A fourth-generation University of Utah graduate and industry pioneer in the development of microtools used in brain surgery will be the new executive director of the Center for Medical Innovation at U of U Health.
Beginning on April 1, Mark H. Paul, currently president of the neurovascular division at Stryker Neurovascular based in Fremont, California, will take the helm at the Center for Medical Innovation. In his 36-year career, he has led organizations focused on technologies and market development for less invasive treatments of neurovascular conditions, including hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, peripheral embolisms, and abdominal aortic aneurysms.
“Research that leads to innovation that leads to commercialization is a key priority,” says Michael Good, M.D., CEO of University of Utah Health, executive dean of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah, and the A. Lorris Betz Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. “Under Mark Paul’s leadership, we anticipate that the Center for Medical Innovation will become a university and national leader in these activities and initiatives. Mark brings decades of significant accomplishments and achievement in the medical products industry, nationally and internationally.”
The Center for Medical Innovation supports student, faculty, and staff efforts to develop the next generation of medical devices and find solutions to some of the world’s biggest health care problems. In conjunction with business, engineering, law, and medical experts both on campus and in local industry, the center has produced hundreds of new medical devices and digital health care solutions.
Paul intends to keep that momentum going.
“We’re in the golden age of medical device innovation where we can build and design things that we only dreamed of 30 years ago,” Paul says. “All of the pieces we need––the College of Engineering, the School of Business, the College of Law, and the leaders on campus––are in place to make this happen. It’s just one of those great moments where everything is coming together, and I want to be a part of that.”
He shares more of his vision for the center in this Q&A.
Paul, whose great-grandfather was in the first class of U of U students in 1850, graduated from the U in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He originally intended to study law but soon found himself immersed in sales training at Procter & Gamble.
After four years of selling soap, diapers, and other paper products in Utah, Arizona, and Idaho, he began working as a sales representative for Boston Scientific, a biotechnology firm that manufactures medical devices. Over time, he absorbed knowledge from his clients––radiologists, cardiologists, and vascular surgeons––that would spark his interest in developing new types of surgical tools.
In 2007, he joined Stryker Neurovascular, which is now the largest neurosurgical business in the world and a global leader in the production of microwires, microcatheters, and micro-stents for the treatment of strokes and other neurological disorders.
“I am thrilled about Mark’s new position as Executive Director of the Center for Medical Innovation, and equally excited that his role includes a faculty appointment at the Eccles School,” says Rachel Hayes, Ph.D., dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “Mark has been a longtime friend and supporter of the business school, and now he will be a critical part of our mission to deliver an innovative and forward-thinking educational experience. I know our students will gain so much from his vast industry expertise and personal insight.”
Among Paul’s duties at CMI are:
- Promoting the development and commercialization of new technologies in the medical field, including medical devices and process engineering.
- Actively participating in the planning for the new James LeVoy Sorenson Innovation and Discovery Center building.
- Facilitating high-impact device development by pairing faculty into collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
- Linking Health Sciences faculty with appropriate individuals from the Colleges of Engineering, Business, and Law.
Paul will also arrange seminars and courses in the Schools of Medicine and Business and the Colleges of Engineering and Law, as part of an overall curriculum meant to promote the collaborations needed to create successful medical devices. He plans to teach several business and engineering courses himself.
It's a vision that Richard Brown, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering, embraces.
“Faculty in the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering are delighted that Mark Paul is joining the University of Utah to lead medical device commercialization efforts,” Brown says. “His industry experience manufacturing a device invented by a U of U engineering faculty member has given him the expertise needed to bring together medicine, engineering, business, and law to improve health care and quality of life for all of us.”
Additionally, Paul will support innovation at the U by leading the medical device accelerator within the PIVOT Center. The medical device accelerator is expected to launch in April.
With his industry-informed expertise, Paul will chart the development path of medical devices and identify optimal startup or licensing opportunities for advanced assets to increase the translation of research into commercially useful output.
“The opportunity to have someone with Mark’s experience in an academic setting is truly unique and ushers in a new era of medical device innovation at the U,” says Keith Marmer, the university’s Chief Innovation & Economic Engagement Officer.
Paul lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Jana (nursing, class of 1987). Two of their four children, Josh and Sarah, have graduated from the U; Jacob graduates this year, and Alexander returns to the U this fall after serving a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Oklahoma City.