2011-12 Scientific Focus: 

Nerve Stimulation & Neuromodulation 

The Northern Ohio region is home to a broad array of world class research in the field of electrical stimulation. This includes cutting edge developments at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center the Advanced Technology Platform Center at the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Cleveland and a growing community of promising spin-off and start-up companies, including Intelect Medical, Neuros Medical, Synapse Biomedical and others.

During this academic year, biomedical engineer and emeritus professor Dr. J. Thomas Mortimer will provide students with the scientific fundamentals of nerve stimulation, building an understanding of the functional parameters and state of the science. His lectures also serve as a living case study of device development, tracking his team's research in diaphragm stimulation from the early 1980's to today, where his team's core technology is being commercialized by Synapse Biomedical.

In parallel, student teams will work to understand and cultivate active invention disclosures in the field, each building their unique understanding of the clinical and commercial opportunities presented by their scientific discovery and working through the year to build an investment case for their emerging product concept.

As with all scientific focus in FUSION, our goal is to bring deep context to a given scientific field by connecting with experts, practitioners and entrepreneurs to gain a hands-on understanding of the challenges faced when bringing promising new technology to market.

Some unique areas of focus presented by this scientific field include:

Method patents and surgical methods - many discoveries in this field relate to the therapeutic implications of stimulating a precise anatomical target, but provide little patentable IP around the device (leads, pulse generators) or system dynamics (e.g., firmware, implantable energy systems) required to create a marketable product. Student teams will learn to tackle this challenge by examining multiple commercialization strategies, partnering potential and development/acquisition of competitive component technologies.

Innovation: Integration and Systems - scientifically, few innovations will result in a fully integrated product. The commercialization of stimulation products requires a particularly creative focus on value chain, component product development and interdisciplinary approaches to designing and engineering a complete product.

Developing pre-clinical proof of concept - the path to market for these often invasive devices will typically involve sometimes extensive regulatory review and clinical demonstration. Before this can happen, though, the path to trials involves creative, persistent approaches to developing early indications of safety and efficacy in humans. Students will interact with clinicians and IRB members to understand workable strategies to cultivating early data that can support more advanced (and costly) clinical data acquisition.


2009-10 Scientific Focus: Genomics and Genetic Diagnostics

2011-12 Scientific Focus: Neuromodulation and Nerve Stimulation Technologies

2012-13 Scientific Focus - Advanced Energy Technologies & Systems

2013-14 Scientific Focus - Neuro Device Platform Technology Innovation

2014-15 Scientific Focus - Advanced Applications in Networked Neuro Devices

201-15 Scientific Focus - Clean Water Technologies

Fusion Disciplines







Science - the state of knowing; knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.