The Early Days of Biodesign – an Interview with Sandra Miller

Sandra Miller started as a consultant at Stanford in 1995, working with Paul Yock and Peter Fitzgerald organizing medical coursework on technology for interventional cardiology. After a couple years, Paul Yock proposed she come on full time to develop a cross-campus network of people involved in medical devices to serve as mentors for those trying to develop a new device technology for the first time. This “Medical Device Network” was the predecessor to the Bio-X initiative, the Bioengineering Department and the Biodesign Program.

Over the next 3 years, Sandy organized events and conferences to bring the Medtech Industry and academia together and helped organize the first Biodesign Fellowship in 2001. Along with the fellowship, she spearheaded the Biodesign Innovation class. Though the Biodesign Innovation class is well established today, the idea that you could teach people a process for innovation and invention was considered revolutionary 10 years ago within the Stanford and the national biomedical engineering academic community.

Just over a year ago, Sandy moved on to become a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. Looking back, what excited her most during her time at Stanford was witnessing and assisting the process of making something become “real”; whether it was a licensing event that she helped facilitate, SBIR grant or a first round of funding, she states: “the process was a thrill every time”. Good luck Sandy and thanks for your support through the years!


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