Spotlight: John Morriss, FII Director of Invention Acceleration Program

As the Fogarty Institute continues to expand the services it provides its partners and companies-in-residence, John Morriss, a seasoned medtech R&D professional, joins us as director of our Invention Acceleration program.

John served as partner of the Foundry for the past six years, where he also co-founded Twelve and lead the development of their transcatheter replacement mitral valve. Prior to that, he worked in a variety of R&D engineering positions within several startups, including Acclarent, now a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Finding His Passion in Product Design

John started his career designing consumer goods, and while he enjoyed developing new products and working on prototypes under tight deadlines, he found he lacked a feeling of personal satisfaction from the end product.

That changed when he joined a medical technology company in his first stint as an R&D engineer. “Medtech allowed me to combine my love of product design with the complexity of product development for something that would provide a real solution to patients’ needs,” said John. “It was incredibly gratifying to be part of helping patients regain their quality of life.”

This passion led to the pursuit of a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, with an eye on medical device design and bioengineering. Since then, he has worked with a series of startup companies covering a variety of healthcare needs, from structural heart, to orthopedics, oncology, sports medicine and otolaryngology.

“It’s extremely rewarding to follow the life cycle of a device from its inception all the way to training physicians to use it correctly, and then ensuring the device offers a viable solution to address patients’ needs,” said John.

“I think that my background that’s rooted in broad experiences, combined with my interest in touching every aspect of the product development span, was beneficial to my ability to develop devices that were innovative and effective,” he continued. “I came to each project with an open mind and a fresh approach to problem solving.”

Joining the Fogarty Institute

John sees his new position at the Fogarty Institute as the next step to continue giving back to the medical device community, as he becomes a mentor for the FII startups and works as one of the liaisons with El Camino Hospital.

“John’s expertise with early-stage product development, both on the clinical and design side, will be a tremendous asset for our companies-in-residence as this is a critical step in their growth and ability to provide proof of concept,” said Andrew Cleeland, CEO of the Fogarty Institute. “We are thrilled to have him on board as we continue to expand the skillsets among our team to better serve our entrepreneurs and partners.”

John equates the vibe and energy of being at the Fogarty Institute to his time in graduate school, citing the level of excitement and passion for pursuing ideas and endeavors that make a difference. “It’s an environment filled with brilliant, creative people, where each project and conversation is interesting, and everyone is consumed with their desire to work hard and apply themselves toward achieving a meaningful accomplishment.”

When he is not helping medtech startups, John enjoys outdoor activities, including running, skiing, surfing and biking.

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