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PCF Young Investigator Wins Award For a #Bettermask

December 02, 2020
mask

When we were all just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, PCF Young Investigator James Byrne, MD, PhD, of Harvard and MIT was already thinking outside the box – leveraging his expertise in materials science to solve the PPE problem for healthcare providers by creating a better face mask. Made from clear liquid silicone rubber, the mask has a whole host of advantages over the N95 mask we’ve become familiar with: it’s reusable, it fits better, it’s less wasteful, mass production is scalable, and you can actually see the wearer’s mouth, allowing for better communication.

PCF brought you that story, as well as an interview with Dr. Byrne. We invited you to help fund his work and be a part of the movement to build a #bettermask. Now that the world is seeing the worst surge of cases ever, his innovative approach is even more crucial to keeping our front-line healthcare workers as safe as possible.

Dr. Byrne and his team are well on their way to achieving this goal, and their efforts are being widely recognized. PCF is thrilled to share the news that the mask received a 2020 Best of What’s New award from Popular Science! Every year, the editors of Popular Science magazine review hundreds of new products and technologies to curate the list of the “100 most groundbreaking, culture-shifting products and technologies of the year.” The mask was highlighted in the press release as one of the technologies developed to fight COVID-19.

For science geeks who want more details, the team also recently published a paper describing a fit test of the mask. It’s now known as the TEAL (Transparent, Elastomeric, Adaptable, Long-Lasting) respirator. The mask received high marks among users on fit, breathability, and ease of filter exchange, and the majority of users preferred the TEAL mask over the N95. The researchers also did initial testing of a biofeedback system that gives input to the wearer about how well the mask fits in real time, allowing them to adjust it if needed.

PCF congratulates Dr. Byrne and his entire team on receiving this prestigious award. We couldn’t be more proud of one of our Young Investigators, and look forward to seeing what he will bring to the continued battle vs COVID-19 as well as to the fight against prostate cancer. Protecting healthcare workers helps them safely care for prostate cancer patients.