Two Awards Show UA Cardiologist Dr. Marvin Slepian to be ‘Man for All Seasons’

Dr. Marvin J. Slepian, second from right, celebrates his 2019 UA Engineering da Vinci Fellowship with his wife, Donna, second from left, and his daughters, Becca and Sara. (Courtesy of the UA College of Engineering)University of Arizona cardiologist, inventor and biomedical engineer Marvin Slepian, MD, has been rolling in kudos of late, with his most recent recognitions coming from the UA College of Engineering where he was named a da Vinci Fellow and his alma mater for his medical degree, the University of Cincinnati, which presented him May 20 with one of four Drake Medals.

At the UA, Dr. Slepian is a professor of medicine, medical imaging, materials science and engineering, and biomedical engineering (also serving as biomedical engineering associate department head)—the first two in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, the last two in the UA College of Engineering; a McGuire Scholar in the UA College of Management; founder and director of the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation (ACABI); and a member of the UA Sarver Heart Center and UA BIO5 Institute.

On top of all that, he’s also a law student at the UA James E. Rogers College of Law.

Recent Activities of Note

Covers of Scientific Reports and Annals of Biomedical EngineeringHis paper on hemodynamics of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), “Comparative fluid-structure interaction analysis of polymeric transcatheter and surgical aortic valve,” that appeared in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering in September 2018 was selected as one of 12 Editors’ Choice papers for 2018, he was informed in January.

Another paper he co-authored, “Device Thrombogenicity Emulation: An In Silico Predictor of In Vitro and In Vivo Ventricular Assist Device Thrombogenicity,” in Scientific Reports in February 2019, has been widely cited as offering a significant breakthrough in predicting blood-clotting potential in mechanical heart devices.

Also in February, he was one of seven UA Health Sciences investigators chosen to present at the Shark Tank competition at the inaugural Research Day hosted by the UA College of Medicine – Tucson at the new Health Sciences Innovation Building — its first public event.

And, in March, he co-chaired an international forum on “Virtual Reality and Healthcare” at the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center.

In addition, he was named a Regents’ Professor by the Arizona Board of Regents in mid-April.

A True ‘Renaissance’ Man

His groundbreaking work in medicine, engineering and business has resulted in many breakthroughs that have made a dramatic impact in saving and improving people’s lives. For example, his translational work has resulted in novel therapeutic solutions, including stent coatings, polymer paving, synthetic tissue and cardiovascular prosthetic devices, including the total artificial heart, to name a few.

UA College of Engineering's da Vinci Fellow statuetteThe da Vinci award was presented to Dr. Slepian in recognition of his many achievements at a dinner hosted by the UA College of Engineering at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa on April 28. Along with the award comes a $10,000 prize, with which Dr. Slepian plans to support student research in his lab and find ways to present their data to the world. Winners of the UA College of Engineering's da Vinci Fellow honorSince 2004, 17 da Vinci fellows have been named. The award is funded by the college’s da Vinci Circle, which has a goal of “fostering a renaissance in engineering.”

He got his experimental start in the home laboratory of his father, also a physician, in New York. From there, there was no stopping him.

“I always felt that I would somehow combine clinical medicine with engineering to make a difference, to be able to affect a larger group,” Dr. Slepian said in a College of Engineering article on becoming a da Vinci fellow.

At the Westin La Paloma, six undergraduate students also were named da Vinci Scholars and the college inducted a third class into its Hall of Fame. About 220 faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters attended.

An Auspicious Honor Roll

Receiving Drake Medals were Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a 1987 graduate of the College of Medicine; Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD, a UC professor of pediatrics; Myles Pensak, MD, the college’s senior associate dean for clinical affairs; and Marvin Slepian, MD, a 1981 College of Medicine graduate. (Courtesy of University of Cincinnati)In Ohio, the Drake Medals were first awarded in 1985 to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s founder, Daniel Drake, MD. Dr. Slepian is a 1981 graduate.

In the announcement of this year’s medals, it notes Dr. Slepian is named as an inventor on 52 issued patents and 46 patent applications and co-founded SynCardia Systems, manufacturer of the only total artificial heart approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and the European Economic Area—as well as several other medical device companies.

University of Cincinnati's Drake MedalOther honors he has received for his academic and translational research activities include the American Heart Association award for the most significant advance in cardiovascular medicine, the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Biomedical Science Innovation, his role as immediate past-president of the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support, and his pick as president-elect of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO).

Dr. Slepian also is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and an elected member of the Roundtable on Biomedical Engineering Materials and Applications of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

NOTE: Thank you to Emily Dieckman, editor with Marketing & Communications team at UA College of Engineering. 

“College of Medicine Awards Four Drake Medals at Honors Day” | (University of Cincinnati) Posted May 20, 2019
“College of Engineering Supporters Gather at da Vinci Dinner” | (UA College of Engineering) Posted May 2, 2019
“Dr. Marvin Slepian Receives Much-Deserved Appointment as Regents' Professor” | Posted April 19, 2019
“2019 da Vinci Fellow: Dr. Marvin J. Slepian” | (UA College of Engineering) Posted April 18, 2019

Release Date: 
05/21/2019 - 5:00pm