In the first months of 2018, a team of Integrated Business and Engineering students were given a single task to work on for the year: Help improve the quality of life for multiple sclerosis patients.

The team, consisting of students Roshan Giyanani ’19, Jake Homan ’19, Anil Morisetti ’19, Katherine Medlock ’19 and Laura Wells ’19, worked with investor Gordon Campbell and his friends Aude and Perry Rosenrot after meeting them during an IBE project roundtable at the start of the spring 2018 semester.

Offered jointly by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Business and Economics, IBE integrates courses in business and engineering with additional requirements in mathematics, science, English, humanities and foreign language. A highlight of the program is its two-semester, six-credit capstone design course, which allows teams of students to work with faculty mentors on the marketing, financial planning and feasibility of new product concepts which, in this case, involved working directly with MS patients and their needs.

Homan said a patient who’s been living with MS since the early 2000s was having issues finding information about a type of boot they could wear to reduce numbness. When the patient couldn’t find the boot, they figured a service could be created to connect with others in similar situations.

The range of patient experiences led the team to create a social networking app that would facilitate communication between MS patients and provide easily accessible resources to form communities. Giyanani said the team’s app, called MS Together, pulls data from online sources such as Facebook or Google and information from Project Floodlight, an open-source project that builds software-defined networks that can be used to monitor and track patient symptoms. 

While apps such as MSBuddy and PatientsLikeMe already exist on the market, Giyanani said they often struggle to match users who are truly similar. By combining related data sets, Giyanani said the team’s matching algorithm forms groups through common interests and hobbies and provides more accurate patient connections.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

Story by: Sam Topp

The students behind the MS Together app

From left: Laura Wells '19 Jake Homan '19 Roshan Giyanani '19 Katherine Medlock '19 and Anil Morisetti '19 display their new social media app, MS Together. (Credit: Christa Neu/Lehigh University)