A Lift to the Market

Biomedical Engineering lecturer Michael Whitt (center) is one of three new 2018-2019 CIE Faculty Fellows. He joins Bo Liu (left), and Erik Sapper.

Michael Whitt, a biomedical engineering lecturer who holds five medical device patents and a master’s degree in business, was one of three new Faculty Fellows recently named by Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

Whitt joins Bo Liu, from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Erik Sapper, from the College of Science and Mathematics, as part of an interdisciplinary community committed to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. The fellows work to raise awareness for the center’s programs and provide guidance to students and faculty with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our students are extremely creative and talented,” Whitt said. “They have developed amazing prototypes in the senior design class. I believe that part of our responsibility as Faculty Fellows is to guide them through the process of getting their ideas to market.”

Whitt is currently working to get a significant medical device to the market himself. His SmartCuff device, measuring endothelial dysfunction, would help predict a major adverse cardiovascular event. Whitt’s company, Cordex System, has raised over $5 million in investor money for the device.

“We are analyzing clinical data and are very excited about the future,” he said.

Michael Whitt teaching student on HP laptop
Michael Whitt demonstrates the SmartCuff with Tamiko Saldin, a graduate biomedical engineering student from El Segundo.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University, Whitt earned a master’s and doctorate in bioengineering from Rutgers. He returned to school for a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA. His stint in industry includes 13 years working for Eli Lilly as a senior engineer. And his academic career includes teaching jobs at Purdue, Notre Dame and Miami Dade College, where he chaired the Engineering Department. He has taught at the Biomedical Engineering Department at Cal Poly for four years.

As a CIE fellow, Whitt will share knowledge he has gained in all areas.

“My hope is that my experiences from industry and start-up activities will lead to incredible successes for individuals and teams within our community,” he said. “I see my primary role as a conduit providing assistance for students that have pharmaceutical or medical device entrepreneurial ideas.”

Whitt joins a contingent of 18 other Faculty Fellows, five of which are from the College of Engineering: Bob Crockett (biomedical); Graham Doig (aerospace); Dale Dolan (electrical); David Janzen (computer science and software engineering); and Lynne Slivovsky (electrical).

The CIE, which began its Faculty Fellows program in 2012, promotes entrepreneurial activity across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo.

The Cal Poly College of Engineering understands there has been an enormous amount of turmoil and transition due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue offering support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we also continue providing critical updates as well as college highlights. Ours is a college full of creative and bright engineers and staff. For more information on COVID-19 visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For more information on how Cal Poly is responding to COVID-19, visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website Coronavirus website.


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