The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Master of Biomedical Innovation and Development (MBID) program held its annual recruitment event (March 13-14) for its fifth cohort, hosting a throng of prospective students who came from all across the country.
For one prospect, it was a particularly long journey, even though he didn’t have to travel very far to get here.
Ignacio Montoya lives in Alpharetta, a suburb just north of Atlanta. Born in Cuba, Montoya moved to the U.S. when he was just six, and became a pilot and combat systems officer in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His journey took a sharp turn in December 2012 when a motorcycle accident resulted in traumatic neurological injuries that have forced him to use a wheelchair for mobility.
Since then, he’s devoted his life to researching how he might improve quality of life for him and others in similar straits. His inquiries about a suitable Master’s program to equip him with the necessary skills to achieve his dream led him to apply for the MBID program (sometimes called BioID) of Georgia Tech and get accepted into the program. And now, as part of the fifth cohort of MBID students, he’s in great company.
“THE MBID program has tripled in size from its initial launch in 2013,” notes Sathya Gourisankar, program director, who has spent 30-plus years in the medical device industry.
“More importantly, it has progressively attracted increasingly more diverse and high caliber applicants, U.S. and international, over the past four years,” he adds.
The applicants come from a diverse array of backgrounds, ranging from engineering, sciences, medicine, and humanities. Over the past four batches, there are 89 graduates (53 percent of them are women). This summer, 28 students from the current cohort will graduate.
Graduates of the intensive one-year professional master’s program are well-prepared to pursue and advance in the dynamic field of biomedical engineering devices and technology. In addition to the collaborative academic instruction in biomedical technology from two top-ranked institutions in engineering (Georgia Tech) and medicine (Emory University’s School of Medicine), they get practical, hands-on experience in taking novel innovation concepts from bench-to- bedside in the thriving biomedical industry across global locations.
The recruitment event began Monday with a mid-day check-in at the GA Tech Hotel and continued with a tour of Grady Memorial Hospital, a renowned Level 1 trauma center, with one of the nation’s top-rated burn centers, as well as the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center.
On Tuesday, after an overview of the MBID program from Georgia Tech professors, Emory physicians, and industry experts, the recruits toured Technology Enterprise Park, headquarters for some of Atlanta’s top life sciences companies, including St. Jude Medical, CardioMems, Kemira, and CryoLife. That tour was followed by an in-depth session with a panel comprised of current and former students.
Before heading off in their many different directions home, the recruits got an insider look at T3 Labs (highly respected pre-clinical animal testing facility) as well as the Global Center of Medical Innovation (well-known Atlanta based contract research facility for life cycle medical device development).
When the two-day event had ended, and Montoya realized that he would indeed be pursuing a graduate degree in BioID, it represented the beginning of the next stage of his ongoing journey.
“Symposiums, conferences, rehabilitation facilities, universities, meetings with state and federal legislatures – I have done it all and more,” says Montoya, who is currently executive director of Next Step Atlanta, a non-profit paralysis recovery center.
He adds, “It is only appropriate that with the same tenacity, hard work, and discipline with which I approach and excelled in the Air Force, that I now become a leader in biomedical and innovation and take this quest even further.”
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience