Dr. Kathryn Farraro

Recipient of the Dr. Jimmy and Mrs. Elizabeth Lee Research Fellowship

Following the completion of my Ph.D. in July 2015, Dr. Woo invited me to participate in a one-year commercialization-focused post-doc to further develop the technology of utilizing a novel, bioresorbable magnesium device for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) healing, the “Mg Ring” project.  I was honored to take part in this exciting endeavor.

First, I helped in drafting a letter of intent to collaborate, detailing the resources Naton Medical, a Chinese orthopaedic device giant, intended to contribute for research and development, as well as licensing and patent filing.  I also assisted with preparation of a licensing option agreement, filing of nondisclosure agreements, and nationalization of our patent application in the U.S., E.U., and China.

Then, in October 2015, I traveled to Beijing, China, to work with Naton to educate them about the Mg ring device and initiate efforts to license and commercialize the technology.  Over a 2-month period, I worked with a 5-member R&D team specializing in product development, modeling, material science, and intellectual property.  Led by Mr. Harry Dong, Naton’s R&D Director, and Ms. Xiangfeng Kong, we worked together to find local material sources, determine manufacturing methods, explore design improvements through finite element modeling, investigate regulatory and reimbursement issues, and perform customer discovery via interviews with orthopaedic surgeons.  Finally, through Professor Richard Cheng’s gracious support, I was able to visit the Orthopaedic Device Research Center at NYMU and spend a few days at a spin-out company called Chin Bone, Inc., to learn about the processes and challenges involved in a medical device start-up company.

In addition to my work with Naton, I was also able to attend and present at several Universities and conferences including the National Cheng Kung University, National Yang-Ming University, the Taiwan Medical Device Innovation Summit, the International Symposium on Ligaments & Tendons–XV, the Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting, the Hua-Xia Meeting, and Tsinghua University’s Healthcare Innovation Forum.

My post-doctoral research fellowship has had a significant impact on my professional development, giving me valuable skills that will help me to establish and thrive in a career in the medical device industry.  I would like to acknowledge the MSRC, Naton Medical, the Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, the Coulter program, Pitt’s Innovation Institute, and ASIAM for their support of my fellowship.  Finally, I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Woo and Professor Cheng for their tremendous mentorship in this once-in-a-lifetime learning experience.