Wayne State School of Medicine faculty member and son make face shields for Detroit Receiving Hospital ER

Dr. Ryan Thummel (R) and his son, Eli, teamed up to help local medical staff by making over 50 face shields on their 3D printer.

DETROIT – A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member and his son teamed up to help medical staff in Detroit Receiving Hospital’s emergency room by making over 50 face shields. The face shields are much-needed pieces of personal protective equipment that protect health care professionals from any droplets while they treat patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ryan Thummel, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, visual and anatomical sciences, along with his son Eli, an 11th grader at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac and an aspiring engineer, thought it would be a great idea to put their 3D printer to work and create face shields for those at the front line helping others in the battle against COVID-19.

According to Thummel, Eli conducted the research on how to make the face shields. With the help of skills he learned from his robotics club and in school, he set out to make as many face shields as possible in a short amount of time. In just a few days, he made 50 face shields to donate to an area hospital.

“While the circumstances right now are difficult, Eli really wanted to help others in some way,” said Thummel. “He enhanced the face shields by making them in the Wayne State colors and adding the Warrior Strong logo to them. I am thrilled that these face shields could be used by our own Wayne State physicians working on the front lines. I’m proud of my son for combining his passion for all things engineering with his desire to help others.”

Thummel joined Wayne State University in 2009. His research focuses on retinal development and regeneration, as well as leukodystrophies and genetic Leukoencephalopathies, rare genetic disorders affecting myelin in the central nervous system. He is also working with a collaborative team on a project, “Kids Without Cancer Zebrafish Initiative,” which investigates the impact of potential toxins on the development of leukemia.

Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu