BMES Clinical Session with Physicians Recap


One of the challenges in biomedical engineering careers is developing an understanding of current and anticipated unmet clinical needs, and how to address those needs with existing and new technologies.

On October 7th, 2016, at the BMES (Biomedical Engineering Society) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Insight Product Development and Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law sponsored a session titled “Clinical Session with Physicians”. During that session, engineering students and professionals gathered to learn how a group of world-class doctor innovators are facing this challenge.
Jonathan Gunn (co-founder of Briteseed) and Omid Veiseh (founding scientist of sigilon) kicked the session off, to a standing room only crowd, with an introduction of the panel members. Leslie Oster, the Director of Northwestern’s Master of Science in Law program, also spoke briefly how Northwestern’ MSL program prepares STEM professionals for today’s fast-paced economy.

Farzad Azimpour, M.D., discussed how he, as a physician, approaches design thinking and innovation within the medical device space.

Danny Sachs, M.D., discussed his experience in coming up with ideas, testing them, and then bringing them to the market. His advice?

“Not every idea will be a winner, be prepared for that and get back up and try again if you fail; but fail as early as possible. Also, get creative and immerse yourself as an Innovation Fellow.”

Dr. Kendall Lee had everyone on the edge of their seats explaining the process of how he’s developed new and innovative deep brain stimulation techniques to help Parkinson’s and Paralysis patients.

The session capped off with questions from the audience. Students were very curious to know how the physician panel members chose the direction of their careers and how they “knew” it was the right path for them . Answers ranged from “I wasn’t smart enough to be a neurologist so I decided to become a brain surgeon” (Lee) to “You never know if you’re on the right path, you just pick a direction and do your best with the choice you’ve made. “ (Spector)

Jonathan Gunn said that “The event turnout was above and beyond expectations, and I’m looking forward to hopefully being involved in BMES’ Annual Meeting next year as well.”

Learn more about the session’s world-class innovators below.

Danny Sachs, MD

Entrepreneur/University of Minnesota
Danny works with engineers to start medical device companies.  He founded or co-founded Mainstay Medical (IPO in 2014), CoTherix (acquired), Respicardia, Amphora, and several other venture-backed companies. He serves part-time as Associate Director of the Innovation Fellows Program at the U of Minnesota.

Kendall Lee, MD, PhDkendall-lee-mdphd
Mayo Clinic
The research interests of Kendall are to develop deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, tremor, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and epilepsy.  Dr. Lee is fascinated with the possibility of combining sophisticated electrophysiological recordings with miniaturized analytical elements (microprocessors) to augment or repair disrupted function of the brain.

Farzad Azimpour, MDfarzad-azimpourmd
Farzad is a Biodesigner and Cardiologist in the Design for Health group at IDEO Palo Alto. He serves as an advisor and liaison to the Stanford Biodesign Fellowship Program and practices medicine through the United States Veterans Health Administration.

Jason A. Spector, M.D., FACSitem1882319_185px
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Medical Medical Center
Dr. Jason Spector’s primary clinical interests include reconstructive microsurgery of the head & neck, breast and lower extremities as well as cosmetic surgery. He is a nationally-renowned board-certified plastic surgeon, and an Associate Professor of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Medical Medical Center.