Cornell Animal Health Hackathon makes triumphant return to in-person
The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) hosted the seventh annual Animal Health Hackathon on Feb 3-5, in-person once again since going virtual during the pandemic. Jointly presented by the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship (CVBE) and Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the fast-paced brainstorming brought together 144 students from a broad range of colleges and degree programs, as well as 72 special guests who helped through sponsorship, mentorship and judging.
“This was the largest and most impressive hackathon so far, and it was fantastic to have it in-person once again,” says Jorge Colón ’92, D.V.M. ’95, associate professor of practice in financial and organizational management with the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship. “We are incredibly proud of the student presentations and grateful to the many mentors, judges, sponsors and other guests who helped make it happen.”
Twenty-eight teams gathered to devise and present their innovations to a panel of judges, competing for the $9,000 in prizes. They could solve any animal health challenge, but were also presented several challenges to choose from:
- Improving oxygen level monitoring and suture care for pigmented animals
- Improving access to veterinary care in ‘veterinary deserts’
- Keeping pets out of the shelter
- Increasing veterinary staff recruitment
- Managing small animal specialty and emergency caseload backlogs
- Creating rapid, consistent, high-volume testing for Leptospirosis
Attendees gathered on Friday for kick-off remarks from Lorin Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, an introduction from David Lee '88, D.V.M. '94, M.B.A. '99, associate dean for external programs, and a keynote talk from alumna Aziza Glass, D.V.M. ’15. Colón served as emcee for the event. After breaking for dinner, students gathered again for an interactive workshop led by Neal Fishman, distinguished engineer & CTO of data-based pathology at IBM.
On Saturday, hacking began, with students working furiously in Schurman Hall to develop ideas, with mentors soon joining to help in the ideation process. The day culminated in a pitch workshop in which students were taught best practices for narrating their solutions and preparing a compelling demo.
Sunday saw each team present their four-minute demos to the panel of judges, followed by a four-minute Q&A session. The eight highest-scoring teams were selected from the morning round and advanced to a solution re-pitch during the final round. After the finalists’ round, the winning teams were selected:
Best Veterinary Health Solution: HerdIntel
A predictive automated integrated diagnostic tool that uses AI to combat subclinical mastitis in cows.
- Eric Leon, M.B.A. '23
- Kara Styers, M.B.A. '24
- Kimaya Bakhle, D.V.M. '26
- Nikola Danev Ph.D. '24
- Samyukta Singh M.H.A. '24
- Vladimir Mazur D.V.M. '25
Best market ready: Team GoVet!
An affordable solution to rural access to veterinary medicine.
- Abigail Hentel, M.H.A. ’23
- Amanda Flanagan, D.V.M. ’24
- Danielle Ferriola, D.V.M. ’24
- SC Johnson (SCJ) students Jing Wen Soh, M.P.S. '23
- William Roddy, M.P.S. ’23
- Shruti Awale, M.Eng. ’23.
Most innovative: BIGz
GHz ultrasonics enabled microscopic imaging for pathogenic disease detection.
- Aditya Ravi, M.B.A. ’23
- Luis Amaro Ph.D. ’27
- Rohan Sanghvi Ph.D. ’25
- Sandhya Chinna Pillai, M.Eng. ’23
Other finalist teams included teams Cat Ties, Mission Impawssible, Pigioneers, The DVBMAs, and The Ruminators. Each team’s presentation video can be seen here.
Sponsors of the event included Encore Vet Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, Veritas Veterinary Partners, Zoetis, IDEXX, Rare Breed Veterinary Partners, Vet Triage, Destination Pet, VPP, Nestlé Purina, IBM and Banfield Pet Hospitals.
Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts
Photography by Darcy Rose