Clemson's Martine LaBerge shapes students, future through ehr work see more
Martine LaBerge said that in her 17 years leading Clemson University’s bioengineering department, she has learned something about leadership that she passes on to colleagues who are just starting down the same path.
“I tell them it’s all about people,” she said. “You get people aligned under one roof to believe in one brand and to have a mission that is focused on something other than themselves.”
A new award has brought leadership sharply into focus for LaBerge, who has served as chair of the bioengineering department since 2002.
The Biomedical Engineering Society recently honored LaBerge with the inaugural Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes her extraordinary service to the society through volunteering and leadership.
It’s the latest of many milestones in a career devoted to advancing the field of bioengineering and turning Clemson’s bioengineering department into a powerhouse of education and research.
“Dr. LaBerge epitomizes the kind of leadership we seek at Clemson,” said Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “For our future success it is vital to look at what she has accomplished in bioengineering as a benchmark and instill a similar passion in the next generation. If we do this well, it will strengthen Clemson for decades to come.”
LaBerge has helped establish new collaborations with the likes of Arthrex, Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina. She has had a hand in hiring all but one of the department’s 30 faculty members, and she has worked with them to develop new curricula.
LaBerge was at the helm when a 29,000-square-foot annex was added to Rhodes Engineering Research Center. And she played a central role in establishing the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus, also called CUBEInC.
The department’s faculty, with LaBerge’s support, lead two separate Centers of Biomedical Excellence, together representing $37 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Clemson ranks fourth this year among the nation’s best value schools for biomedical engineering, according to bestvalueschools.com. And in a separate ranking by U.S News & World Report, Clemson ranked 21st among biomedical engineering programs at public universities nationwide.
I.V. Hall, a former master’s student under LaBerge who is now on the department’s advisory board, said she has the ability to get people to buy into a vision and deliver what it takes to make it happen.
“Her influence and her passion are the reasons the department is where it is,” said Hall, who is worldwide president for the DePuy Synthes Trauma, Craniomaxillofacial and Extremities Division. “She personifies Clemson bioengineering.”
Throughout her career, LaBerge has remained in touch with students and their needs.
The commitment to students made an impression on Margarita Portilla, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in bioengineering.
“Dr. LaBerge is very close and always interacting with her students,” Portilla said. “I was always fascinated with her. As an undergraduate, I told my friends, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like Dr. LaBerge.’”
One of LaBerge’s guiding principles is summed up in the department’s motto, “exemplifying collegiality.”
At the start of each semester, she asks faculty to reflect on how collegial they are, using a short questionnaire and meter they can use to assess themselves. She also gives students a wallet-size card with the department’s mission, vision and goals, underscored by the motto in capital orange letters.
LaBerge calls it their “credit card to graduate and be successful in life.”
She said that what she likes best about her job is mentoring faculty, networking, building Clemson’s academic reputation and working with students.
“There is no better professional than a Clemson bioengineering student,” LaBerge said. “It’s because of the way we educate them. They’re honest, and they have integrity. Our kids leave with emotional intelligence, because they see people doing it. We teach by example, and we lead by example. And I think everybody in this department is like that.”
Nicole Meilinger, a senior bioengineering major, credits LaBerge with helping open several opportunities for her.
She said that LaBerge encouraged her to apply for a three-semester rotation at CUBEInC through the Cooperative Education Program. The position put Meilinger into contact with some of the department’s industry partners and gave her the chance to conduct research.
Meilinger said her work was published, and she had the opportunity to present her findings at conferences.
LaBerge also introduced Meilinger to a class on developing and selling medical devices and recommended her for an Arthrex scholarship, which she received. Meilinger said that she has secured an internship with Arthrex and plans to start after graduating in May.
“I came into bioengineering not knowing what I wanted to do, and Dr. LaBerge has been the biggest mentor in helping me find different career paths,” Meilinger said. “She’s always helping us in ways you can’t even imagine.”
LaBerge, who is originally from Canada, arrived at Clemson as an assistant professor in 1990. She remembers having offers from other U.S. schools within a year. Two years after she arrived at Clemson, she interviewed to be an astronaut, she said.
“That was when they were working on the space station,” LaBerge said. “Canada needed a couple of astronauts. I went through the interview process.”
Ultimately, another candidate was chosen, and LaBerge said that she admired and followed his career.
What has kept her at Clemson for nearly decades are the opportunities in the department.
“Larry Dooley (retired bioengineering chair and Clemson vice president of research) was a big mentor of mine,” LaBerge said. “He always saw positive, he always saw growth, he always saw big. I’m the kind of person who does not like to sit down. I like big things to look after. So, I think Larry was very instrumental with this.”
LaBerge has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations, including president of the Society of Biomaterials, member of the Biomedical Engineering Society Board of Directors and chair of the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering in the U.S. and Canada.
In Clemson, her leadership positions included seven months in 2013 as acting dean of what was then the College of Engineering and Science, before the current dean, Anand Gramopadhye took the helm.
“Dr. LaBerge’s passion inspires students, faculty and staff to aspire to greater heights, learn more and achieve to the best of their abilities,” Gramopadhye said. “The Department of Bioengineering is thriving under her leadership. Further, she has exhibited leadership in key professional organizations, helping enhance Clemson’s national reputation in bioengineering. I congratulate her on the Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. It is richly deserved.”
Clemson and Arthrex are launching a program to teach students and support the med device industry see more
The surgical device industry is continuously growing and evolving. According to data from GlobalData, the orthopedics market is expected to grow to $66 billion by 2023 from $52.8 billion in 2017. In South Carolina, medical devices are an anchor of the state's fast-growing and globally respected life sciences industry, according to executives with SCBIO -- the Palmetto State's life sciences industry organization and champion.
In response to this upward trend, surgical device companies are seeking more employees with a specialized skillset, and thanks to a new partnership with Arthrex Inc., Clemson University students will be equipped to answer the call.
A global leader in minimally invasive orthopedics, Arthrex already works with Clemson on a number of research projects. Now it’s expanding its engagement with the university through a new, two-year pilot program developed with the needs of the surgical device industry in mind and a generous gift of ten $7,500 scholarships.
“Arthrex is one of the university’s valuable strategic partners, and this opportunity to work together to create programming unique to Clemson speaks volumes about what the company thinks of our talented faculty and students,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “This partnership is another example of Clemson’s ongoing commitment to the state of South Carolina, and I am grateful to Arthrex for its generous gift, which will enable our students to work with a world-class company to develop skills that are vital to the surgical device industry.”
“Arthrex takes great pride in its commitment to education and we are pleased to help develop the next generation of highly skilled professionals like Arthrex Technology Consultants who work with orthopedic surgeons to provide trustworthy technical product support,” said Arthrex President and founder Reinhold Schmieding.
In October 2017, Arthrex announced plans for a new $40 million facility in Sandy Springs, South Carolina. Surgical devices will be manufactured in the 290,000-square-foot facility, which is scheduled to open this summer. The new location is part of Arthrex’s efforts to expand its manufacturing base into South Carolina to create new products and jobs in America.
The pilot program will span two years and comprise a series of courses, Arthrex internships and additional learning opportunities for rising third-year students majoring in bioengineering, marketing and health sciences departments.
MKT 4950 Developing and Selling Medical Devices is the first course being offered in the series and will begin in fall 2019. Taught by Ryan Mullins in the College of Business, course material provides students an introduction to the health care industry with a focus on the development and marketing of surgical device innovations. Mullins was selected to develop the course as the Provost’s Inaugural Innovation Fellow, a program created to encourage faculty on campus to support corporate engagement efforts.
“Our collaboration with Arthrex helps us create a new type of focused course,” said Mullins. “We will walk students through real case studies at Arthrex to understand how surgical devices get translated from marketable idea to surgeon or physician adoption. This helps us illustrate the challenges inherent to both the health care marketplace and marketing of new offerings, which is not taught anywhere else.”
Students who are enrolled in the course may apply for the scholarship and additional programs offered as part of the two-year series of courses. Those who would like to participate in the entire program will take Student Affairs’ Certified Student Leader Program in the spring and an internship with Arthrex in the summer. Students outside of the participating departments can also intern with Arthrex by working with their advisers and the career center.
This partnership was developed through Clemson’s Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. Additional details regarding the scholarship, internship and second-year courses will be available soon.
Medical device manufacturer launching new operations in the Upstate; life science boom continues see more
Medical device manufacturer launching new operations in the Upstate
Monday, October 16, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Arthrex, Inc., a global orthopedic medical device company, headquartered in Naples, Fla., is launching new manufacturing operations in Anderson County. The $69 million capital investment is expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs over the next several years.
With a corporate mission aimed at helping surgeons treat patients better, Arthrex is a leader in new product development and medical education in orthopedics. The company is a pioneer in the field of arthroscopy and has developed more than 11,000 innovative products and surgical procedures to advance minimally invasive orthopedics worldwide.
Located at 5500 Highway 76 in Sandy Springs, S.C., Arthrex will be constructing a new 200,000-square-foot facility to manufacture its innovative orthopedic devices and implants. Hiring for the new positions should begin in the next 12 to 18 months, and interested applicants should visit the company’s careers page online(link is external).
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
“Arthrex is pleased to bring its innovative spirit and unique culture to Anderson County, S.C. and we look forward to leveraging the outstanding work done in the area to prepare future employees for high-level manufacturing jobs.” –Arthrex Vice President of Manufacturing Andy Owen
“South Carolina’s business-friendly climate continues to attract companies in every industry, and we’re proud to welcome Arthrex, Inc. to our growing business community. This a milestone for Anderson County, and we can’t wait to see the difference these jobs will make in the region.” –Gov. Henry McMaster
“Not only does our state excel in manufacturing, we’re also increasingly becoming a top choice for companies in the life sciences sector. Arthrex joins an impressive roster of life sciences firms that call South Carolina home, and we look forward to watching them grow in Anderson County for years to come.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“We are absolutely thrilled to begin our partnership with Arthrex. Their precision medical products are used by medical professionals around the globe, and the fact that our citizens have been chosen to make them says volumes about the quality of our workforce as well as the skills training we provide.” –Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn
“This announcement takes our county in an exciting direction. Our goal of establishing a diverse economic base for our citizens is becoming a reality. The presence of this world-class company in our community speaks for who we are in Anderson, and we welcome them with open arms.” –Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen, District Four
FIVE FAST FACTS
- Arthrex is launching new manufacturing operations in Anderson County.
- $69 million capital investment to create more than 1,000 new jobs.
- Arthrex is a leading manufacturer of orthopedic medical devices.
- Located at 5500 Highway 76 in Sandy Springs, S.C., the company will be constructing a new 200,000-square-foot facility to manufacture its innovative orthopedic devices and implants.
- Hiring for the new positions should begin in the next 12 to 18 months, and interested applicants should visit the company’s careers page online.