iHub Innovator Projects

Since its launch in 2013, iHub has had the honor to work collaboratively with Brigham innovators spanning many Brigham departments, academic levels and interest areas. Through the services of the Open Innovation Studio and other internal innovation processes, Brigham ideas have been able to funding opportunities, connect with industry partners and collaborators, as well as pilot their innovations at the Brigham and other large institutions. By advancing Brigham’s internal knowledge and expertise forward, iHub has made extraordinary progress in improving patient care and advancing groundbreaking research.


Hadi Shafiee, PhD


+ Smartphone-based Semen Quality Analysis for At-Home Male Fertility Assessments

Although male infertility is as common as female infertility, it often goes undiagnosed because of socioeconomic factors such as stigma, high cost of testing, and availability of laboratory facilities. A smartphone-based approach can be used to facilitate testing at home or in a remote clinic without access to laboratory equipment. Our approach uses an inexpensive device that attaches directly to a phone and is operated through a smartphone application that automatically measures the vital statistics.

About the Innovator:
Hadi Shfiee, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Engineering in Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Director, Laboratory of Micro and Nano-medicine and Digital Health. Dr. Shafiee’s lab aims to integrate biology/medicine with micro- and nanotechnology to develop innovative tools and solve unmet clinical problems. His work has been recognized by multiple major media outlets including CNN, NY Times, Boston Globe, etc.


Born at the Brigham


+ Dr Fasciano and her team worked with iHub to create a technology solution to supporting the emotional needs of young adults coping with cancer. Built with input and feedback from patients, the smartphone application was designed specifically to address the emotional needs of young adults coping with cancer including easing and understanding strong emotions, dealing with uncertainty, effectively communicating with caregivers and helping the feeling of being alone.

About the Innovators:

Karen Fasciano, PsyD
Karen Fasciano is a clinical psychologist who has dedicated the majority of her career to assisting patients with the emotional challenges of cancer. She is an associate psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and directs a program that supports the emotional needs of young adults coping with cancer in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber /Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Hanneke Poort, PhD
Hanneke Poort is a research fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who is interested in developing and testing supportive care interventions that optimize mental health outcomes for people with cancer.

Paige Malinowski
Paige Malinowski is the Program Manager for the Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber and has worked at Dana-Farber for the last 9 years supporting patients and families through their cancer care.

Katelyn MacDougall, MSW, LICSW
Katelyn MacDougall is an oncology social worker at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in the Young Adult Program, providing both direct patient care and program development for young adults ages 18-39 with cancer.

How iHub Helped

iHub helped to create a process for the team to gather data from patients including how they used technology to cope with their cancer, and what they would like in a smartphone tool that could enhance their coping. This process introduced new terms and concepts, familiar to technology developers but not to clinicians, which took the teams thinking in new directions. In addition, iHub provided guidance about technology developers that would be skilled and experienced with the nuances of applications that address emotions and coping. And lastly, iHub helped to support Malinowski in the process of contracting with the outside vendor and what the team should expect of the development process. Fasciano and MacDougall worked on translating evidence based behavioral health principles into modules and exercises to be incorporated in the app. The iHub was an essential partner in getting to the final product, banyan.

What's Next

The team will launch banyan as a BWH/DFCI initiative, introducing it to young adult cancer patients at DFBWCC. The hope is that by limiting the use to this community that shares an age range and emotional burdens of cancer, it is more likely that patients will meet in person, and feel they are understood and not alone in their care. In the future, Fasciano would like to adapt banyan for other cancer populations, community clinics and possibly other illnesses. The team also has aspirations to create a limited public version of banyan which will provide some coping skills but not the community feed..