CAREERS IN... Biomedical Engineering

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION: Health & Science Career Advice

An infusion of new products and product development in bioengineering is fueling this job market sector in the D.C. metro area. Donna N. Lee, President of Lee Heagy & Company, a D.C.-area life sciences executive search firm with more than 30 years of industry experience, said she is seeing job growth in every aspect of the bioengineering industry, from research and development to clinical, regulatory and manufacturing specializations. “As more products are approved by the FDA, the job growth should continue.”

Biomedical engineering, also known as bioengineering, is the application of engineering concepts and techniques to medical devices and equipment. Practically, biomedical engineering primarily aims at providing solutions to challenges experienced in the healthcare industry.

Local companies like WellDoc® and CSA Medical™, which produce innovative medical devices, are driving job growth in the biotech sector in the area. “These are high-growth, emerging technology firms,” Martha J. Connolly, Ph.D., director, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, said.

In two years’ time, WellDoc, a six-year-old developer of tools to manage diabetes, grew from two to 90 employees. CSA Medical, which developed a device system that allows physicians to easily freeze and eradicate unwanted human tissue, grew from a single employee to 20 in a very short time, according to Connolly.

A local academic institution is also stimulating biotech job growth in the D.C. area through a two-year-old student program at the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design (CBID) at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Youseph Yazdi, PhD, MBA and director of the CBID program said that students are already churning out local start-up companies and producing cost-saving clinical products and product innovations.

Yazdi forecasts the creation of hundreds of new biotech sector jobs following a projected annual output of two to three startups initiated through the CBID program. Creating these startups is one major goal of students who successfully complete the program. These students serve as owners and co-owners, as well as biotech research and development experts for these start-ups.

So far, Seguro Surgical and CervoCheck, offspring of the program, are employing several people in the biomedical engineering sector in the metro area. Seguro Surgical manufactures a product that makes surgery in the lower abdomen much easier and faster by reducing bowel packing time. “It went from invention to the first time it’s being used in a human being in less than three years,” Yazdi said. CervoCheck saves the healthcare industry thousands of dollars through detection and prevention of pre-term labor.

According to Yazdi, the engineering students and clinicians who partner in establishing these start-ups are remaining in the Metro area to cultivate their new businesses and create new jobs resulting from the successful commercialization of engineering solutions to clinical challenges. “The DC metro area is not known for medical innovation. It’s not a hot bed like Boston or the Bay area, but it can become one.”

This special advertising section was written by Jennifer Leeper in conjunction with The Washington Post Custom Content department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.

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