As the Fogarty Institute continues to shape its future direction, the team is growing, with a focus on unparalleled support for its startups. To this end, the Institute recently hired medtech industry veteran Denise Zarins as chief technology officer.
In her new role, Denise is responsible for mentoring the Institute’s companies-in-residence and entrepreneurs and working with the leadership team to develop a high-quality educational curriculum, designed to prepare the innovators to successfully launch a startup.
Beginning in April, the entrepreneurs will attend monthly half-day courses, which will be led by high-caliber internal and external subject matter experts. Sessions will include information on intellectual property, product development, fundraising, engineering, operations, sales and marketing, business operations and quality systems, among others.
“This is a very exciting time at the Fogarty Institute, and I am thrilled to be part of the team tasked with developing and driving our education and mentorship program,” said Denise. “We have met with each of our entrepreneurs to discuss their individual needs and how we can best help them move their companies forward. Based on their feedback and our own experience in launching successful companies, we are building a customized faculty roster that addresses each skill set.”
Denise’s passion and knowledge in the medtech industry runs deep. She first knew she wanted to seek a career in this field as a sophomore in high school when she recognized it perfectly blended her two chief interests of medicine and technology. To make the dream a reality, she moved from her native Wisconsin to California despite only knowing two people there.
She landed her first job working as a research and development engineer and manager at AneuRx, a startup that was founded by Dr. Fogarty and later acquired by Medtronic. She subsequently joined another Fogarty-backed startup, Bacchus Vascular, which was later acquired by Covidien. After joining the Foundry, she co-founded Ardian, Inc. and became the Vice President of R&D. In this role, she was involved in every aspect of product development from concept through early commercialization, and ultimately, an acquisition by Medtronic. She also had the opportunity to work with Andrew Cleeland, who invited her to consider coming to the Fogarty Institute.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my career is being involved with startups whose products have gone to market and are still being used to help patients today,” said Denise. “I am really looking forward to using my experience to help Fogarty Institute entrepreneurs achieve that success.”