Justin Baker, 3DHEALS Community Manager, Cleveland. Dr. Justin Baker graduated magna cum laude and with university honors in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University. “I am originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho. I did all my university level schooling in Utah and came out to Cleveland for a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. From there, I have worked in the medical device industry for the past 6 years. Currently, I am working on bioprinting and bio-ink (particularly collagen-based) development. (Viscus Biologics) “
Jenny: What made you decide to become a 3DHEALS community manager?
Justin: I’m working in 3D bioprinting and bio-ink development and it makes sense to expand my network and influence in this area. Cleveland is also a growing medical device hub.
Jenny: What do you think of innovations in healthcare 3D printing or bioprinting?
Justin: Recent innovations include proof of concept bioprinting of the cornea. In the next five years, I would love to see bioprinting of acellular scaffolds for wounds and patient-specific surgical applications. In the next 10 years, we have the potential to start getting into cellular-loaded bioprinting applications for volumetric muscle loss and tissue regeneration.
I have previously worked for an orthopedic software company where we 3D printed patient-specific bone models for preoperative planning of total shoulder arthroplasty operations.
Jenny: What are some of the risks or adventures you have taken?
Justin: Soon after I turned 19 years old, I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years. I served in Washington, D.C. speaking Spanish to the Spanish-speaking community there. That was certainly an adventure that shaped my life. Hopes or regrets? I hope one day to write a book or get more into art or painting.
Jenny: Who would you like to find and to include in the 3DHEALS community you are building?
Justin: Cleveland has a good Additive Manufacturing Cluster, and I would like to especially reach out to that group and involve members of that cluster that are looking to include the healthcare space.
Jenny: What would you like to accomplish with this new 3DHEALS community in the future?
Justin: I am hoping to increase the visibility of 3D Bioprinting in Cleveland.
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?
Justin: Cleveland is a growing city in terms of investment. Cleveland has advantages in that there is a strong gathering of manufacturing capability nearby and it has the benefit of also having strong healthcare/hospital partners nearby in Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth. From what I have heard, Cleveland could benefit by having a stronger VC, Angel Investor, and CEO-talent base.
Jenny: What are you most proud of about your city?
Justin: Cleveland is a wonderful and affordable place to live and raise a family. Cleveland is so close to everything – forests, parks, lakes, city dining, professional sports, Broadway-level theatre, Amish country, you name it—and we don’t have bad traffic. It’s the best-kept secret in the country.
Jenny: What are you most proud of about the innovation community in your city?
Justin: Cleveland and Ohio, in general, are like “Everyman USA”. Cleveland isn’t the most flashy, but we get things done and often do it better than others and without pomp and circumstance. Cleveland is becoming a medical device and additive manufacturing hub. It makes sense to leverage that with bioprinting and 3DHeals.
Jenny: What do you think are the top priorities in healthcare innovations for your city/community?
Justin: This depends on your perspective. I would say that politically that Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic and that solving that crisis is in need of healthcare innovation. From other perspectives, the start-up environment in Ohio is healthy – particularly from spin-offs from the hospitals and universities.
Jenny: What do you do for fun?
Justin: Husband and father to 5 kids. I am active in my church. I enjoy going on dates with my wife, watching movies, eating out, ice cream and donuts—and exercising, to make sure that the ice cream and donuts don’t stick around. 😊
I also enjoy gardening. Growing fruit trees and keeping chickens and a dog.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote?
“The more we serve our fellow men in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it’s easier to find ourselves because there’s so much more of us to find.” – D. Todd Cristofferson