MedStart 2015

MD/MBA Program’s Annual Hackathon makes a fast-and-furious habit of disruption

Nervous energy fills the Sackler auditorium on the Boston campus as strangers engage in small talk on the last Friday in January. A hardware engineer from Palo Alto chats with a cardiac surgeon from West Roxbury, while a mobile-game designer from Toronto greets a small-business owner from Austin. At the other end of the room, a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital exchanges contact information with a bioinformatics expert from Seattle.

Welcome to Tufts MedStart, the third annual hackathon where people from all sorts of backgrounds come together for an intensive three-day competition to identify and try to solve problems in the medical arena. More than 120 participants are here for the event, sponsored by the medical school’s M.D./M.B.A. program. The concept is simple: Gather the brightest minds from around the country and let them go to work with access to mentors from medical, business and technological backgrounds. In addition to bragging rights, the top prize is $2,500 and the chance to pick the brain of venture capitalist Neil Chheda.

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