Interview: Tyler Scherr, Omaha, Nebraska

“I’m lucky to have been a part of organizing medical 3D printing experts in the Omaha area into a group, NE3D Health, which meets and collaborates regularly. Our mission aligns perfectly with that of 3DHEALS so it is a natural fit.”

Community: Omaha, NE

3DHEALS members can get in touch with Tyler Scherr here

Jenny: Tell us, what is one quote that represents you?
Tyler: “The great lesson from the true mystics, from Zen monks, and now also from the Humanistic and Transpersonal psychologists – that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard…to be looking elsewhere for miracles is to be a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” ~ Abraham Maslow; Religion, Values and Peak Experiences
Jenny: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where are you from originally? Where are you located? What are you working on?)
Tyler: I’m originally from Aberdeen, South Dakota and have lived in the Great Plains my whole life. I currently work for UNeMed, the technology transfer office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska in Omaha. I have the privilege of working with clinicians and researchers to protect and commercialize their incredible inventions.
Jenny: What made you decide to become a 3DHEALS community manager?
Tyler: I’m lucky to have been a part of organizing medical 3D printing experts in the Omaha area into a group, NE3D Health, which meets and collaborates regularly. Our mission aligns perfectly with that of 3DHEALS so it is a natural fit.
Jenny: If you have already organized a 3DHEALS event, what were your experiences like?  Anything unexpected happened?
Tyler: We have an upcoming 3DHEALS event in the works, so stay tuned!
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?
Tyler: It’s been interesting to see the slow adoption of 3D printing across clinical specialties. Dentistry and orthopedics were some early adopters, but I work with ophthalmologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists, nephrologists, radiologists, rheumatologists, etc. who all are now seeing the value in 3D printing for medical device design and personalized medicine.
Jenny: If you have done 3D printing before, what have you made/designed? (Photos if available, preferably in healthcare application)

Double Angled Needle Holder

Tyler: I’m not the most skilled designer, but I’ve contributed on some rudimentary medical device design for a double angled needle holder and a precision injection syringe plunger (see attached photos – both published in an issue of Medical Design Technology Magazine)
Jenny: Most of our community managers are entrepreneurial and adventurous, what risks/adventures have you taken that you’d like to share with us? Any hopes or regrets?
Tyler: During my Ph.D. I co-founded a 3D Printing group at UNMC, the UNMC Makers, and helped open a maker space in the McGoogan Library of Medicine. I then worked on an educational software startup with a few of the friends I made from the maker space. We had a lot of fun and fared well in a few local pitch and business plan competitions, but ultimately had to give it up after a year. I’d still like to open some sort of alt-school maker space educational experience in the Omaha area!

Precision Injection Syringe Plunger

Jenny: Who would you like to find and to include in the 3DHEALS community you are building?
Tyler: Academia can be incredibly siloed, so I’m hoping to get connected with faculty inventors who still don’t know about our group. I’m also hoping to create more contacts with the local, thriving maker community!

Jenny: What would you like to accomplish with this new 3DHEALS community in the future?
Tyler: I’m hoping to really connect all of the regional 3D printing experts, both within the university and within the community, to build a medical device pipeline. I know we have the talent and creativity from both the clinician and maker sides.
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?
Tyler: Omaha is home to a thriving tech innovation environment, with major universities, hospitals, software companies, and startup incubators supported by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce!
Jenny: What are you most proud of about your city?
Tyler: I’m most proud of the general goodwill present in Omaha residents – really from my experience, this is true of Nebraskan’s and most of the Great Plains residents as well.
Jenny: What are you most proud of about the innovation community in your city?
Tyler: I’m most proud of all of the resources that the community has leveraged to help small businesses. For example, the new Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha provides community access to a state-of-the-art maker space and hoteling space for startups. Metro Community College has also partnered with the city and generous donors to create a digital library – Do Space.
Jenny: What do you think are the top priorities in healthcare innovations for your city/community?
Tyler: Well, with the soon-to-be-opened Interdisciplinary EXperiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL) on UNMC’s campus, the community is going all-in on the future of AR/VR technology in healthcare education and application.
Jenny: What do you hope to accomplish through your role as the 3DHEALS community manager?
Tyler: I hope to create new connections, locally, nationally, and internationally, to facilitate medical 3D printing innovation!
Jenny: What do you do for fun?
Tyler: I enjoy hiking, playing disc golf, listening to podcasts, and spending time with my family.
Jenny: Anything else?
Tyler: Noted computed scientist Alan Kay famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” I believe 3DHEALS is playing a small part in creating a better future!