Talking shop with a medical device inventor who teaches his craft at Marquette
With technological advances occurring at breakneck speed, the bright minds of tomorrow need training in how to develop their ideas using teamwork and innovative thinking.
Enter Jay Goldberg, an engineer and clinical professor of biomedical engineering at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin, whose classes function as a training ground for inventors. “My goal here is to prepare students for life after Marquette,” he says.
Goldberg, who has taught at Marquette for 20 years, worked in product development for medical device companies for 14 years. He holds six patents for urological devices, including a biodegradable ureteral stent. In December, he was named a fellow at the National Academy of Inventors.
Milwaukee Magazine caught up with Goldberg to ask him a few questions about the invention and patent process, and his work in inspiring students to become innovators.
Tell me who’s in the National Academy of Inventors.
It’s mostly people in academia that are involved in inventing. Some people end up commercializing the results of their research by creating devices and starting companies.
Is there a particular field that has seen the most innovation?
From what I can tell by reading trade journals, there seems to be a lot of innovation in the medical device industry, particularly in the cardiovascular and orthopedic fields.
What does it take to patent an invention?
When you work in product development for a large company, it often has its own patent attorney to manage the application process. For example, when my patent applications were submitted, I was working for Surgitek, a medical company in Racine. For the independent inventor, however, it can cost up to $30,000 to hire an attorney and to file a patent application.
What about the classroom? What do students get out of your capstone course?
Students work on projects to solve real-world problems, and the course allows them to experience what it will be like to work as engineers designing new medical devices. I often share my industry experience with students. I ask myself, “What are things about this field I wish I knew in college?”
Several teams of students have looked into patent applications for devices that they have created. Some students want to create their own companies and move their inventions forward.
Projects that involve assistive devices for those with disabilities have been particularly popular in the last few years, and fit very well with Marquette’s mission of community service.
Students learn how much engineers can impact someone’s life – that this career is not all about the money.