Christopher Di Capua, 20 & John Di Capua, 23

You could call it the mother of all high school science projects. In 2007, when they were students at Byram Hills High School, Armonk brothers John (right) and Christopher Di Capua started work on a medical device (as part of the Intel Science Talent Search) that could one day save tens of thousands of lives. Called AVAC—short for Automatic Ventilation with Assisted Compression—their now-patented medical machinery is designed to deliver oxygen to a person receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation following cardiac arrest. And the research is telling: The survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is only 10 percent when CPR is delivered by a lay person or bystander, compared with more than 50 percent in hospitals where patients are given oxygen during treatment. Given that sudden heart attacks are a leading cause of death in the United States, the Di Capuas’ invention has the potential to save many lives, which is what drives them. “Even if we can improve the survival rate by one percent, that’s 10,000 people,” John says. The brothers are currently in talks with venture capitalists and commercial-engineering companies to commercialize their product and obtain FDA approval.


• John, 23, graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in biomaterials engineering and nanotechnology in 2014, earning a master’s degree in population health a year later. He currently attends the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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• Christopher, 20, is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree (with a double major in chemistry and sociology), an MBA and a medical degree as part of a combined program with Union College and Albany Medical School.

• The brothers were granted a US patent in 2014 and have another one pending in 2015. Their patents extend internationally to Europe and Asia.

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