LifeScience Alley and University of Minnesota's Medical Devices Center announce joint Innovation Fellowship


Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering,, (612) 626-7959

Matt Hodson, University News Service,, (612) 625-0552

Ryan Baird, LifeScience Alley,, (952) 746-3818

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (05/15/2013) —LifeScience Alley and the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center announce the launch of a joint second year Innovation Fellowship, with work beginning in September 2013. Through this partnership, select fellows completing the Medical Devices Center's Innovation Fellows Program—now in its fifth year—will have the opportunity to be supported for a second year to work on the commercial development of technologies initiated at the University, while also gaining additional business experiences through LifeScience Alley’s Applied Business Training (ABT) program.

The ABT, administered through LifeScience Alley's subsidiary The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, immerses technical students in real-life commercial analysis projects with guidance from expert industry and academic advisors in order to provide practical business training.

The first joint fellow selected is Laura Paulsen, a biomedical engineer with graduate and undergraduate degrees from Duke University and Johns Hopkins University, respectively. While at Duke, Laura helped to develop a medical device innovation focus within the biomedical engineering program, and in the summer of 2012 she led a team of undergraduate students through the device design process as part of a NIH-funded practicum in medical device innovation. She has also competed in several business plan competitions across the country, being successful most notably at the MIT 100k Business Plan Competition and Duke University Start Up Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition. Her primary research has focused on orthopedics and medical genetics.

The goal of the joint fellowship is to facilitate the commercial translation of Medical Devices Center technologies, to create technology business leaders and to promote local talent retention by providing practical business education, experience and a relevant network of industry professionals to highly technical fellows with an interest in the commercial translation of innovative technologies.

"The Medical Devices Center is focused not only on innovation, but on technology transfer into the private sector," said Saurav Paul, PhD, JD, director of the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program. "The Applied Business Training program represents a strong bridge into the business community, providing additional support and commercialization opportunities for our fellows and technologies."

The Applied Business Training program offers a variety of part-time and full-time fellowships providing experiential learning opportunities that include direct company support, technology evaluation and new venture creation. The program's curriculum is centered on sponsored projects in the form of novel technologies and companies needing technical diligence and business assistance. It is a critical component of The Innovation Engine, an integrated suite of services enabling an environment of business innovation and growth for knowledge-based industries.

About LifeScience Alley and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota
The Innovation Engine is a program of The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (and subsidiary of LifeScience Alley, the nation’s largest regional life science association). Together with its subsidiary, LifeScience Alley works to strengthen the regional economy by assisting in the growth of established and emerging industries, and attracting new companies, talent and capital. The organizations’ shared mission is: To establish and lead a strategic approach to improve the business environment for life science companies through dedicated support to our members, and leading programs and projects to develop new industries, accelerate the evolution of existing industries, and to implement capabilities required to ensure a healthy business climate and a stronger community.

About the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center
The University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center (MDC) is an interdisciplinary program within the University’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine. It combines basic research, applied and translational research, education and training, and outreach and public engagement all related to medical devices. The MDC brings together the University of Minnesota´s expertise from the College of Science and Engineering and the Academic Health Center (Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy). One of the crown jewels of the Medical Devices Center is the Innovative Fellows Program, which began in 2008. The goal is to train the next leaders in medtech. The MDC teaches the Fellows how to create new and useful medical devices in a disciplined, efficient and cost-effective manner while working in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and translational mode.