Josh Stopek, Ph.D.
VP OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Josh Stopek has more than 20 years of R&D leadership experience, including a background in developing minimally invasive image-guided technologies, new therapy platforms, biomaterial/biosurgery and combination devices to market. He currently is the Vice President of R&D for HistoSonics, currently focused on new breakthrough oncology solutions. He formerly led R&D in various business areas at Medtronic, Covidien and US Surgical. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and VP of a startup medical device company, VMSI, working on new minimally invasive and tissue regeneration therapies. Dr. Stopek has over 200 issued and pending patents. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida, where he also completed a fellowship in Neurosurgery and Neuroscience.
As a kid growing up on the beautiful beaches of South Florida, I had a love for the ocean and surfing and the visual arts, science and math. Also, like most other 17-year old’s, I had no real idea of what I wanted to do. Fortunately for me, knowing my passions and taking great interest in my future, my father took it upon himself and discovered the Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) Department at the University of Florida. And just like the first wave that truly had me hooked on surfing, it was my very first visit to UF and a spontaneous opportunity to spend some time touring labs that left a marked impression and excitement for what would follow. After seeing the scanning electron, transmission electron and atomic force microscopes, I realized I could use materials science to help reshape the world – or to at least design the next advanced surfboard materials, and hopefully much, much more.
However, that initial interest in “surfing materials science” was completely recast during my first Polymer Physics class lecture with Dr. Gene Goldberg. I listened to the history of intraocular lens implants inspired by pilot eye injuries from shattered WWII fighter plane canopies, cutting-edge coronary stents and novel local drug delivery devices. Equally fascinating were the companies trailblazing these innovations and their respective stories about leveraging the intersection of pioneering materials, biology and medicine to solve huge, unmet and unrecognized clinical needs. And, if done well, the reward of building meaningful businesses around them absolutely blew me away. It was then that I realized I had to be a part of Dr. Goldberg’s lab and his work. The experiences, mentoring, friendships and deep collaborations that followed would ignite and subsequently shape my entire career, and my late afternoon/early evening chats with Dr. Goldberg would continue far beyond graduation (as they did for many of his students).
Today, I am responsible for leading Research and Development for a breakthrough medical device startup focused on developing a completely non-invasive, sonic beam therapy platform capable of destroying tissues, including cancers and other diseases and injuries, at a sub-cellular level, and without the need for incisions, radiation, heat or drugs. It’s a complex robotic platform leveraging the integration of advanced biomaterials, therapy electronics and advanced imaging/visualization technologies. These sciences are integrated with our business goals and support our mission and passion for advancing the science of our novel therapy and its unique benefits for bringing meaningful and transformational change to physicians and their patients.
In this talk, I’ll share my journey from the Goldberg lab to today, including some of my most influential learnings from my time with Gene and the research team. I’ll also discuss how those experiences helped shape our development of technologies and teams over the past 20 years to bring breakthrough products to the clinic and the world.
Materials Science & Engineering Dept.