Target Age Group
College freshmen & sophomores
Time to Complete
~ 18 hours
Nephrotex is a virtual internship in which students play the role of interns in a fictitious biomedical engineering design firm.
In Nephrotex, students are tasked with designing a novel nanotechnology-based membrane used for kidney dialysis. Using internal technical documents, background research, and research reports based on real experimental data, students develop and test hypotheses in the provided design space. Students also learn about a number of company stakeholders who each have a stake in the outcome of the devices. Each consultant values different performance metrics, and often have competing requests.
Students use an online platform, called WorkPro, to complete all activities in the internship, except for a final in-person presentation. WorkPro’s built-in email and chat features facilitate virtual communication with teammates and a Design Advisor. Throughout the internship students record and reflect on their activities in an engineering notebook, which get submitted for assessment by their Supervisor.
After receiving all background information and technical reports concerning the design of a hemodialysis membrane, students use an internal tool to design their own devices, choosing from a number of options for each of five different inputs. Students submit batches of five devices with justifications for each design choice. They receive feedback on their device performance, and complete three iterations of the process before choosing a final device with their team. During the last days of the internship, students work with their teammates to create and give presentations justifying their final device design selections.