Let's compete for quality of life!

SensUs 2020 

Epilepsy & Measuring Valproate 

Program SensUs Event 2020


Program of SensUs 2020 Event

Friday 28th of August

The whole Event will be live-streamed on SensUs Digital. You will be able to not only learn from the Teams, you will also be able to pick their brains during the discussions and the network moment. If you have not registered yet, you can do so via the button below!

About SensUs 2020



Welcome from the coach and founder
Menno Prins


We are going to admire 15 student Teams from universities in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe, who have developed sensors for measuring an anti-epileptic drug in order to improve the lives of patients with epilepsy. Within SensUs, students learn how to work together, to create innovative solutions, and analyze how new technology can be applied in healthcare. University professors, companies, healthcare professionals, and patients play their parts; SensUs brings us all together in order to learn about innovation.


This year the SensUs Teams and the SensUs Organization have been challenged in a particular way due to the coronavirus limitations. Most of the work has been done online and also this final SensUs Event occurs online, which is an interesting innovation and learning experience in itself. I am sure you are looking forward to seeing the results of the Teams. Thank you for joining and I wish you a lively and inspiring SensUs Innovation Day!

Welcome from the Chairs 
Yannick Leurs & Iris Schilthuis


It is time, the finals of SensUs 2020 are here! During the whole year, we have all been working hard towards this Event. The SensUs Teams worked on their biosensor concepts, and the SensUs Organization worked hard to make the fifth edition of the SensUs Student Competition possible.


The Organization is a group of students that aims to bring people and knowledge together, in order to innovate the field of biosensors. It makes us very proud to see what the students managed to do in the current circumstances and how they make the digital version of SensUs 2020 possible. We are confident that it will be a great success! We are looking forward to this unforgettable experience in which we all strive to improve healthcare and the quality of life of patients with epileptic disease.

On behalf of the whole Organization, we would like to wish you an amazing and inspiring time. Together, let’s bring a boost to innovation in sensors for health!


SensUs 2020

The future of healthcare

An important aim in healthcare is to keep people healthy as long as possible and to enable people in need of care to live a high-quality life in their own environments. Healthcare is developing toward a world wherein care is delivered in a highly personalized manner, attuned to the status of the patient, based on actual, precise and reliable data. This is where biosensors play a big role.


Our mission

The mission of SensUs is to stimulate the development of biosensors in a friendly competitive manner whereby students design and make innovative biosensors. Each year a different healthcare theme is selected. The focus of SensUs 2020 is epileptic disease and measuring Valproate

The teams

The participating teams consist of students from multiple scientific disciplines. Biosensing technologies are inherently multidisciplinary. To be successful, the teams need to creatively combine molecular technologies and device technologies. The style of the competition is ‘friendly competitive’. Teams of students compete for different prizes. However, it is equally important that teams learn from each other, share information, and sow seeds for international collaboration.

A platform for collaboration

SensUs stimulates information sharing and community development for continuous innovation in biosensors. It forms a platform for open innovation and welcomes stakeholders such as healthcare organizations, patient organizations, R&D funding organizations, and companies to partner with the competition.

The challenge for the Teams of SensUs 2020 is to develop an innovative and creative biosensing system to measure valproate. Valproate is an important drug prescribed to patients with epilepsy in many countries. However, the effective dose of valproate differs between patients. Therefore, finding the optimal dose for each patient takes time. By developing a biosensor that measures the valproate concentration in blood, the individual therapeutic concentration can be measured, improving the management of epilepsy, for example by guiding treatment.   


What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a chronic disease that is characterized by recurrent seizures caused by excessive neuronal activity in the brain, which can cause a variety of different outward effects. The cause of epilepsy is unknown in most cases. The seizures can be controlled with medication.  


What is valproate? 

When valproate is administered to a patient, this drug strongly binds to plasma proteins, but the unbound valproate is responsible for the pharmacological activity, i.e. the antiepileptic therapy. If the dose given is too high, side effects could arise, such as fatigue, coordination failure, or dizziness. If the dose is too low, the medicine will not be effective. This is a reason why it is useful to measure valproate with a biosensor. When monitoring valproate, variations can be registered and the dosage can be adjusted for each patient individually.

Theme and Biomarker


By Prof. dr. Marian Majoie, Kempenhaeghe Maastricht UMC+

Co-host of the workshop Sensors for Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by unprovoked and recurrent seizures. These seizures are the result of sudden excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells. The seizures can arise in several parts of the brain. The clinical manifestations of seizures will therefore vary and depend on where in the brain the disturbance starts first and how far it will spread.


Approximately 50 million people worldwide are currently diagnosed with epilepsy and approximately 5 million people will be diagnosed with epilepsy each coming year. Anti-epileptic drug treatment is the first treatment option in the majority of cases, but 30% of the patients suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy. It can be imagined that it is very important for these patients to predict the occurrence of seizures.


Traditionally, electroencephalography -amongst other physical sensors- is used to predict seizures. For long it was not possible to determine biochemical changes in patients with epilepsy real-time and non-invasively. However, current developments in biosensor-technology offer opportunities for further research in this field, for example, research in immunological and/or endocrine changes related to seizures.


Additionally, biosensors can be of value in monitoring therapeutic drug treatment. In this context, it is important to know that anti-epileptic drug concentrations can be influenced by a number of factors such as age, genetic factors, nutritional status, co-morbidities, and interactions with concomitantly administered medications.


Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of anti-epileptic drugs can be particularly valuable as an aid in the diagnosis of clinical toxicity, to assess compliance, or to guide dosage adjustment in situations associated with increased pharmacokinetic variability, for example, in children, in the elderly, or in patients with associated diseases.


We hope that SensUs will give us new insight into biosensor technology related to epilepsy. New opportunities will be discussed at the SensUs workshop.

Teams of SensUs 2020


Teams of SensUs 2020

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Chairs and Co

Yannick Leurs

Iris Schilthuis

Renate Janssen

Judith Hoekstra


Jolien Marcelis

Ingrid Kolen

Stijn van Wijngaarden


Fleur Kloosterman

Miriam Laamoumi

Maartje Wilms

Public relations

Cecile Hamming

Tatum Simons


Ivana Stijepovic

Henry Kwan

Jorrit Baartman

Jojanne van Leeuwen

Organization of SensUs 2020

Our Partners


Master of Ceremonies

Annabel Romijn obtained her M.Sc. degree in Applied Physics in 2018 from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). In 2019, she obtained her second M.Sc. degree in Science Education & Communication. During her time at the TU/e, she worked as a student advisor to advertise the TU/e. Examples include presentations during the lustrum in 2016, at the Graduate School event, and at the information days together with members of the executive board and the rector magnificus. Additionally, she has led multiple scientific events as moderator such as TEDxEindhoven, Famelab, and Pint of Science. In 2019, she also got chosen as one of the participants in Expedition Spinvis and as Young European Talent. Since August 2019, she works as a physics teacher 4 days a week and 1 day a week as freelance moderator & photographer.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Alain van Gool is a professor in Personalized Healthcare and heads the Translational Metabolic Laboratory at the Radboud University Medical Center. He has a strong passion for the application of biomarkers in translational medicine and personalized healthcare. His professional background is a mix of academia, pharmaceutical industry, applied research institutes, and university medical centers. His work covers molecular profiling (various Omics approaches), analytical biomarker development, and applications for a variety of therapeutic areas. Recently, Alain published a ‘Handbook of Biomarkers and Precision Medicine’ detailing many lessons-learned from translational biomarker experts in pharma and academia.    

The Speakers


Jury and Awards


During the SensUs Competition 2020, the Teams will be assessed on three different subjects

  • The Creativity award expresses appreciation for novelty with respect to the state of the art, the original contributions of the Team, and the technical feasibility. The Creativity award will be determined by the best concept to measure fVPA. The concept should be supported by model calculations and/or preliminary experimental results.  

  • The Translation Potential award expresses appreciation for translating the real or conceptual biosensor towards future applications in healthcare and industrialization. This includes the proposed business model.

  • The Public Inspiration award provides recognition for inspirational messaging towards the public. The winners of this award are determined by all visitors and viewers of SensUs 2020. 



Medals are proof of a Team’s devotion to the SensUs Competition. The goal is to increase the collaboration between stakeholders involved and promote the projects. Teams can use the medals alongside the certificates to promote and get recognition for their hard work throughout the whole SensUs Competition.


Jury process

The Public Inspiration award is determined by votes from the public. The Creativity award and Translation Potential award are based on judgments by members of the Jury. The Jury consists of people from universities, companies, healthcare, and innovation organizations. 

A week before the Event, the Jury receives the documentation from the Teams. Via SensUs Connect, questions are asked to further clarify the information. All Jury members submit their individual grades for each Team and the final ranking is calculated. The ranking is evaluated by the entire Jury group.

Awards and Jury process





Demcom contributes to solutions for a variety of contemporary social issues. Whether they are delivering medical solutions, contributing to security, or providing sustainable solutions and high-tech innovations relating to themes like water and energy: Demcon contributes to a better world. They are a high-end technology supplier that can meet all the needs of the customer, from initial idea and concept, to prototyping, industrialization, and (series) production. Over more than 25 years, they have expanded to become the Demcon group with around 700 employees in 2020. They have clients worldwide, from the Netherlands in Europe to Asia and the US.  

​Medtronic is the global leader in medical technology, alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world. With deep roots in the treatment of heart disease, Medtronic now provides a wide range of products and therapies - every three seconds, another life is improved by a Medtronic product or therapy. Since the healthcare industry is facing immense challenges like problems of access to health care and combining improved patient outcomes and lowered overall costs, Medtronic recognizes that technology can help propel caregivers forward, who are at the center of this transformation. They are committed to partnering with others to take healthcare further, together.

Huawei is a company of nearly 200,000 people working in over 170 countries all over the world. Their focus is on information and communication devices and their applications. The integrated solutions they provide are committed to bringing digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

Device Concept Lab (DCL) is a newly formed electronics development unit in Helsinki. DCL is developing leading-edge technologies for future phones, and wearables. Wellness and health sensing are one of the important targets in the future of wearable devices and human-centric technologies. 

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26 Aug


This online workshop will clarify the needs of patients with epilepsy and of neurologists, and how their needs might be addressed by sensor development, with focus on the measurement of biomolecular parameters. 

Pitches will be given on seizures, stress, and inflammation in epilepsy, to develop a vision on what the lives of patients could look like in 2030. The workshop is organized in the framework of SensUs, the international student competition on Sensors for Health     (www.sensus.org).



15:00    Opening
        Prof. Dr. Marian Majoie and Prof. Dr. Menno Prins
15:05    Early detection of epileptic seizures
        Dr. Roland Thijs
15:30    Stress in epilepsy
        Dr. Frans Leijten
15:55    Inflammation in epilepsy
        Prof.Dr. Eleonora Aronica
16:20    Closing
        Prof. Dr. Marian Majoie and Prof. Dr. Menno Prins

Experts in the discussion forum: 

Dr. Richard Lazeron, Dr. Rob Rouhl, Dr. Olaf Schijns

Dr. Roland Thijs is neurologist at the Netherlands Epilepsy Center (SEIN), at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), and at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology of University College London (UCL). Dr. Thijs studies on premature death in epilepsy, with focus on the role of the heart and the autonomic nervous system in the onset of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Dr. Frans Leijten works at the Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology of the UMC Utrecht (UMCU). Dr. Leijten specializes in operative treatments of epilepsy, new forms of imaging, and methods to determine where the source of the epilepsy is located in the brain.

Prof. Eleonora Aronica is a professor of Neuropathology at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA). Dr. Aronica studies neuro-oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, and epilepsy. Her research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis, epileptogenesis, and pharmacoresistance of focal chronic pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Meet The Partners

27 Aug


Meet the Partners

This is the third year that a Meet the Partners event will take place! The goal of Meet the Partners is to generate interaction between our Partners and the participants of SensUs 2020. We believe that by networking, valuable connections arise which help inspire, share knowledge, and innovate. During this interactive and varied program, with pitches and case studies, participants and Partners will have the opportunity to talk to each other, learn from each other, and be inspired by each other’s stories and experiences.

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Express Venture Building program

23-28 Aug

For the first time ever, SensUs introduces the express Venture Building Program powered by HighTechXL! The express Venture Building Program is an initiative for all SensUs Alumni and their Team, to further develop and validate the biosensors developed during previous SensUs Contest years! 

This unique program offers participants the possibility to work with experts from the biosensing field who push their idea to the next level via interactive workshops, feedback sessions, contact with stakeholders to show, and elaborate their technical and business proposal. The participants are supervised by medical professionals, business experts, professors, and more to guide them through all the ins-and-outs of becoming a business. Which makes the program unique in its kind!

The participating Teams of this year will show their findings during the Startup event at Meet the Partners. During the Startup event, you can let yourself be inspired and hear the stories of the SensUs Teams before you. You can see the opportunities you and your Team have when developing your biosensor technologies.

Interested in the express Venture Building Program in 2021? Click the link to stay up to date! The express Venture Building Program is open for everyone!