Abbott Medical Optics President Keynotes Convocation 2013
Event honored the scientific career of KGI's Dr. Ian Phillips on his 75th Birthday
At the 2013 Convocation on September 6, KGI President Sheldon Schuster told guests and members of the KGI community that the 2013 Convocation was a time to celebrate the Institute's fantastic accomplishments and to celebrate the scientific career of Dr. Ian Phillips.
"I know this may sound like a puffery, but I believe we are one of the most innovative institutions in the world," he said. "We do things extremely quickly and with great innovation, which is not easy for an academic institution."
In highlighting specific areas of innovation, President Schuster mentioned KGI's pioneering role in the Professional Science Master's movement, with the creation of one of the first PSM degrees, the Master of Bioscience. "We are now joined by 299 other institutions that offer PSM degrees; I guess that makes us the grandfather of the PSM movement," he said jokingly.
Other examples of innovation, President Schuster said, include KGI's unique PPC program, which puts an emphasis on "using medicine for the benefit of society," and the creation of the Postdoctoral Professional Masters degree. "No one else in the world has such a program," he added.
President Schuster also talked about the fantastic accomplishments of Dr. Ian Phillips as a "scientist, educator and citizen of our own institution." Dr. Phillips is the Norris Professor of Applied Life Sciences and Director of the Center for Rare Disease Therapies at KGI.
"I have known Ian for many years, since we worked together at UF, and I think it would be nearly impossible to overstate his effectiveness as a teacher and researcher and the impact that he's had on every organization he's been a part of, including KGI. Our entire community is very happy to have this opportunity to show our appreciation for his efforts at this year's Convocation," President Schuster said.
Dr. Murthy V. Simhambhatla, president of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) and senior vice president at Abbott, was the speaker at Convocation 2013 on September 6. Dr. Simhambhatla has broad healthcare industry experience in leading integrated medical device businesses, including a succession of management roles in R&D, new ventures, manufacturing process development and commercial operations.
Prior to heading up AMO, which offers market-leading technologies and services designed to address a multitude of vision disorders, Dr. Simhambhatla led Abbott's Ibis Biosciences division. Ibis is well known for its innovative DNA analysis technologies that address a significant unmet need for the rapid and broad identification of microbes that cause infectious diseases.
Dr. Simhambhatla joined Ibis Biosciences from Abbott Vascular, where he was general manager for commercial operations in Australia and New Zealand. He led Abbott Vascular through significant growth during his tenure, achieving vascular market leadership in the region for the company. Dr. Simhambhatla joined Abbott in 2006 as divisional vice president & general manager for drug eluting stents through Abbott's acquisition of Guidant's vascular business, where he was responsible for the development of the market-leading Xience coronary drug eluting stent. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from India and a doctorate in polymer engineering from the University of Akron.
During his address, Dr. Simhambhatla spoke of his personal journey from "wide-eyed" high school in India to head of a global healthcare company and said that he wanted to share some of the lessons that he learned along the way with KGI students.
Those lessons include the importance of challenging the status quo. He said that since rules and processes were made by people, it is important to challenge every rule and process. Dr. Simhambhatla also advised the audience to ensure that they were solving the right problems and not to waste their time on the wrong ones and to think from the outside-in or from the customer's perspective. Finally, he told the students that that they should aspire to a calling, not to a position or title.
When speaking about his observations on the future of health care, Dr. Simhambhatla emphasized the increasing global nature of health care and the importance of emerging markets.
"Seventy percent of Abbot's revenues now come from outside of the U.S., and 40 percent come from emerging markets," he said. "It's not that the U.S. has become smaller, but that the rest of the world has become bigger. When you think about revenues and sales, you don't just think about the U.S., Europe and Japan anymore, you think about the whole world."
The list of speakers at this year's ceremony also included Dr. Henrique Cheng, an associate professor of physiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine of Louisiana State University, Dr. Dhruv Sareen, the director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core Facility and a research scientist faculty at Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, Dr. Jay Mehta, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and Stebbins chair in cardiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Dr. Edilamar Menezes de Oliveira, an associate professor of biochemistry, University of São Paulo and director of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Applied to the Exercise, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo. All four speakers were mentored by or worked with Dr. Phillips at some point in their careers.