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Medical Device Leader Invents New Opportunities for Students | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
August 29, 2016
Dan Mooradian

It makes sense that an accomplished inventor, entrepreneur and med tech executive would help mold the next generation of medical device leaders.

But for Dr. Dan Mooradian, director of graduate studies for the Master of Science in Medical Device Innovation (MDI) degree program, it goes beyond simply training engineers to be well-rounded professionals; it’s about improving the industry as a whole.

“We always focus on what is going to help our students meet the needs of their employers. I’ve been an executive, so I know what they’re looking for when they’re hiring and promoting.”

Dr. Mooradian is originally from Michigan, but it was in Minnesota – home to half of the world’s medical device companies – where he began his successful career.

“I came to the University of Minnesota to do my postdoctoral fellowship in laboratory medicine and pathology, and I ended up staying.”

Since then, Dr. Mooradian has worked at companies like Synovis Life Technologies, Baxter International and Boston Scientific, in positions ranging from an individual inventor and researcher to vice president. In 2013, he joined the Technological Leadership Institute to help launch its third and newest Master of Science degree program: Medical Device Innovation. Dr. Mooradian’s background and experience made him the perfect fit for the director of graduate studies role.

“My career as a research scientist at the University of Minnesota, and my experience as a member of the teaching faculty in the biomedical engineering program helps me understand the research and discovery side of the industry,” he says. “Having then spent 15 years applying that research to innovation, I have a unique perspective on what we can do for our students to prepare them to make a difference in the medical device industry.”

That preparation involves courses in technology innovation management, interpersonal effectiveness and team dynamics, finance and more. According to Dr. Mooradian, the ideal M.S. in Medical Device Innovation student will enter the program fairly early in their career.

“MDI students should be, above all, passionate about the medical technology industry, innovation and improving healthcare outcomes. Those with one to five years of experience will benefit the most from the program. They need to understand some things, but not everything.”

As far as their professional experience, Dr. Mooradian believes diversity is highly beneficial.

“Students should generally have training in science or engineering, and if not, they should bring some other unique and relevant experience to the cohort. For example, we have a clothing designer in the program right now who brings a mature sense of aesthetics; a combination of function and design. We also have students who are MBAs working in the new business development or product management. The MDI program complements their business understanding.”

No matter what their background, Dr. Mooradian says MDI offers students a unique combination of a deep understanding of the industry as well as an opportunity to explore the principles of entrepreneurship.

“Students will learn a lot about entrepreneurship but also intrapreneurship, which is invaluable to their work in established companies. And they’ll build meaningful relationships with peers that will last throughout their professional career.”

Dr. Mooradian is considered an expert in his field, regularly sharing his knowledge with others by serving on industry panels, such as “Emerging Medical Trends Every Device Company Should Know About” at the Minneapolis Medical Design & Manufacturing event in September 2016. He’s also recently edited and contributed a chapter to a new textbook, titled “Extracellular Matrix-derived Implants in Clinical Medicine,” focused on tissue implant development and use.

“I felt there was a need for a textbook directed at the practical issues that product developers as well as customers in the industry face,” he explains. “It’s aimed at R&D professionals and physicians at the cutting edge of biologics (tissue implants).”

Although he has no immediate plans to use this textbook in MDI courses, Dr. Mooradian is always looking for ways to give students what they need to succeed.

“We strive for continuous improvement. Each year, we review the curriculum to make sure it’s more meaningful and responsive,” he says. “We want to grow, not just by increasing the number of students in the program, but by increasing their impact. We want our students to be prepared to translate what they learn into real opportunities for innovation that will positively impact their companies. That’s how we measure our success.”

Meet Dr. Mooradian and learn more about the M.S. in Medical Device Innovation degree program by attending an upcoming information session.

My career as a research scientist at the University of Minnesota, and my experience as a member of the teaching faculty in the biomedical engineering program helps me understand the research and discovery side of the industry. Having then spent 15 years applying that research to innovation, I have a unique perspective on what we can do for our students to prepare them to make a difference in the medical device industry.

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