|40 Under 40 Profiles|
Meet the new class of medtech industry innovators.
|David Amor (25)
Director of Business Development
Amor, a medical device R&D and quality control consultant, helped found the startup MEDgineering, a consulting firm that pairs physicians that have engineering backgrounds with medical device companies. He also serves as a senior innovation fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Medical Device Center and a guest lecturer and teaching assistant at the University of Miami Department of Biomedical Engineering.
|Ryan Bernstein (24)
While receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan, Bernstein led a team that developed a noninvasive device for detecting internal bleeding.The device won the NCIIA BMEidea competition, the largest collegiate medical device design competition in the country. He also developed eye-tracking technology and founded the biotech startup CWIC Technologies.
|Jason Buelow (36)
Director of Marketing
Pentax Medical Co.
At Pentax Medical Co., a maker of endoscopic imaging devices, Buelow leads a product management team and works to bring medical devices to market. He rescued two software products that had stalled in development and brought them to launch. Buelow holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering as well as an MBA. Before joining Pentax, he did stints at Cordis, Omnisonics Medical Technologies, and Covidien.
|Darin Buxbaum (31)
Buxbaum and his team at HourGlass Technologies are creating an incision-free treatment for morbidly obese patients. He began his medical device career at Medtronic, where he received one of the company’s highest honors, the Star of Excellence Award. He is a contributor to the Stanford Biodesign curriculum and regularly speaks at university and industry events. He has also served as a consultant to life science companies.
| Devon C. Campbell (39)
Director, Engineering and Systems
Novartis Molecular Diagnostics
Campbell, a lecturer, senior project mentor, and industrial partner board member of the University of Arizona, received the Young Professional Achievement Award from the University of Arizona Alumni Association in 2010. He contributed to two products that won gold Medical Design Excellence Awards and has worked with elementary and middle school students to share engineering fundamentals.
Stacey Chang (37)
In addition to his work at IDEO, Stacey has founded financial services software companies and led the early development of Intuitive Surgical’s pediatric instrument platform. He also actively mentors several technology start-ups in Silicon Valley. In all his engagements, Stacey is devoted to using design thinking and developing technology towards the betterment of the human condition.
| John Chopack (37)
Chopack used investment and operational skills to make significant contributions to the orthopedics and dental industries. His achievements include the sourcing, building, and selling of Nexa Orthopedics to Tornier; the sourcing and development of BioHorizons; and work with Blue Belt Technologies Inc. on a surgical robotics platform that provides potential cost-efficient and improved outcomes to joint replacement patients.
| Seth Cooper (30)
Center for Game Science, University of Washington
Seth Cooper researches ways to use video games to solve difficult scientific problems. He is the cocreator, lead designer, and developer of Foldit, an online game that turns protein folding and design into competitive, interactive puzzles. Foldit aims to teach human puzzle-solving strategies to computers in the hopes of discovering faster, more efficient ways to fold proteins.
| Teyfik Demir (29)
After Demir founded biomechanical research and testing firm Labiotech, the first implant testing laboratory in Turkey, the number of spinal and trauma implant manufacturers in the country tripled. Labiotech now serves 14 countries. Demir, an assistant professor at TOBB University of Economics and Technology, also founded the university’s first clinical biomechanics lab.
Nancy Dougherty (24)
After earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Dougherty worked on technology in Europe, Japan, and Africa. She returned to the United States to design electronics at Proteus Biomedical, where she makes unobtrusive body-worn systems that monitor sleep, activity, and medication ingestion, and upload the data through a smartphone.
|Sean Duffy (28)
Cofounder and CEO
Duffy cofounded diabetes prevention startup Omada Health. He previously worked at design firm IDEO, where he and his cofounder Adrian James were challenged with exploring new business and product opportunities in chronic disease prevention. Duffy left IDEO to commercialize a platform to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The company was able to raise enough venture capital to bring its vision to market.
| David Dykeman (39)
Patent Attorney & Shareholder
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Dykeman developed intellectual property strategies for medtech clients that raised more than $200 million in venture capital financing. He serves on the board of directors of Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) and is the cochair of the intellectual property department in Greenberg Traurig’s Boston office. He has written 35 articles and presented at 30 conferences and is MD+DI’s newest Editorial Advisory Board member.
Evan Edwards (32)
“If you look at the medtech industry, there’s been a huge gap in relation to designing drug delivery products for the end user,” Edwards says. “More and more products are becoming personalized; medicine is getting out of the hospital, out of the doctor’s office and into the users’ hands.”
Intelliject is currently moving forward with its flagship product, e-cue, which is designed for treating severe allergies and anaphylaxis. Edwards credits his various mentors and the team assembled at Intelliject for getting him to this point so quickly. “At 32 years old I’ve been very blessed to have the management team and the team around us,” he says. “My biggest mentor is our leadership team at Intelliject, CEO Spencer Williamson, [but] it’s hard to just pick one. My professors [at the University of Virginia], in particular within human factors, Mike Gorman, Larry Richards, and Stephanie Guerlain really believed in us pursuing this idea and the company and gave us the flexibility to work on it outside of academia.”
As a member of the University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, Edwards urges young people like himself to look toward medtech and for the medtech industry to continue embracing them. “More and more students are becoming entrepreneurs, and it’s driving innovation earlier,” he says. “You’re working on something that can truly impact patient lives. And you’re also going into an industry that is very stable.”
| Stefanie Förster (24)
Junior Product Manager
Dräeger Medical Electronics Design
At 22, Förster became the youngest product manager in Dräger Medical history. She collaborates with a working group that includes industry representatives, doctors, and nurses to develop new hygienic standards. In her first year on the job, she increased turnover of her product groups by 20%. She also speaks Spanish and spent four months doing market research in Chile.
Brad Gray (35)
“One of the elements that attracted me to diagnostics was the opportunity to have the same tremendous impact on patient care that is possible with great drugs, but with a much faster product development cycle,” he says. “Molecular diagnostics in oncology is a particularly vibrant and fast-moving field.”
He also notes the challenges of working in the healthcare. “Historically, innovation in diagnostic development has not translated into pricing that reflects the health-economic value of the information that diagnostic tests provide,” he says. Gray admits that model is changing and that diagnostics are being recognized as high impact products but says it’s not happening fast enough. Companies must do their part to support adoption and reimbursement through large and well-designed clinical trials, he says.
Such work takes resources. “Our resources, in particular our scarce management bandwidth, demand that we prioritize and focus on developing a limited number of these potential products in a very high-quality way,” Gray says. “This prioritization represents the most difficult set of choices that I face.”
But these problems don’t get Gray down. “All I ever wanted to do when I grew up was use cutting-edge science to help people,” he says. “When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am to lead NanoString.”
|Uday Gupta (38)
Global Cell Solutions and ProteiosBio
Gupta is the CEO of Global Cell Solutions, a biotech company focused on development of a patent-pending cell culturing technique with potential applications in medicine, research, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and orthobiologics. Gupta built Global Cell Solutions on an award winning business plan and the company has become a leader in the field of three-dimensional biology and therapeutics. In addition, he recently co-founded another company, ProteiosBio, to leverage the same technology to produce plant-made biologics, including medical foods and edible vaccines.
| Steph Habif (36)
Healthcare Design Strategist, Lecturer
Stanford University d.school
Habif is a health educator turned design strategist experimenting with persuasive technologies for health behavior change. She works with healthtech startups, design agencies, and healthcare firms to integrate new behavior and teaches a course at Stanford University’s d.school to develop “calming technologies” to mitigate stress and lead to better health, learning, and happiness.
|Chris Henza (29)
Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Regulatory Compliance Associates Inc.
Henza has a passion for advancing the cause of compliance. She interfaces with regulatory authorities for small and large companies both domestic and international, and has written papers in leading journals, lectured at key conferences, and participated in industry events. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
|Brian Hipszer (34)
Research Biomedical Engineer
Thomas Jefferson University
Hipszer is in the process of developing and testing a mechanical artificial pancreas system for insulin management in patients with type 1 diabetes. His PhD thesis work focused on the development of a computer model that is being used to integrate a continuous glucose monitoring system (glucose sensor) and an insulin pump.
Crystal Icenhour (39)
| Zen Koh (39)
Hocoma Pte Ltd
Koh provides leadership and management for medical devices and services for people with disabilities. He is also founder and CEO of START Centre, an international convention for rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology. Under his leadership, START was awarded the Economic Development Board Locally-based Enterprise Advancement Program. He previously served as assistant chief executive for the Singapore National Cooperative Federation.
Justin Lampropoulos (29)
|Tan Le (34)
President and Founder
Le founded Emotiv Systems to create a consumer electroencephalography (EEG) interface that enables users to control physical electronics using only the power of thought. Imagine, for instance, a wheelchair that can be directed only with brain signals. The company’s first product, the Emotiv EPOC wireless neuroheadset, has a price tag a fraction of traditional EEG units.
|Adam Madoian (36)
IT Consultant and Inventor
Madoian designs affordable medical imaging systems using video and telemedicine, such as a low-cost HD video capture system for stroboscopic analysis and diagnosis of the vocal cords. He created an HD endoscope video system that captures high-resolution images from fiberscopes and enables archiving, sharing, and EMR support. His current projects include an iPhone endoscope for mobile video capture and telemedicine communications.
Philippe Marchand (39)
Andrew Marshall (39)
“When I went back to graduate school, I gravitated to the biomedical field because I wanted to work on something that directly benefited people,” Marshall says. “Now I feel good because if we achieve our goals at Healionics and bring catheter infection-control technology to dialysis patients, we’ll be bringing a better quality of life to a lot of people.”
Marshall is one of the cofounders of Healionics Corp., which launched in 2007 and now has 11 employees. He’s also a coinventor of STAR biomaterial, a porous scaffold material for implanted medical devices that promotes healing and reduces scars and the risk of infection. After inventing STAR during his graduate study at the University of Washington, he dedicated his postdoctoral fellowship to moving the material toward commercialization.
During this journey, Marshall has been a principal or coinvestigator on nine government grants related to the STAR material, and he regularly serves on reviewer panels for NIH Small Business Innovation Research grant applications. In 2010, Marshall helped to found iSTAR Medical, a Healionics-owned Belgian subsidiary, with the goal of commercializing ophthalmic devices based on STAR biomaterial. There’s still much more work to be done, and Marshall says the best is yet to come.
“While I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved, I go to work each day with the attitude that my most important accomplishments are still ahead of me,” he says.
|Ellis Meng (37)
Associate Professor of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering
University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering
Meng is an inventor, entrepreneur, and researcher whose work has produced five patents and a dozen patent applications. She is the cofounder of Fluid Synchrony LLC, a startup looking to advance implantable high performance drug infusion micropumps for laboratory research, preclinical research, and clinical use.
|Ashik Mohan (32)
Director of Engineering
At LAAx, Mohan was the designer behind the TigerPaw System, a device for left atrial appendage closure that received FDA clearance in 2010. He also worked on innovative products at Barosense, where he developed a weight-loss implant that can be delivered through the mouth, and Cardima, where he designed a novel RF ablation catheter for atrial fibrillation.
|Jasmin Nuhic (31)
Engineering Program Manager
Nuhic has served the medtech industry for more than 12 years, with stints at Medtronic, Smith and Nephew, and Wright Medical Technology. He led a Six Sigma project that resulted in $390,000 in annual savings and increased speed to market by 20%. He also served as project manager on a spinal product used under humanitarian device exemption for pediatric patients.
| Andrea Pais (28)
At contract design firm SB Microsystems, Pais develops custom microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidic chips for use in products such as implantable medical devices and point-of-care diagnostics. She has worked on neural probes for electrophysiology and Parkinson’s treatment, a microfluidic chip for DNA analysis, and an optically-interrogated microsystem for in vivo chemical analysis.
Frank Palmer (26)
“I realized there were two paths I could take,” Palmer says. “The first was to continue on the road of being a doctor, where I figured I could help a few hundred people per year and get to know them all. The second path was to work in medical devices, where I could help a few thousand people a year, but I wouldn’t know any of them.”
He chose the latter route and hasn’t looked back. While serving as research project coordinator at MSKCC, a position he still holds, a surgeon approached Palmer about collaborating on an online cancer education portal that patients could use at different points in their diagnosis. That project didn’t come to fruition, but Palmer was undeterred.
A product that combines a laser with a flexible endoscope for better surgical control is showing more promise. Palmer joined the team, which also includes two engineers and a surgeon—all more than two decades his senior—in March, and a month later the group formed a company, ColdSteel Laser, to continue development.
Palmer’s contributions include financial modeling, market research, interfacing with potential investors, and hashing out a business strategy to commercialize the product. Thanks to an initial grant from MSKCC, the company has developed a prototype. ColdSteel Laser is currently among the finalists to receive a second grant from the center, which Palmer says could help it complete the software and bring the product into animal testing.
|Shawn Regan (39)
Regan cofounded Rhythmlink in 2002. He helped obtain a patent for the disposable webbed EEG electrode and a stimulating probe, cemented partnerships with several spine companies, and helped to build four product lines at Rhythmlink. He serves as the vice president of the SC MedTech executive committee in South Carolina and has been involved in several other life sciences organizations in the state.
|Ting Shen (37)
Cofounder and CEO
Shen develops next-generation intelligent medical devices through integration of information technologies, microimaging, and biomedicine. Her products are designed to diagnose surfaces, tissues, and cell transformations remotely via mobile imaging or at the point-of-care.
|Ryan Schoenefeld (39)
Schoenefeld is listed as an inventor on several patents involving minimally invasive and other surgical products and manufacturing methods. He works closely with manufacturing and quality engineers in the development of custom total knee arthroplasty cutting blocks, software, and instruments that are used in computer-assisted surgery.
|J.C. Scott (39)
Senior Executive Vice President and Director
In addition to his role as senior executive vice president, Scott serves as the director of bipartisan government affairs at AdvaMed. He joined AdvaMed from the American Council of Life Insurers, where he served as senior vice president of federal relations. Before that, he served as deputy director for policy at the House Republican Conference.
|Amy Sheng (34)
An entrepreneur focused on bringing cell phone microscopy into the home, Sheng has led a team of engineers developing an FDA-approved automated imaging analyzer that incorporates robotics, microscopy, and image processing and pattern recognition software of white blood cells. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and is an MBA candidate at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
| Josh Silvertown (34)
Vice President of Corporate Development
Silvertown is the vice president of corporate development for Quantum Dental Technologies, the Toronto-based innovator and manufacturer of The Canary System—a handheld, laser-based detection tool for early tooth decay.
Halle Tecco (28)
Tecco and Harvard Business School classmate Nate Gross cofounded Rock Health with the idea of bringing together the tech world and the healthcare sector. “We wanted to bring the bold, creative tech culture to the healthcare space,” she says. “Healthcare is a very complex, siloed system, and starting a new venture in this space is not easy without access to the stakeholders. We founded Rock Health on that principle. As software development and hardware costs and are declining, there is a huge role for the entrepreneur and innovator to develop new solutions.”
Rock Health aspires to connect the best innovators,operators, and ideas with the resources of larger institutions, Tecco explains. “We work very closely with payers, providers, and some of the biggest corporate players, from Quest Diagnostics to Qualcomm to Nike,” she says.
Asked what it takes to be successful as a healthcare entrepreneur, Tecco cites the importance of compassion for patients. “The entrepreneurs we work with have a very visceral connection to the problem and to the people that are being helped,” she says. “If there are ingredients for success, one of them is having people who are in it for a bigger reason, a higher purpose than just making money. Making money will follow, and it helps you do even more good. But let’s do good first. Let’simprove the system first. That has been a really good metric for us.”
Neil Tierney (34)
The Future Customer
Tierney is working to transform healthcare through his various businessventures. His focus is transforming energy and health data into knowledge tohelp empower people to make better-informed decisions in their lives. Hislatest service, Sherpaa, provides patients in New York City with 24/7 e-mailand phone access to doctors.
John X.J. Zhang (39)