Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Qualities of an innovative thinker? If I had to pick two, it would be creativity and fearlessness. Innovators have to be creative and think about clever solutions to problems in novel and disruptive ways – that is a given. But the most successful innovators and inventors that I know were also incredibly bold and fearless. They knew people would likely doubt them and criticize them for their creative ideas, and regardless of these challenges they believed in their invention and pushed forward with confidence until others started to realize the potential and novelty of what they had created.
Making the most out of your invention… I think the secret is having a true passion for how your invention could change the status quo or solve a significant problem that is dear to you. Having the long term vision of what you invention can accomplish fueled by a personal passion for what you invented produces a deep perseverance and commitment for making it successful. I’ve been experiencing this with the MasSpec Pen technology that we invented in my lab – we truly love the technology and we know that it could bring incredible benefits to patients battling cancer, and the tangibility of that reality has helped us work through many challenges and tackle complicated clinical studies with the utmost commitment and passion to making it a reality in medical practice.
Biggest challenge facing the field? As our measurement methods have advanced in analytical performance in incredible ways, one of the biggest challenges we are facing is in how to properly handle and interpret large datasets to extract the most meaningful and significant information. Especially as multi-omics datasets are being combined to integrate knowledge across a variety of molecular measurements, the ability to correlate and analyze these datasets in a rigorous way is a challenging but also exciting endeavor.