A 22-Year-Old SMU Student Is Aiming To Change The Way Asthma Is Managed

Edward Allegra, a 22-year-old senior at Southern Methodist University, wants to ease processes associated with managing asthma.

By Alex Stewart

Managing asthma can be time consuming and painful. You’re subject to allergy tests and X-Rays. Your lung capacity is measured by blowing into a spirometer, a small device that looks something like a breathalyzer. After your lungs swell and become inflamed, the symptoms are diagnosed through another series of invasive tests known as bronchoprovocation.

Edward Allegra, a 22-year-old senior at Southern Methodist University, wants to ease that process. Allegra has launched a company named BioLum Sciences and has developed a smartphone-enabled device that targets a chemical in a user’s breath sample. The concentration of said chemical can tip off the presence and severity of asthma without all the previous tests. The results can then be shared with a doctor.

“I need to make this become a reality. I want someone to come to me and say how much better their life is because of what I’ve done here,” says Allegra. “I think that’s the end goal.”

Allegra’s invention recently won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, a program created at the John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University that recognizes exceptional undergraduates who manage schoolwork while also running their own nonprofit business. The program provides mentorship, recognition, and connections needed to further develop their business.

Professor Simon Mak, who teaches entrepreneurship courses at SMU, discovered BioLum through the chemistry department. Mak was looking to put together a student team for a local business competition at TCU.

“He is a very quick learner,” Mak said of Allegra. “Once he sets his mind on an objective, he goes after it with great effort and focus. He has maturity beyond his years. His success reflects a SMU and Dallas culture that will bend over backwards to help bright, hardworking, serious student entrepreneurs.”

Read the full story.