Product developed by GRCC grad, tested on campus named one of Time magazine's 100 Inventions of the Year

Nov. 19, 2020, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A product developed by a Grand Rapids Community College alum and tested on campus this week was today named one of the top 100 inventions of 2020 by Time magazine.

FEND is a drug-free salt- and calcium-based nasal mist that strengthens the mucus lining, helping it trap and flush out tiny pathogens. Aerosol scientist David Edwards said the product could potentially be a tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Edwards graduated from what was then Grand Rapids Junior College and taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University before founding Sensory Cloud, the company behind FEND.

Time selected 100 groundbreaking inventions “that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.” FEND is one of three products featured in the list’s “Home Health” category.

Edwards this week conducted a ground-breaking study on FEND at GRCC on Monday and Tuesday, measuring air particles breathed in and out by students, employees and community members.

Edwards taught in Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences before becoming CEO of Sensory Cloud, a Boston-based technology startup company designing solutions to problems of wellbeing and healthcare focusing on respiratory biology.

Edwards believes the FEND can be effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, especially when used in conjunction with face coverings, social distancing and other precautions.

The son of former GRCC organic and nuclear chemistry professor Ronald Edwards, David Edwards said GRCC is special to him, and he asked if the college could be the Midwest location for a groundbreaking study on the product.

Edwards started working on the product several years ago in response to threats from anthrax, but now believes it can be effective in thwarting COVID-19 infection.

After graduating from what was then GRJC in 1981, Edwards earned a Bachelor of Science from Michigan Technological University and a doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology, both in chemical engineering. He taught at MIT and Penn State University before joining the Harvard faculty for 16 years, starting in 2002.

Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.

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