Smart implants are expected to profoundly change how surgeons treat and monitor joint replacement and spine patients through the ability to track their recoveries. Orthopedic companies are developing active implants that incorporate battery-powered sensors and self-sensing constructs to collect data and heal bones. This panel discussion includes startups and researchers in various stages of developing smart implants. They share how they designed and developed their technologies, what data their implants track and why smart implants are critical for advancing patient care.
Eric H. Ledet, Ph.D., is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of ReVivo Medical. He also serves as Vice President of Research & Development and Director of the Health Innovation Incubator & Technology Center at the Center for Disability Services in Albany, New York. Dr. Ledet is also an Adjunct Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Albany Medical College, an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Research Scientist at the Stratton VA Medical Center. Dr. Ledet has 27 years of award-winning translational research experience focusing on orthopaedic smart implants. He is a serial entrepreneur and lead inventor on 19 issued patents and he has over 150 peer-reviewed presentations and publications.
Deborah Munro, D.Eng, has over 25 years of experience in mechanical and biomedical engineering. Dr. Munro received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of the Pacific, her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and her doctorate in biological systems engineering from the University of California at Davis. She gravitated to the orthopedic medical device field in 1996, designing hip and knee total joint replacement systems, and became knowledgeable about FDA and EU regulatory compliance. She has continued to work in the orthopedic medical device and biomechanics field, designing implants and instruments and writing clinical literature reviews, meta-analyses and patentability reviews. Her start-up company, Munro Medical, founded in 2016 in Portland, Oregon, now calls Christchurch, New Zealand its home. The company’s focus is building smart implants to improve clinical outcomes by developing wireless, battery-free implantable devices for use in the body.
Ben Hertzog, Ph.D., is Chief Executive Officer at Intelligent Implants. In 2020, Intelligent Implants welcomed Dr. Hertzog as an independent Director and Chairman of the Board. He stepped into the CEO position in 2021. Dr. Hertzog is an experienced medical device entrepreneur with a background in management consulting, venture capital, company formation and medical device innovation. From 2019 to the beginning of 2022, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence with Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (CDI@TMC). Prior to CDI, Dr. Hertzog was the founding CEO of Procyrion, an interventional cardiology startup focused on acutely decompensated heart failure and cardiorenal syndrome.
Amir Alavi, Ph.D., is the CTO of Novuosis Scientific, a Pittsburgh-based startup working on electronic metamaterial implants with advanced functionalities. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Alavi is the director of the Intelligent Structural Monitoring and Response Testing (iSMaRT) Laboratory at Pitt. His multidisciplinary scientific studies are organized around mechanics and electronics of multifunctional materials and structures, embedded self-powered sensing systems, and data-driven characterization of engineering systems. Dr. Alavi was among the Web of Science ESI’s World Top 1% Scientific Minds in 2018, and Stanford University list of Top 1% Scientists in the World in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Dr. Alavi has received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.