Developing people and ideas that will drive healthcare innovation

Catalyst is pioneering a new method of research-driven biomedical innovation. An immersive, collaborative innovation program, Catalyst focuses on intensive, extended hands-on research and development, complemented by advanced technical and innovation training. Catalyst teams identify medical needs that can be met with innovative technologies, build multiprofessional teams to design these new technologies, and launch projects that show strong potential for healthcare impact.


of projects attract new investment

Projects advancing to
commercial development


34 Fellows, 131 collaborators 

88 research groups in 31 institutions

16 teams advanced to project / product development stage

5 start-ups with funded launch

How it works

Fellows cohorts identify compelling unmet medical needs solvable by new technologies

Project ideas and work are not constrained by the expertise or resources of a single lab or organization

Mentors and collaborators are drawn from diverse, open, and growing network across the innovation ecosystem to support teams and projects

Over 2–3 years teams show proof of technical concepts and de-risk to demonstrate feasibility and value

Teams have multiple exit options, from further research with new funding to startups or licensing


“The starting premise and driving force [of the Catalyst program] is to devise projects that will make a big difference and, working together, we are on our way to doing that.”

Catalyst Fellow

Catalyst projects


Early intervention

Projects that can enable earlier, better responses to disease and injury

Team Cell Reinventing cytometry to find rare cells in blood and to provide a wider reach for leukemia/lymphoma diagnosis

Team Colo Improving colonoscopy screening to reduce colorectal cancer mortality

Team Fetal Detecting an insufficient placenta that may put a fetus at
risk and indicate the need for early delivery

Team neuroQWERTY Creating a new transparent technology to detect early signs of neurodegenerative disorders via finger interaction with electronic devices

Team Skin Developing a new technology to help primary care physicians to quickly identify potentially malignant skin lesions


Managing health

Projects that can help people achieve and maintain better health

Team Eye An affordable and accurate device, the “QuickSee,” to prescribe eyeglasses at the push of a button—increasing accessibility to eye care in low-resource settings

Team Hydration Developing a non-invasive monitor that mitigates the widespread problem of dehydration in elderly care homes by directly sensing physiological hydration

Team Leuko Enabling non-invasive white blood cell counts – a first-line indicator of infection and risk of infection

Team Scolio Creating a new technology that enables scoliosis patients to control their spinal alignment, potentially avoiding progression and more traumatic therapies


Better care delivery

Projects that can make clinical care safer and more effective

Team CT Developed automated image analysis methods to guide therapy following pulmonary embolism

Team Lumbar Building an acoustic microscopy technology as an alternative to difficult and painful lumbar punctures to test for meningitis in infants

Team mPET Enabling simultaneous imaging of multiple PET radiotracers to improve oncologic, neurologic, and cardiac disease management

Team MS-SAR Working on hardware and software innovations to provide personalized MRI to enable earlier detection of multiple sclerosis and imaging in patients with implanted electrodes

Team Pancreas Developing novel MRI approaches to measure tissue fibrosis in patients with pancreatic cancer as an indicator of therapeutic efficacy

Team TxResponse Developing new markers that provide early indication of whether a chemotherapy is effective