BIOLIFE4D Founder and CEO Steven Morris possess more than 20 years of extensive experience in precision manufacturing, including 15 years serving as President of privately-held Inland Midwest Corporation (IMC) where he led the company’s transformation into a premier, state-of-the-art facility catering exclusively to the medical technologies industry. After several years of high profitability, Steven negotiated a successful exit strategy and sold the company in 2011. After remaining on as President for over two years, he left and started BIOLIFE4D, an emerging biotech company working on the technology to bioengineer a human heart viable for transplantation using a patient’s own cells. His diverse and comprehensive knowledge of medical devices, processes optimization, and medical technologies will be extremely beneficial to the success of BIOLIFE4D.
Mr. Steven Morris will be a speaker at our Chicago Event.
Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Steven: My first experience with 3D printing was in 2014 when I explored its potential as a rapid prototyping tool for medical devices. It was apparent that it was going to be an effective tool with many different applications, from rapid prototyping to custom instrumentation and implants. It was after that when I discovered the potential applications of 3D bioprinting, a specialized subset of 3D printing, and its potential to be an absolute game-changer in the healthcare space.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey in bioprinting?
Steven: After I sold the last company I was planning to start a 3D printing rapid prototype engineering company. It was when I was learning about 3D printing applications when I first learned about 3D bioprinting, its applications, and potential. Knowing that cardiovascular disease takes the lives of 1 out of every 3 people in every developed country in the world and that we are on the precipice of the bioprinting technology which could directly address this situation, I knew that putting together a company consisting of pre-eminent leaders in the associated technologies needed was imperative.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)?
Steven: Our Chief Medical Officer, who is a heart transplant surgeon, was one of my initial inspirations. I asked him one day how incredible he felt about saving so many lives and he told me that he thinks more about all of the individuals he couldn’t help, primarily as a result of the incredible lack of supply of human donor organs. After that, it was all of the emails I have received from so many people letting me know about their circumstances and that they or their family member is in critical need of this technology.
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Steven: Knowing that the technology we are working on can improve the quality of life and /or save the lives of countless people around the world, and knowing the scale of impact we can have on all humanity.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Steven: Our biggest obstacles are individual steps of the science related to the process we are working on and in particular I would say it is the vascularization challenges we face. It is a tremendously complex system and without this vascularization network, our bio printed organ will not be viable in the long term.
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)?
Steven: 3D bioprinting has a few challenges, in our case probably the biggest of which is the ability to integrate the different specific capabilities needed to effectively print the different components of the process. Some bioprinters are better for printing with the cells, some are better with the scaffolding, some are better with vascularization, etc.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?
Steven: Good health, peace, and contentment.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Steven: Stick to your beliefs, pursue your dreams, and never give up.
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?
Steven: Let’s all just get along and be kind to each other.
Jenny: What were/was the best investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Steven: In the incredible team we have assembled. Our strength is in our team, the bioprinters are merely tools.
Jenny: What were/was the worst investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Steven: Have not regretted any as of yet.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Steven: Financially it was just leaving my previous company.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?
Steven: Spending time with my children, outdoor sports, my dogs, family.
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?
Steven: By JFK, it speaks for itself: There are those that look at things the way they are and ask why I dream of things that never were and ask why not.
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you? =)
Steven: To me it represents the opportunities which are presented to us to provide translational healing benefit to humanity using 3D printing technologies.