“I had assumed there wouldn’t be that level of antiquity in neurosurgery in America. It seemed like a real opportunity for change and medical need,” said Grage, a student in Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals’ Applied and Computational Mathematics program and CEO of Hubly Surgical, a company focused on modernizing intracranial access.
Working with her cofounders at Hubly Surgical, she created a battery powered intracranial drill with built-in safety features, such as automatic stop that halts upon breaking through the skull to prevent drilling into brain tissue and LED visual feedback for the user. Grage and her team say their device will improve safety of neurosurgery. Last month, the team and its device took first place at the Johns Hopkins Student Venture Challenge.
It was their latest win in a sweep of pitch competitions. Grage and her team took first place at the ASU Innovation open in February and the Tulane Business Competition in March.
Grage credits her enrollment in Engineering for Professionals both for enabling her to participate in these competitions and with giving her the knowledge to create innovative devices like the battery-powered intracranial drill. She is particularly enthusiastic about the fact that her EP program allows students to pick the classes they need.
“The program offered the most flexibility in terms of classes I could take, and it had the widest breadth of really cool and interesting courses. I looked at the entrepreneurship centers for each school I was interested in, but I was really impressed by Hopkins’,” she said. Grage anticipates graduating in winter 2023.
Grage also values Hopkins’ reputation as an innovator in neurosurgery and the opportunity it has afforded her to make valuable connections. For instance, instructor Thomas Woolf, a professor at the School of Medicine, has become one of her mentors.
“He is a fantastic professor, and his classes are perfect classes for me,” she said, noting that he has helped her understand how best to apply what she learns in the classroom to her job.