CI3M Services [Interview][Transcript]

Guest: Dr. Emilio Sacristan
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Emilio Sacristan is Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering , Director and Founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research, CI3M, at the UAM-Iztapalapa in Mexico City. He is also an active entrepreneur seeking to translate medical innovations to the market, having served as founder/CEO/CSO of Enviva Corp. (MA), Innovamedica (Mexico), Abdeo Medical (Mexico and CA), Critical Perfusion Inc. (CA), and currently serves as Chief Science Officer of Nervive, Inc. He holds a B.S. in EE and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Dr. Emilio Sacristan, Director and Founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research, CI3M, discusses services available to medical researchers and startups.


Health Professional Radio

Neal Howard: Hello you’re listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Thank you so much for joining us today. In studio today we’re talking with Dr. Emilio Sacristan, professor of electrical and biomedical engineering. He’s been such since 1995 and director and founder at the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research. He’s here today to talk with us about some of the services that are available to medical researchers and medical startups through his organization. How are you doing today doctor?

Dr. Emilio Sacristan: Very well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Neal: Thank you so much. First of all could you tell us the name of your organization and also when it was founded?

Dr. Sacristan: Yes, the name is a mouthful. It’s the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research in Mexico City and by its name in Spanish we all call it “CI3M,” which is the shorter version of our name. And it’s a national laboratory funded in part by the Mexican government to promote research and development into medical technologies.

N: And now when you say promote research into medical technologies, are you saying that you provide startup funding or simply equipment? How deep is your promotion and support?

S: Okay, well first of all we have state of the art research facilities for conducting all kind of different research which include for example experimental surgical suite, we have several MRI scanners, we have animal facilities, we have printing, bio printing, ultrasound, CT angiography, x-ray. We also have a medical instrumental laboratory, capabilities for doing prototype being electronics, magnetics, sensors and tissue engineering. So we do a little bit of all that.

N: A one-stop shop.

S: Yeah, we have all those facilities available to any researcher anywhere that has a project that wants to come and wants to test something. We do charge a fee for the uses of the facilities and for some of the services that we provide. We can get animals, we can provide a veterinarian or an anesthesiologist, or a technician, or an engineer or whatever the project requires. We also provide services as such as we’ll develop the protocols, we’ll design the experiments, we’ll analyze the results, we’ll put together the files for regulatory bodies and we’ll help with the regulatory procedures permission to do some of the research. And also to file for FDA approval for example.

N: So basically you’ve got an entire staff of people that are qualified and skilled in these different areas that you mentioned. Or are you contracting those services out from people who are say freelance or from other hospitals or organizations?

S: We do both. We have a staff of about 35 people full time. And then we also have a long list of partners such as neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist. People that we can call for specific project or needed some help, there are people that we’ll bring in on a case by case basis.

N: Now when you have people who are using your facilities and you’re services in order to say invent new technologies and research new methods and procedures, how much of the patenting do you over see and do you share in these patents or is that something that goes both ways or in every case different?

S: Well every case is a little different, we do have certain policies. If employees of the university or employees of the laboratory contributed, they have to be named as inventors. On sponsored research we usually consigned an agreement where all the rights will be assigned to whoever sponsored the research. So we work a lot with a startups and they will bring some idea and we’ll work on it, and will file patents, and that we can usually work out an agreement where all the patent rights are given over to the sponsor. But we’re flexible on this, depending on how much, you mentioned about funding, we do provide some funding for some projects. And the part that we have fund of course we retain some of that at least that proportion of the rights. We do have a way of funding a little bit other research. And we also have a department that helps researchers get grants, we have kind of grant writing service.

N: Okay.

S: So we often get researchers, or here it would be a doctor has his idea who brings it to us, we do a few pilot studies, we try it, get some very early data to suggest that this might be an interesting research. And then we’ll help the doctor write a grant to actually get funding to do maybe at 1, 2, or 3 year project to develop the idea further. So that’s one of the services that we provide and we also provide a service, we also have an expert IP intellectual property specialist that helps us, find searches and write up the patent and all and of course we have patent lawyers. We can either use ours or whatever the sponsor would rather use but we also provide that service to help protect the technology.

N: What are some of the basic requirements that someone needs to meet before you, for lack of a better term, go out on a limb to help them in their invention or their innovative idea?

S: Well any research that has an idea that wants to do some research. Our lab has to basically fell out of short forms, wanting to experiments that he proposes are, what he wants to do. And that has to go through our scientific committee that just looks it over. As long as it’s not dangerous to anybody to the equipment, to infrastructure or staff and the researcher’s willing to pay for the cost, we are there to serve. So we’re pretty happy to do whatever anybody proposes. In the case that the research does not have the funding then the scientific panel will look into how much we can support the early work. And we usually will say well we’ll do some preliminary work free of charge but the condition is that we will have to write a grant together and ask for the money to go forward, because we can’t just support any wild idea. And it usually has to be approved by scientific committee. So anybody comes up with some really some crazy idea, we might not decide that it’s worth funding.

N: Now finally how can someone contact you or your organization in order to get more information about your services that you offer?

S: Well its very simple you can do it through our webpage at and we’re in Mexico. And we’re happy to work with people from all over the world, we actually do. It’s not just for Mexicans.

N: Absolutely, great. You’ve listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking in studio today with Dr. Emilio Sacristan, professor of electrical and biomedical engineering and director and founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research in Mexico City. And we’ve been here discussing some of the services that are available to medical researchers and medical startups. Those folks who are thinking about some of the problems that we face and addressing some of those problems, Dr. Emilio Sacristan and his company and his staff are readily available to help. It’s been great talking with you today doctor.

S: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure Neal.

N: Thank you so much. Transcript and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.