Terp Startup Synapto Looks to Change the Game for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the ten student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer accelerator phase of our Fearless Founders program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.


Synapto co-founders Anoop Patel and David Boegner


Co-Founder and Lead Machine Learning Engineer: Anoop Patel ’20, Bioengineering major, Computer Science minor
Co-Founder and Lead Systems Engineer: David Boegner ’20, Bioengineering major

Not in Terp Startup:
Co-Founder and CEO: Dhruv Patel ’20, Bioengineering major
Co-Founder and CTO: Chris Look ’20, Bioengineering, Computer Science double major
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer: Megha Guggari, ’20, Computer Science major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Synapto: Synapto is an early stage biotech venture aiming to revolutionize the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease through portable electroencephalogram (EEG) and machine learning. This technology allows for a cheaper, faster and more quantitative method of detection in comparison to current qualitative questionnaires and costly neuroimaging techniques (PET, MRI). Detecting the disease earlier allows more time for financial and legal planning, and provides the opportunity to enter clinical trials sooner, improving the drug development landscape.

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Synapto: As members of the Biomedical Engineering Society, we were invited to participate in a medical device competition (DEBUT) sponsored by NIH. We had interest in machine learning and EEG and brainstormed ways to use data collected by EEG to let machine learning find patterns between healthy patients and those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

Synapto: We have collaborated with institutions around the globe to retrieve EEG data from healthy and Alzheimer’s patients. Using this data along with software we created, we have been able to correctly classify around 80% of the patient dataset.

DC: What drives you to keep going?

Synapto: All of us in Synapto have a goal of making healthcare more accessible, and we believe what we are creating can contribute to this vision. Considering Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, we realize the huge potential impact we can have on accelerating the discovery of a cure.

DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?

Synapto: We love to hear about the work other student entrepreneurs are pursuing, and directly engaging with them allows us to learn about a wide range of ideas and technologies in a short timespan. It is amazing to be surrounded by people who are extremely passionate about what they are doing, as it inspires us to work even harder.

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?

Synapto: During Terp Startup, we hope to grow both our data science and general business knowledge. With regards to Synapto specifically, we want to create a finalized data analysis pipeline and improve our machine learning algorithm to create a more accurate detection model. Furthermore, we wish to finalize preparations for our next major phase: conducting a clinical pilot study to collect proprietary data and perform our own data analytics.


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