Dr. Billy Cohn is finally getting the workshop he has always wanted. And he’s excited to show it off, especially the virtual reality suite, which can transport anyone into an operating room deep inside the Texas Medical Center.
In November, Johnson & Johnson cuts the ribbon on its new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC), located on the John P. McGovern campus, at Holcombe Boulevard and Almeda Road. The new space marks another milestone for Johnson & Johnson’s investment in the Texas Medical Center, and will be the company’s only Center for Device Innovation in the world.
“Johnson & Johnson has an incredibly long history of being one of the most innovative companies in medical devices,” said Sandi Peterson, group worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson. “For us, the CDI @ TMC is another evolution in finding new and creative ways to access innovative people who are trying to do things to improve health care and outcomes for patients.”
The state-of-the-art center is designed to help turn napkin sketches into physical products. It gives Cohn a big, beautiful space to create the types of devices he has been building in his garage at home.
While rifling through drawers and cabinets at the center that hold every type of tool imaginable, Cohn, vice president of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices and director of the CDI @ TMC, said he had no fewer than four projects that he is eager to do.
“Anyone who has an idea, but says they can’t do it yet because they don’t have the tools, this place removes the hurdles to taking that first step,” Cohn said. “I know I am going to fail 20 times before I find something that works, so I want to get it behind me as fast as I can.”
According to Cohn and his team, there is nothing that can’t be built in the space. The CDI @ TMC is outfitted with everything from laser cutters to 3-D printers, from wet laboratories to hand-cranked mills and automated lathes.
One of Cohn’s favorite tools is the water jet, which can cut through metal in seconds. To cut metal in his garage at home, Cohn goes at it with a hacksaw, which can take hours. With the water jet, it takes about a minute.
At the CDI @ TMC, contemporary furniture with whimsical flourishes greets visitors, including an oversized architect lamp that looks like it jumped out of a Pixar movie. Secluded workspaces are reminiscent of nap pods found in Silicon Valley.
The Houston office of Gensler, a design and architecture firm, oversaw the project.
“Our point of departure for the project was Billy’s home garage, the space that he feels most free to experiment and create with all his tools and materials at hand,” said Joni Calkins, architecture and senior associate at Gensler. “We were given an amazing old industrial space with tall volumes and great natural light, to which we added not only lab benches and lots of advanced manufacturing machinery, but also elements that would seem industrial in nature, but would facilitate collaboration and be comfortable for the people working in the spaces.
“In the tall space, we installed a conference room made from two large shipping containers and painted bright blue. It appears as an amazing industrial object from the outside, but inside it’s completely comfortable, outfitted with flexible furnishings and great technology. We had many custom furniture pieces fabricated for the project that utilized existing materials salvaged from the space, including the industrial maple flooring that became table tops and wall cladding. Our goal was to add an authentically Houston quality to the space that is indicative of Houston’s engineering and manufacturing heritage.”
One of the walls is outfitted with light boxes that will display device successes and failures, said Carlos Amaro, operations manager at the CDI @ TMC.
Amaro is an expert at maintaining creative spaces. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, he was senior engineering design technician at Rice University.
The CDI @ TMC can fit up to 30 engineers from Johnson & Johnson, Amaro said, some of whom will begin to work in the space by the end of the year.
The new center is an amalgamation of early-stage ideas, great teams, investors and large companies, said Arjun “JJ” Desai, M.D., chief operating officer of JLABS and the CDI @ TMC. The big idea is to bring all these players together in a focused, creative environment.
“Entrepreneurs are looking for safe havens for their companies to grow,” Desai said. “We want to be that funnel.”
While startup hubs on the East and West coasts continue to be popular, they are bursting at the seams; it is expensive to get a decent workspace and time with investors, Desai said.
While the CDI will focus on ideas stemming from Johnson & Johnson, Desai hopes the facility will become a place where entrepreneurs can take ideas from academia and move them quickly into commercialization with help from Johnson & Johnson and others.
Entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to scramble to find investors or fly off to South America to conduct clinical trials, Desai said. They could do all that in Houston within four city blocks, fostering a rapid cycle of innovation that is cost efficient and resourceful.
4.26, noon-3 p.m.: @MethodistHosp San Jacinto Hospital Hiring Event for experienced RNs. Learn more: https://t.co/4v7r2jpdTP https://t.co/pVFG8AmsG4
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
RT @CancerFrontline: An @MDAndersonNews team developed a personalized vaccine that exposes evasive colorectal cancer to an immune attack ht…
Discover world-class career opportunities for experienced RNs at the Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital hiring event on 4.26 from noon-3 p.m. Bring several copies of your resume & park free in the visitor parking lot. Learn more: http://pxlme.me/1JA7A6zf
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @UHCougarMGolf: .@UHouston alum & @CBSSports broadcasting great Jim Nantz reacts to being named 2018 Ambassador of Golf CONGRATS, Jim,…
Sneezing, headaches and a stuffy nose always means you have allergies right? Wrong! https://t.co/wf8ti3TKVw
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
Congratulations to Dr. Yingbin Fu on earning the Helen Juanita Reed Award for Macular Degeneration from the BrightFocus Foundation.
New Mexico Veterans set sights on Golden Age Games competition - Volunteers needed for 32nd annual event in Albuquerque https://t.co/gS2J3VC4HZ via @Sports4Vets on #VAntagePoint
Telehealth education is on the move in Colorado https://t.co/KgB6D7Xt37 via @KREX5_Fox4
It's a new day at your Manchester VA https://t.co/lDrYdgumuw via @seacoastonline
How can you make the last day of class even better? Bring some cute animals to campus! 🐰
Did you know #stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S.? Come to our Stomp Out Stroke Festival from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sat., April 28 @DiscoveryGreen to find out how to decrease your stroke risk. Register at https://t.co/PBNoFVY455. https://t.co/sYm9Ny734p
RT @UTHealthSPA: FYI >>> NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices for April 20, 2018 https://t.co/VXvK9WVKy4 #grant #grants #research
RT @uthpsychiatry: The UTHealth Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders is conducting a new clinical research study for adults with schizoph…
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Tammie Jo Shults. Tammie Jo served for 10 years as a pilot and earned the rank of lieutenant commander. Tammie Jo grew up on a New Mexico ranch near Holloman Air Force Base where she developed her interest in flying. She attended MidAmerica Nazarene University, graduating in 1983. A year after taking the Navy aviation exam, Tammie Jo found a recruiter who processed her application. She attended officer candidate school in Pensacola, Florida, and was assigned to a training squadron at Naval Air Station Chase Field in Beeville, Texas. Tammie Jo was an instructor pilot, teaching students how to fly the Navy T-2 trainer. She later flew the A-7 Corsair in Lemoore, California. Tammie Jo was among the first female fighter pilots for the Navy and was the first woman to fly an F/A-18 Hornet. In 1993, after 10 years of service, she left the Navy. Earlier this week, Tammie Jo completed the successful emergency landing of Southwest flight 1380 at the Philadelphia International Airport. The Boeing 737-700 lost an engine, causing shrapnel to strike a window. With 148 people on board, one woman died and seven were injured. Thank you for your service, Tammie Jo.
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
We are proud to "Teal Out" in support of #StepInStandUp! Even one such incident is too many. https://t.co/NQdJ5UyHkA