The second semester of GMI has been moving by quickly and we’ve been making a lot of progress on our projects. Recently the focus has been on our team design project, working to improve peritoneal dialysis in Costa Rica. Michael, Luis, and Dr. Richardson came back from their trip to Costa Rica with a lot of important information and answered questions, and we got right back to work applying them to our designs. We’ve actually already planned yet another trip to Costa Rica that Michael, Dr. Richardson, and I will be on at the end of March, where we’ll be able to work more directly with the patients we hope to help and get their feedback on our initial designs and prototypes. It’s a good thing Costa Rica is only a short 3 hour flight away!
Aside from our projects and elective classes, there’s another class that is part of the GMI program that I’ve really enjoyed recently. Medical Technology Design Seminar, which is open to other Bioengineering students as well, involves speakers that come in each week to give talks about different aspects of the medical technology industry. These talks provide great opportunities for networking and for learning more about areas of the industry we may or may not be familiar with.
A few weeks ago we heard from Dan Watkins from Mercury Fund, a venture capital firm that that invests in start-ups, including many in the medical device and software areas. It was interesting to hear about the business and financial side of the industry and how the firm decides whether to invest in a new company that could potentially have a large impact. Last week we heard from Paul Iaizzo, Principal Investigator of the Visible Heart Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. The lab performs translational systems physiology research, and it was exciting to hear about and see videos of projects they have worked on.
Through this course we’ve heard from professionals from large companies, small companies, academia, and more. Each speaker has given us unique insights into the medical technology and beyond, and this course has been very valuable as I decide which direction I would like to go in the industry.