Interview: Jess Charlap, Boston, MA

“I am very interested in the intersection between bio fabrication, bioprinting, and 3D printing. Joining 3DHEALS is an opportunity to create a local community around those topics, meet some interesting people, and learn a lot.”

Community: Boston, MA

3DHEALS members can get in touch with Jess Charlap here 

Jenny: Tell us, what is one quote that represents you?
Jess: “To be outstanding, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Jenny: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where are you from originally? Where are you located? What are you working on?)
Jess: I’m originally from Princeton, New Jersey. I came to the Boston area to go to Wellesley College. I studied architecture and computer science and now work in architecture marketing. My personal passion is advocacy for design and innovation. Besides 3DHEALS, I work with local organizations such as AIGA and the Design Museum to develop partnerships and programming.
Jenny: What made you decide to become a 3DHEALS community manager?
Jess: I am very interested in the intersection between bio fabrication, bioprinting, and 3D printing. Joining 3DHEALS is an opportunity to create a local community around those topics, meet some interesting people, and learn a lot.
Jenny: If you have already organized a 3DHEALS event, what were your experiences like? (Photos?) Anything unexpected happened?
Jess: I helped with June’s Pitch3D competition. I enjoyed reaching out to startups and inviting them to participate. I was not expecting the variety of technologies being pitched, but clearly, the judges were, because they had some great questions.
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?
Jess: I am particularly hopeful about the bioprinting of organs. There are a lot of problems to solve, but if all of the technology advances at the current rate, we could solve a major health care crisis in the next decade. I follow several companies working on this problem, including United Therapeutics and BIOLIFE4D.
Jenny: If you have done 3D printing before, what have you made/designed? (Photos if available, preferably in healthcare application)
Jess: I have experimented with sending some files to Shapeways, but my interest in 3D printing is mostly theoretical at this point.
Jenny: Who would you like to find and to include in the 3DHEALS community you are building?
Jess: Biofabrication researchers and their suppliers. I think innovation will happen faster if the more members of the supply chain are part of the conversation.
Jenny: What would you like to accomplish with this new 3DHEALS community in the future?
Jess: I want to see Boston have more meetups and events. I think the best connections happen face to face.
Jenny: What do you think about the innovation environment (for health tech or for general technology) in your city? What can be done to improve it?
Jess: The research and innovation landscape is incredibly rich from all of our universities and hospitals, but many groups are siloed. What’s great about 3DHEALS is that it can build community across different areas of interest.
Jenny: What are you most proud of about your city?
Jess: The World Economic Forum recently released a report on the 30 cities best placed for long-term success, and Boston rang in at #5! The ranking was based on the City Momentum Index, which accounts for strength in infrastructure, innovation capability, tech firms, environmental quality, and several other factors.
Jenny: What are you most proud of about the innovation community in your city?
Jess: Boston is one of the best city nationwide for social entrepreneurship. Our innovators tend to be very idealistic. Sure, everyone wants to do well financially, but there’s a lot of focus and support on solving big questions and benefitting society.
Jenny: What do you think are the top priorities in healthcare innovations for your city/community?
Jess: I’d say the top two priorities are learning more about the human bodies and disease in order to efficiently develop cures, and looking to nature for inspiration. One of the biggest local companies is Vertex, which one of the first biotech firms to use an explicit strategy of rational drug design rather than combinatorial chemistry. One the academic side, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard has a lot of success using a cross-disciplinary approach to develop new bioinspired materials and devices for applications in healthcare, manufacturing, robotics, energy, and sustainable architecture.
Jenny: What do you hope to accomplish through your role as the 3DHEALS community manager?
Jess: I want to build and strengthen partnerships between 3DHEALS and other organizations with overlapping missions. I’ve started by brokering a media partnership between 3DHEALSand New Harvest, a cellular agriculture research institute, and advocacy organization. Look for my upcoming blog post about attending their yearly conference.
Jenny: What do you do for fun?
Jess: I’m an amateur baker, and I read several books a week, both fiction and non-fiction.