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Brianna Wronko founded her own biomedical technology company, called Group K Diagnostics and the company was accepted into Dreamit, namean accelerator for healthcare innovation startups, during this past spring break.

Credit: Kasra Koushan

While many Penn students go on to become CEOs, few take on this role as students.

That is, except for Engineering senior Brianna Wronko.

In February, Wronko founded her own biomedical technology company called Group K Diagnostics (named after the letter her group was assigned in class). During this past spring break, the company was accepted into Dreamit, an accelerator for health care innovation startups.

After creating a prototype of an innovative tool that can diagnose physical health ailments for her bioengineering senior design project, Wronko started Group K to further expand on this speedy and inexpensive diagnostic apparatus.

Wronko's tool is microfluidic — which she said is "a system of pipes and tubes" that are shrunk "down to fit on a plastic slide" —  and it's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. 

Wronko said her first prototype can diagnose problems with liver functions in under 30 minutes for less than $10.

The accelerator provides Group K with a dedicated office space in Philadelphia, as well as mentorship and advice. Wronko said the director of Dreamit “is great at introducing you to the right people."

This is especially useful because Wronko is not trained in business, and she said she benefits greatly from the mentors that Dreamit provides.

One of those team members is Amelia Keaton, a fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, who joined Group K after meeting Wronko during a health care entrepreneurship class in the Wharton School. She works on regulatory requirements for the device, mapping out future clinical trials to ensure it will be approved.

“I was interested in Brianna's project," Keaton said, "because I think it has a lot of promise both for the developing world and normal doctor's offices and hospitals."

“I could see [it] being on the market within the next five years,” she added.

College senior Eric Tepper, who is sub-matriculating into the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Integrated Product Design master’s program, serves as the head of product for Group K. He plans on working full-time with Group K this summer, but now spends around 20 hours each week working with the company.

Tepper said he has gained experience in conducting interviews as well as exposure to Penn's and Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial communities through the project.

Wronko gave a lot of credit to Penn for how far she has gotten, citing the guidance she has received from faculty and from the Penn entrepreneurship community as a whole.

“So many of the faculty here have been so supportive,” Wronko said.