Interview: Dr. Markus Reiterer, Senior Principle Scientist, Medtronic

Markus Reiterer, grew up in Austria and received both his Dipl.-Ing. (M.S.) and Doctorate (Ph.D.) from the University of Leoben in Austria. During his graduate studies, Markus was employed as Research Associate at the Fraunhofer-Institute for Mechanics of Materials in Freiburg, Germany. In 2004 Markus joined Sandia Natl. Labs as Post-Doctoral Appointee, where he continued his research in computational simulation of sintering of ceramics. He is an internationally recognized expert in mechanics of granular media and theory of sintering.
 Since joining Medtronic in 2006, Markus has been subject matter experts in many projects critical to quality or revenue. He is known as an expert for FEA of materials with complex behavior, high cycle fatigue, welding and joining, and tribology. Markus is a member of the Pan-Medtronic working group in computer modeling and simulation. He has been at the forefront of the development of realistic human simulation at Medtronic. In 2015 he co-authored a roadmap on “In Silico Clinical Trials” which was the product of the Avicenna Coordination Support Action. Since the inauguration, Markus board member of the Avicenna Alliance for Predictive Medicine. In 2017 Medtronic joined the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), where Markus represents Medtronic’s interests.
 Markus has been successfully leading several Medtronic – University collaborations, given multiple invited talks at the international conference, co-organized several international conferences, published 18 peer-reviewed papers, frequently serves as a journal reviewer. Markus holds 9 patents. In the past couple of years, Markus has gained interest in non-technical aspects of problem solving and concepts of critical thinking. Dr. Markus Reiterer 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?

Markus: I had my first exposure to 3D printing and metals additive manufacturing in the early 2000s when the Fraunhofer ILT investigated Selective Laser Sintering. At that time, I worked on sintering of ceramics and metals and I understood how important process control is to achieve quality products. I didn’t really believe that hi-rel part, i.e., for airplane engine could ever be built by AM. I must admit that those early parts didn’t look too good. Later, I was involved in miniaturization of 3D printing of polymers with two-photon-polymerization and powder bed methods for metals.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey/company/career/research in 3D printing (bio-fabrication/bio-printing)?

Markus: My journey with 3D printing really started in 2013, when I learned about the ability to print multi-material constructs to integrate functionality into materials/components I became very interested and bought a printer that can lay down polymer and metal inks to create 3D electronic components. I became interested in bioprinting when I investigated options to bioengineer replacement organs in 2014. Since then I have followed advancements in both bioprinting and decellularization methods.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)? This can be a mentor, a patient, a celebrity, anyone basically. You can name more than one as well.

Markus: There is no specific person who has inspired me on my journey in 3D Printing. However, the person who is responsible for my interest in science and engineering is the 1986 physics Nobel Laureate Heinrich Rohrer, who invented the scanning tunneling microscope.
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?

Markus: I am motivated by two factors – my general curiosity and by the fact that as a medical device engineer I can have positive impacts on the lives of many, many people.
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)?

Markus: 3D Bioprinting needs to overcome the valley of death of innovation. Scalability to mass produce tissues needs to be demonstrated soon to capitalize on the excitement that we currently experience. We need better equipment, better and more controlled raw materials, and better process control. In addition, academics, industry, and government regulators need to start a conversation about the regulatory path for engineered tissues and organs soon, so that a regulatory framework exists when the first products are ready for in the human application.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?  

Markus: I would ask to win the lottery to have the funding to create a research center for materials in bio- and environmental engineering applications in a beautiful place.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?

Markus: I would advise a student to follow their passion and expose themselves to the most challenging environment they feel just not comfortable to handle. I would advise them to not only look at the ranking of a school or department when choosing a school.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?

Markus: Moving to the United States.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?

Markus: Cooking, listening to music, and skiing.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?

Markus: Einstein said,” If I had 60 minutes to solve a difficult problem, I would use 55 minutes in trying to understand the  problem and 5 minutes to solve it.”


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