Senior Biomedical Engineer Neuromodulation, Medtronic

Jan 19, 2023
Senior Biomedical Engineer Neuromodulation, Medtronic

An alum of the 2020 SMDP Medtech Scholar cohort, Joshua Usoro, PhD, is the Senior Biomedical Engineer at Medtronic. As the Senior Biomedical Engineer, Joshua helps with the research and development of next generation enabling technology and features for implantable neurostimulators. 

What is the highest degree you have earned and what can you tell us about your academic path?

I earned my PhD Summer 2021. I took a slightly indirect path to get to where I am today. I studied biomedical engineering at Duke University and took a research position in Seattle after graduating. Shortly afterwards however, a government shutdown prevented the lab from renewing the federal funding for my position, so I found myself out of a job. This led to me taking a position as a clinical engineer in western Michigan for a couple of years, but I realized that I wanted to specialize in something different. So, I decided to get a masters at Grand Valley State University while working and later focused on school full-time. My thesis work focused on non-invasive neural interfaces, but I always had the desire to learn about implantable devices, which led me to pursue a PhD at The University of Texas at Dallas where I studied brain-machine interfaces.   

Where do you work now and what is your company about?

I currently work at Medtronic, a healthcare technology company focused on providing innovative solutions for patients to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. More specifically, I work within Neuromodulation which offers therapy solutions in chronic pain, pelvic floor disorders, and brain disorders.

How did you first learn about the company?

I first learned about Medtronic while I was studying biomedical engineering during undergrad. It was one of the big companies that everyone in the department talked about wanting to work for so I’m glad I was able to fulfill that goal almost 10 years later.

What do you like most about the company?

Because Medtronic is such a big company, you can find subject matter experts in pretty much any discipline from engineering, to finance, to everything in between, who are willing to sit and chat with you. It’s an immensely useful resource and one that can foster a lot of interesting collaborations if you’re willing to seek them out

What skills make you successful in your role and why did you choose this role?

From a more technical perspective, data analytics, signal processing, and coding are all skills that I use more often. While there was a steep learning curve to understand Medtronic’s processes and technologies, this role has essentially been an extension of my PhD, meaning there’s a heavy focus on research, design of experiments, and knowing how to insightfully ask and answer hypotheses.

How do you define success?

Having features that I work on make their way to a commercialized product that will help patients. My day-to-day successes come from finding ways to test and answer hypotheses that help inform how to best enable, utilize, or implement this technology. 

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

Knowing that at the end of each day, the work I’m doing will directly impact patient lives. Being able to do that through creative problem solving and new technology is just icing on the cake.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

Keep yourself open to new opportunities and meeting new people. I swore in undergrad that I would never go back to school, yet here I am two advanced degrees later. I ultimately ended up where I wanted to be, but I got to experience a much more colorful journey along the way, none of which would have been possible without a few key people I met along the way.

What book did you read last?

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, highly recommend for anyone that loves science fiction.