New Center for Medical Innovation
By: Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., MBA | Jun 10, 2012 3:31 PM
I'm thrilled to work at an institution where innovation is not only prioritized, it actually seems to be a part of our faculty and students' DNA! I'm impressed by the quality and the number of innovative ideas in our system. That's why I'm so enthusiastic about announcing our new Center for Medical Innovation, for which we will be seeking formal approval in the coming weeks.
The Center will be a place for students and faculty from diverse areas to collaborate and turn innovative ideas into actual medical products for the market. I've asked John Langell, a faculty member in the Department of Surgery and longtime champion of innovation programs, to be the Executive Director of the new Center.
John Langell and I at the recent Bench 2 Bedside Competition.
I'll share how Dr. Langell describes the Center:
"The Center is a formalization of partnerships between the College of Engineering, the colleges in the health sciences, the School of Business and the Technology Venture Development Program. Three University programs that facilitate medical device innovation have demonstrated the value of these partnerships: BioDesign, Bench to Bedside, and BioInnovate. From undergraduates an graduate students to postdocs and full-time faculty, we have been able to involve innovators at all levels. We have provided our Bioengineering undergraduate and graduate students access to the clinical environment to help them identify and understand the unmet needs of our patients and health care providers. In addition, we have provided our health sciences students and faculty access to business development expertise and engineering prototyping and design laboratories. Through these unique programs, we have enabled students, postdocs and faculty with amazing ideas to get well beyond the phase where they've published a paper on an interesting new device or discovery. Now, we work to get them through the prototyping, verification testing and commercialization phases where they can translate their ideas to actual improvements in patient care.
"Many people wonder why we focus on undergraduates, and I point out the many examples we have where an idea from a novice was the most innovative one in the field. Sometimes it takes a fresh, uncluttered look to really break out of the box we inhabit every day. In addition to work with undergrads, we will focus significantly on providing our transformative resources to cultivate the development of high-impact innovations by our faculty, who are advanced thinkers and experts in their fields.
"It's a very exciting moment in time at the University of Utah. We've been top in the nation for tech startups coming from the university environment, and we've got a tried and tested pipeline for ideas to become reality. By breaking down cross-departmental and inter-generational barriers, the Center is removing some of the few remaining obstacles to launching the University of Utah into the global forefront of medical innovation."