Interview: Dr. Sang Joon Park, CEO of MEDICALIP, Seoul National University Hospital

Sang Joon Park is Founder and CEO of MEDICALIP and Professor of the Department of Radiology at the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea. Dr. Park graduated in computer science at the school of the engineering college. He then went to the college of medicine of Seoul National University to obtain his Master and Ph.D. degree in Interdisciplinary Program in Radiation Applied Life Science. He is an expert in 3D medical imaging for developing CT/MRI-based imaging biomarker and medical 3D printing software platform MEDIP. He is currently a Vice Director at the Medical Device Innovation Center of Seoul National University Hospital and help researchers and medical device company for performing easy clinical trials. He has acted as an international reviewer and editor in medical imaging society as well as a member of the committee for medical device development in Korean government, with a goal of improving clinical outcomes using 3D medical technology. Most recently, he is in charge of a leader of the company, MEDICALIP that providing medical 3D printing procedure software “MEDIP” for 3D organ printing. This was after many years of collaboration with clinicians and scientists at Seoul National University. He brings his multi-disciplinary experience in specialized 3D printing in medicine to share the clinical trials and workflow trends. Dr. Park will be a speaker at the #3DHEALS2018 conference on April 20-21st, 2018.
Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Joon: I remember the first time when I encountered 3D printing was in university public workplace 10 years ago. It was such a huge and expensive device that there was a burden to use it personally. I instantly started to think about bringing digital anatomies from PC to reality.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey in 3D printing?
Joon: I had worked as a researcher in the department of radiology for several years, and one day I thought that there would be an easy way to identify the anatomy of the human body in my hand rather than on the computer. First of all, I wanted to bridge the parts that would be the beginning of a wonderful story of organ transplantation in the distant future.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing? This can be a mentor, a patient, a celebrity, anyone basically. You can name more than one as well.
Joon: One day while I was having dinner with surgeons in my hospital, I was inspired to hear that I could help patients and doctors if we use some 3D models better before the surgery. That was 3D printing!
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Joon: Currently, it is a company called Medical IP (also MEDICALIP). I believe there are great values in 3D printing that were trapped at the lab level which the society really needed. More than 10 researchers are working hard now at MEDICALIP for this reason.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Joon: Cost issues are a big hurdle. Time cost for 3D printing work, the opportunity cost for many researchers to move together, and financial cost for material and machine and so on. I think there should be a platform to reduce these costs.
Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Joon: Reducing the cost of collaborating with multiple people. Making communication platform.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?
Joon: Genie’s three wishes are funny but hard to choose. Exactly the reason why I started 3D printing, I hope to help people who are sick and in a tough condition with advanced medical technologies. I would also like to have a psychic ability to treat someone.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Joon: Build up diverse experiences through new challenges in other fields based on medical 3D tech. Bad advice is “Do not do something for challenges.”
Jenny: If you could have a giant billboard to promote a message to millions and even billions of people in our community (i.e. healthcare 3D printing and bio-fabrication), what message would that be?
Joon: ANYONE CAN USE: 3D printed anatomical model
Jenny: What were/was the best investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Joon: Buying my first $4,000 FDM printing machine.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Joon: Currently, I am putting all of my energy, juggling two things at a time, my scholarship and business.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?
Joon: Stargazing
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?
Joon: “True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.” by Einstein
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you? =)
Joon: 3DHEALS heals you with 3D.