Faces of Research: Meet Nakia Melecio

Melecio Graphic

The Enterprise Innovation Institute is Georgia Tech’s economic development arm. With more than a dozen programs, it serves all of Georgia and beyond through a variety of services and offerings that build and scale startups, grow business enterprises, and energize ecosystem builders.

This installment of the Faces of Research Series Q&A series is with Nakia Melecio, senior research faculty member and director of the Center for MedTech Excellence at the Enterprise Innovation Institute.

What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it?
I'm a member of the senior research faculty at Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. I have a strong passion for helping researchers and scientists translate their research and discoveries into commercial startups with a heavy focus in deep tech.

What makes the Center for MedTech Excellence's approach to economic development] unique?
We catalyze the development and commercialization of breakthrough biotechnology, medical devices, life science, and therapeutic innovations. We serve as trusted partners and deliver a complete toolkit to enhance the odds of success of early-stage biotech companies. The Center's efforts are supported the Enterprise Innovation Institute's Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and the Advanced technology Development Center, as well as Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a Georgia Tech affiliate.

What couldn't have happened without the Center for MedTech Excellence?
A scan of Georgia’s startup support organizations revealed gaps in the resources available for medical technology or MedTech startups. The curriculum geared for idea-stage startups that uses evidence-based entrepreneurship (Lean Startup) programming is widely available. But while this is a great foundation, this programming does not help startups understand the process of scaling their business, nor does it contribute to medical device companies' regulatory and unique development needs and their technologies. Beyond the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), there are no programs with a structured curriculum and hands-on programming to take a proven model to scale. The Center for MedTech Excellence outlines the current gaps in scaling MedTech companies and we've created programming and activities to address those gaps.

What impact is Georgia Tech's research having on the clients with whom you work?
The impact is enormous because we are not only creating new industries, but our Center, with its research focus in the MedTech space, is helping drive high-paying scientific jobs and transform underserved communities with quality sustainable economic impact.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not working?
I love to work even in my spare time by supporting the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program at the U.S. State Department. This allows me to give back to the global scientific, research, and academic communities worldwide in emerging markets where they don’t have access to resources, coaching, or mentoring. When truly unplugging, I like to cook and grill, I'm nuts about Christmas-themed movies, I like physical activities including I cycling, mountain biking, and swimming.

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