Minnesota’s Medical Alley has been a global leader in the medical device industry for years. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Improvement, it is the number one health technology cluster in the world. The state’s innovators hold the most medical device patents per capita in the United States, and the University of Minnesota plays a central role in both innovation and training in the medical health technology field, spending over $1 billion annually on research and development alone.
Paul Iaizzo, a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, is a key figure in the medical device industry and can speak to the landscape of medical device innovation and how the U of M is moving the industry forward. He explains that the Institute for Engineering in Medicine’s Innovation Week, which will take place from April 11-15, 2022, will highlight advances and new directions in medical engineering. The event will showcase cutting-edge research from a variety of specialties, including the work done at the Visible Heart Laboratory, which is transforming preclinical trials in the medical device industry.
Minnesota has the highest density of medical device companies in the world, and approximately 70 percent of the state’s health professionals have had some level of training at the University of Minnesota. The Visible Heart Laboratory, which Iaizzo helped to establish in 1997, has trained hundreds of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical students entering the medical device industry.
The research being done at the Visible Heart Laboratory is needed to move medical device innovation forward prior to clinical trials. The lab performs a variety of preclinical research on medical devices, the majority of which are cardiovascular. Along with actively training the next generation of medical device innovators, the laboratory focuses on outreach and STEM education for younger students.
During the IEM Innovation Week, Dr. William Durfee and Dr. Iaizzo will be leading an all-day Innovation Workshop, sharing the essentials of being a medical technology innovator and key opinion leader. In addition to the Innovation Workshop, the Visible Heart Laboratory will be hosting the Heart to Learn educational exhibit on April 12 and 13. This hands-on exhibit will include plastinized and 3D printed human hearts as well as a VR experience.
Dr. Iaizzo is a professor in the Medical School at the University of Minnesota and serves in the graduate faculties for Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, Integrative Biology & Physiology, Biological Science, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and Mechanical Engineering. He is the director of the M
alignant Hyperthermia Diagnostic Center and Medtronic Professor of Visible Heart Research. Additionally, he is the Associate Director and Medtronic Chair of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, also at the University of Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota is a driving force behind medical device innovation, and the work being done at the Visible Heart Laboratory is a prime example of this. The lab’s research is critical to the development of medical devices and their success in clinical trials. The fact that the lab also focuses on outreach and STEM education for younger students is a testament to the University of Minnesota’s commitment to advancing the medical device industry and inspiring the next generation of innovators.
In conclusion, the University of Minnesota and its Visible Heart Laboratory are at the forefront of medical device innovation. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine’s Innovation Week will provide a platform for showcasing the latest advances in the field and educating the next generation of medical device innovators. With Minnesota’s reputation as a global leader in the medical device industry, it’s clear that the University of Minnesota will continue to play a central role in moving the industry forward.