Profile: Arush Kalra Wanted to Better Design Medical Implants-Project Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Profile: Arush Kalra Wanted to Better Design Medical Implants

Hand-eye coordination wasn’t a big worry for Arush Kalra, who isn’t a surgeon but nevertheless spent time last year practicing threading artificial valves through blood vessels and into animal and human hearts.

What he wanted — the reason for enrolling in the three-day class sponsored by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Chicago — was to get inside the heads of the doctors there to help him better design medical implants.

“I wanted to know what’s really going on in the mind of the surgeon,” said Mr. Kalra, who is chief scientific officer at Etna-based Peca Labs Inc., a maker of pediatric heart valve implants. “I wanted to know the mindset of the people who will be using these devices.”

Mr. Kalra has bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in India and a master’s degree in biomechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also helping to prepare Peca for a move to Lawrenceville while continuing to think about his company’s devices, mindful of the preparation and skill that will be needed to use them.

“It should be simple,” he said about the design. “The simpler the product, the smarter the product.”

“It makes the device cheaper, causing fewer complications and saves time.”

With work on the heart valve, Mr. Kalra said, has come a renewed interest in arts and philosophy — interests that “sharpen my focus, make me more humble and help me make better decisions.” American poet e.e. cummings has been a special interest in recent years, said Mr. Kalra, who hasn’t owned a television in a dozen years.

Peca’s pediatric heart valves will help the sickest children, he said, giving meaning to his work and bigger thoughts about life.

“The more I work in the field of death, the more I think about my purpose, my human purpose,” he said. “Everyone is born equal, so we want an equitable future where every child gets an equal chance.

“We’re not giving up on our ethics.” Read More»

By: Kris B. Mamula