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Kathryn Kundrod
Class of 2015
Currently getting a PhD in
Bioengineering at Rice University
Hometown: Souderton, PA

What Baker programs were you involved in?



What project were/are you involved with?

IViral Diagnostic Technology (Cyclic Solutions)


What problem did your project address and what was the solution?

The project goal is to aid in HIV treatment. When a person has HIV and they’re taking their medication, sometimes the medication stops working and when that happens there will be HIV virus present in the blood. When the medication is working there shouldn’t be any HIV virus present in the blood. Currently, it is difficult to diagnose. Our device was designed to be able to capture virus out of a patient’s blood sample, and apply some quantitative techniques to be able to detect whether virus is present, which correlates to how long the treatment has not been working and the changes that need to be made.

What was your “transformative moment” during this project?

I would say there were several. I think from a research point of view, there were times that I realized my capability as a researcher in that I was able to understand what the needs of the device were and what the clinical needs were. I really enjoyed making progress and coming up with things that nobody has come up with before...As for the commercialization point of view, I would say that LaunchBayC pushed me out of my comfort zone in that I hadn’t taken many business classes. I didn’t really spend much time thinking about what goes into commercialization. You need to protect your intellectual property and you need to think about the supply chain, you need to think about all these aspects of commercialization. So it was really eye-opening in getting a better sense of what happens after the lab work takes place.


What are you dreams for this project?

The goal is to get parts of the device to the point where we are comfortable maybe selling the technology, or sending the technology to a company that is able to refine it to a point for clinical use.

What do you foresee as your next steps in life?

I am very interested in science policy, specifically dealing with global health technology policy. I am currently getting my PhD and working on developing low-cost diagnostic tools. After this, I can either see myself either going into an academic career as a faculty member, or working for an organization – maybe the World Health Organization or The Gates Foundation, or some organization engaged in making policy decisions.

What are your other passions (hobbies, heroes, sports, etc.)?

I have lots of hobbies. I like to bike and do a lot of outdoor activities. I am third quarterback of our powder puff football team here at Rice. Every time I come back to Pennsylvania, there is a lot of hiking and kayaking involved. I go to concerts fairly frequently, and try to get out of the lab as much as possible – which is not very often!