Profile: Benjamin Weed
Benjamin Weed, a biomedical engineering doctoral student, remembers how impressed he was with Mississippi State when the university recruited in his high school. Upon a visit and tour of campus, the Huntsville, Ala., native said department heads, professors and even graduating seniors took time to talk about MSU's strengths. He was particularly interested in the strong reputation the biological engineering department had for helping graduates get into medical school —one of his goals at the time.
But after Weed became more heavily involved with the sciences as an MSU student, he realized that becoming a clinical physician might not be his calling after all. Research and development for the medical field now entices Weed as his most suitable career choice.
Weed thinks of himself as a scientist, although some might call him an entrepreneur. That's because the graduate student also is the chief executive officer of Innometrix, a company he developed with his former research classmate and recent MSU graduate Ali Borazjani, who now studies at the Cleveland Clinic. Working together under the direction of Dr. Jun Liao, the two students began a project related to women's health. As their work progressed, they developed a few medical devices focused on treating female pelvic floor disorders.
Now, they are navigating the tasks facing them as inventors and entrepreneurs to patent their products and develop the company to the point when they can see their ideas lead to real-life health solutions for women around the world.
Weed says the pelvic floor disorders that may be treated by Innometrix products in the future are common conditions that develop in more than half of women who have given birth. However, as frequently as the health conditions occur, Weed said there is much less development that has gone into addressing these problems as compared with other health fields, such as cardiology and orthopedics.
"This is definitely going to be a big project for a long time," Weed said. When he completes his doctoral degree at MSU in May, he hopes to land a postdoctoral research position with the university.
Of pursuing the science behind the medical treatments, Weed explained, "There are plenty of smart people with good ideas. That's not the limiting factor on science — it's always the funding that's the catch."
As CEO of Innometrix, he's working with MSU's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer to further develop his business plans and seek funding for his company.
"It's busy," he says, as he reaches for his afternoon cup of coffee. It's all in a day's work for the student scientist and entrepreneur. At the end of the day, he shifts focus to family life. He is married to Candace Weed, a research associate in the College of Education, and the couple has a two-year-old son, Connor.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Beth Wynn
Next week … Nisreen Cain !