Enlighten Mobility Harnesses Data to Diagnose and Treat Neuromotor Abnormalities
Marissa Koscielski founded Enlighten Mobility in 2017 when she was a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame to challenge the status quo of mobility care.
Koscielski understands the pain, frustration, and discouragement of neuromotor conditions first-hand. As a teenager, she suffered temporary unilateral immobility—paralysis of her left side. After receiving amazing care at Mayo Clinic, and not regaining the ability to walk, she refused to give up.
“I strapped braces to a walker,” Koscielski said, “and built a contraption that held my weight and allowed me to use my arms move my legs. After many failed attempts, I finally had something I could use independently but it was not pleasant. Eventually I began to have muscle responses. It took about a year of dedicated rehabilitation to get back to near-normal gait.”
The team at Mayo told Koscielski that she should develop a device for other people with loss of mobility, and even though she was still in high school, the thought lodged in her mind. She earned her master’s degree in engineering and entrepreneurship from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied the technology void in diagnosis and treat neuromotor abnormalities. Once her research confirmed the technology void in the marketplace, Enlighten Mobility came to be.
Early Diagnosis and Intervention To Change Outcomes
Enlighten Mobility is a medical device company that provides early intervention solutions to diagnose and treat the loss of mobility due to neuromotor disorders. These are conditions that are caused by damage to the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system that typically affect movement and motor ability. The impairments can occur at or before birth, can be developmental, or result from an injury, illness, amputation, or stroke.
“We harness data to diagnose and treat neuromotor abnormalities,” Koscielski said. “We are approaching the launch of our first commercial technology, diagnostics that screen for neuromotor abnormalities that appear in babies at birth.”
The GMat is the first automated, non-invasive neuromotor screening and is a patented technology developed through an exclusive license agreement with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The GMat uses artificial intelligence to detect patterns of variability in newborns that the human eye cannot see. The GMat can serve as an indicator for further testing and accelerates the path to earlier diagnosis and action to potentially mitigate the loss of vital developmental opportunities.
The baby is placed on a mat that collects data. The real magic is in the software algorithms that can ‘see’ the patterns of variability,” Koscielski said. “Ideally, a neuromotor abnormality that can be detected earlier could be treated earlier. Every baby could be screened at birth instead of waiting for symptoms to appear.
Driving Innovation for Diagnostic Devices and Rehabilitation Technologies
“When I was sick, I did know if I was ever going to walk again,” Koscielski said, “I used to find ways to spend more time out of my wheelchair. I wasn’t overly creative, but I needed to the space to figure out what I needed for myself. That experience gave me the empathy to start a business to fix a significant problem.”
Enlighten Mobility is working with leading institutions, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to develop a robust pipeline of solutions. The Enlight Gait Trainer, for example, is a patented walking device designed to enable lower limb amputees to move from sitting to standing within days of surgery and to move autonomously without the risk of falling.
Enlighten Mobility is growing a network of collaborators and advisors who want to join in challenging the status quo of mobility care. “Additionally,” Koscielski said, “parents are such an integral part of care. They are their own advocates. A key part of our strategy is working with large children’s hospitals and academic institutions. We are already engaged with six on clinical research and data collection.”
Koscielski has worked to assemble a team that takes a human-centered approach to innovation, who wanted to design products for patients’ functionality and usability. “Notre Dame provided access to talent in those early days,” she said. “Because we are working on something that has significance in terms of humanity, our connections grew really quickly. We were able to attract and bring in incredible talent and people.”
Enlighten Mobility is located in Rev1 Venture’s innovation center, Rev1 Labs.
“I have been working with Rev1 since before I founded the company,” Koscielski said. “Their advisors helped us with strategy, in forming clinical relationships, and in early prototype phases. They helped me pivot until we had something that was really strong.”
Koscielski says that as an entrepreneur she asks herself the same question every day: What is going to drive value?
“Being such an early stage startup, you have to figure out which foot is the right foot. When you are in it, it feels like you are taking baby steps, and then we are offered relationships that we never thought we would have. Then working with patients and their caregivers. Nothing is more rewarding than that.”