation-free device, and it can be operated by social-health workers already serving low-income communities. But the real triumph? An iBreastExam costs under five dollars.
Over 175,000 women in 12 countries have received iBreastExams, and UE LifeSciences intends to reach millions more, while bringing the idea of compact affordability to other entrenched medical problems. Meanwhile Campisi—whose work has racked up innovation awards and been featured in media outlets across the country—has returned to Tandon as a beloved Industry Associate Professor. “Engineers are responsible for solving the world’s problems,” he says. “I tell my students, ‘find your passion, and then get to work.’”