Invent the Future of Medicine, FT. Matthew Howard, MD

Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Laura Turner

See a problem, solve a problem

Think of an inventor.  What comes to mind?  The quirky lone genius, coming up with a blockbuster device that will save the world?  The Avengers‘ Tony Stark in a cave throwing together a functional exosuit from scrap metal?  Back to the Future’s Doc Emmet Brown crying “1.21 jigawatts?!” and then immediately coming up with the perfect solution?

Or is it a person like neurosurgeon Matthew Howard, toiling away year after year alongside a team of trusted experts, all working together to take an idea—slowly—from problem to concept to prototypes to product to FDA approval to market to patient?  Dr. Howard was recently named the University of Iowa’s first ever National Academy of Inventors fellow, with 34 patents in his portfolio, so we wanted to take a look at yet another amazing aspect of medicine: the people who define and then create solutions that make the surgical world go ’round.  Some of his inventions succeed–including a way to guide catheters to their destinations using magnetic fields—while others—like the “shunt scissors” he discusses–are waiting to set the surgical world on fire. But to Dr. Howard it’s just a good time.

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Also, Dave gives the crew–Aline Sandouk, Miranda Schene, Hannah Van Ert, and Maddie Mix–a pop quiz to see if they can guess the invention from some weird patents.  Some of the quiz’s incorrect answers could be money makers, so feel free to patent them and make a fortune.

On The Short Coat Podcast, medical students from the University of Iowa and their co-host Dave Etler discuss news, fresh views, helpful clues, and interviews. Hear new episodes on iTunes and the Short Coat Podcast website every Thursday.