Jaison Marks, Graduate student, Biomedical Engineering, Finance
Commercializes novel therapies
• Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
• Faculty mentor/advisor: James Martin, Associate Professor, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering, Masters of Science in Finance; December 2020
• Please describe your research: As a graduate student researcher at the University of Iowa, I am the lead on a project looking to develop a novel treatment for arthrofibrosis. Arthrofibrosis is a joint disease resulting in pain and restricted range of motion. Based on previous small animal research, my specific aim is to develop an in-vitro model of the treatment with goals to optimize drug dosing and delivery method. As the founder of a University of Iowa Department of Orthopedics spinoff company named CartilaGen, I am also working to commercialize a novel therapeutic capable of preventing osteoarthritis following traumatic injuries. The technology is a drug, dispersed in a hydrogel delivery vehicle, administered into the cavity of an articulating joint. In the role of an entrepreneur I am responsible for all aspects of business development, including but not limited to, fundraising and networking required to move this product from the research lab and into hospitals across the country and around the world.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? This research matters because arthrofibrosis is a debilitating disease of the joints without a gold standard for treatment. Therefore, this work has the potential to have a large impact among the population of patients currently suffering from this condition. Similarly, the commercialization of this innovation is tremendously important because it has the potential to change the paradigm for osteoarthritis care. Current medical practice is entirely limited to symptom management and no therapy to date is capable of disease modification, unlike our therapeutic which has proven effective for osteoarthritis modulation.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was able to begin participating in research during my first semester of my undergraduate program at the University of Iowa.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My involvement in research and research commercialization certainly has made me more successful at the University. Through both efforts, I have been able to gain invaluable first-hand experience. Research has allowed me the opportunity to design and conduct experiments. Commercialization has afforded the chance to develop a comprehensive strategy necessary to bring our promising medical technology into the market. I believe that being able to gain exposure to both of these areas as a student positions me well for my future endeavors.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I will look to manage the company CartilaGen with the goal of guiding our promising osteoarthritis therapy through the FDA clinical trial process and into the market.
Banner location: Downtown—Washington Street