3DHEALS Community Manager Interview: Benjamin Holmes, Washington D.C.


“I think building pipelines for 3D printed technology to get from the lab to the clinic is a must. I would love to see 3DHEALS become the premier networking event for doctors, researchers, investors and strategic partners in the 3D printing space.”




3DHEALS members can reach out to Ben Holmes here

Jenny: Ben, please tell us a little about you.

Ben: I am an experienced medtech developer and entrepreneur. I have been a researcher and now a product developer for 3D printed medical devices since 2011.

Jenny: Where are you from and what are you working on? 

Ben: I grew up in Northern Virginia. I came to DC in 2009 to study at George Washington University, in Grace Zhang’s tissue engineering lab. When I founded my company in 2016, we stayed in DC to continue a research relationship with GWU and to pursue a collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center. My company Nanochon is developing a 3D printed flexible implant for repairing damaged cartilage in the knee.

Jenny: What made you decide to become a 3DHEALS community manager?

Ben: I have always had a passion for 3D printing, and all the unique benefits it can bring to healthcare. I first came into contact with 3DHeals at a conference in Washington DC and was impressed by the experience and passion displayed by the members I met. That motivated me to get more involved and made me want to share this important community with others.

Jenny: What do you think of innovations in healthcare 3D printing or bioprinting? What do you hope to see in the next five years? 10 years?

Ben: I think great progress has been made in the last 10 years, and there have been impressive examples of highly controlled, cell supporting small-scale structures. I think improving speed and accuracy so these delicate small-scale structures can be produced throughout a large scale implantable tissue is key. My hope is that new/cutting edge printing technology will be used to print new, biocompatible materials.

Jenny: If you have done 3D printing before, what have you made/designed? 

Ben: My company is developing an implant for cartilage repair. It is a large disk-like structure with the thickness of cartilage, designed to re-surface areas of a joint that has lost or damaged cartilage tissue.

Jenny: Most of our community managers are entrepreneurial and adventurous, what risks/adventures have you taken that you’d like to share with us?

Ben: Starting my company! I think especially in the “long-term” implantable device space, there is a lot of clinical and financial risk, and it takes a lot of work before such companies are truly “fundable.” We had great early success with grants and SBIR funding. My hope is that we can continue to grow and get the funds we need, I think our tech is great and there is a clear need clinically, I will continue to share my vision with those who have the resources to help us get to the next level.

Jenny: Who would you like to find and to include in the 3DHEALS community you are building?

Ben: Other young researchers and entrepreneurs like I was, who need talented and resourceful people to take an interest in them, guide them and help them succeed.   

Jenny: What would you like to accomplish with this new 3DHEALS community in the future?

Ben: I think building pipelines for 3D printed technology to get from the lab to the clinic is a must. I would love to see 3D HEALS become the premier networking event for doctors, researchers, investors and strategic partners in the 3D printing space.

Jenny: What do you think about the innovation environment (for health tech or for general technology) in your city?

Ben: DC is lacking, when it comes to investors and financing. Which is a shame, there is the talent on the research side and certainly a big clinical market in the DC metro area. What can be done to improve it? I think highlighting innovation and really interfacing with the investor community at large, to try to attract investment to DC and Washington DC area companies.

Jenny: What are you most proud of about your city?

Ben: I think DC has made great strides in the last 15-20 years to really become a vibrant and livable community.

Jenny: What are you most proud of about the innovation community in your city?

Ben: DC continues to be a cradle for generating great ideas, it just needs the infrastructure to take them further.

Jenny: What do you think are the top priorities in healthcare innovations for your city/community?

Ben: DC seems to be focusing heavily on digital health, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Improving patient outcomes through better clinical management and treatment efficiency.

Jenny: What do you hope to accomplish through your role as the 3DHEALS community manager?

Ben: I want to do what I can to provide DC with a mature innovation ecosystem.

Jenny: What do you do for fun?

Ben: I enjoy going to shows and concerts, and I’m an avid cook.

Jenny: Anything else?

Ben: I can’t wait to help the DC 3DHEALS community thrive!