J. SONGER, PH.D. — Founder, MakerMask.org

Jocelyn E. Songer, B.S. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Biomedical Engineering); M.S. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Biomedical Engineering); Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology).

I am a Harvard- MIT trained Engineer and Researcher with a focus on medical technology development. Throughout my career in both academia and industry I have worked to bring the latest scientific and technical advancements into the clinic, and to bring critical feedback from patients and clinicians back to the lab to fuel ongoing development efforts. My experience in a broad range of scientific, clinical, and government settings has given me critical insights into the unique demands of medical device development, implementation, and evaluation from multiple perspectives. My areas of expertise include medical device design and clinical evaluation, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and medical writing.

2020 Mask Efforts

In early March when it became clear that the global shortages of medical masks were not going to resolve quickly, I focused 100% of my efforts on researching, developing, and testing alternatively sourced mask materials and designs. Through this work I discovered that the breathable water-resistant material used in surgical masks and N95s, nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP), was commonly available from other sources (e.g. re-usable grocery bags, surgical wrap, and interfacing) and could be repurposed for use in masks. With promising preliminary data, I joined the global COVID-19 volunteer efforts working towards solutions to personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. Since then, I have been spearheading efforts to develop alternatively sourced, locally available, mask solutions for health care providers and fabric masks for community members as quickly, safely, and effectively as possible. These volunteer efforts include:

  • Founder and Technical Lead of MakerMask (MakerMask.org), a group of volunteers providing information and research about NWPP mask materials and designs to aid global communities of sewists, makers and manufacturers in their local efforts. We are collaborating with groups worldwide to support their local mask making efforts.
  • Project Lead for Cloth Mask Initiatives at Helpful Engineering, a volunteer-run nonprofit incubator organization with a community of 16,000 engineers, scientists, and doctors around the world dedicated to helping address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Scientific Advisor, The MassK Project, a volunteer-led manufacturing collaborative in my community (rural Massachusetts) creating and donating thousands of masks to community members and health care providers. The MassK Project is also developing longer-term plans for locally sustainable businesses manufacturing FDA-approved PPE.

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