Featured: Innovative Minds In Veterinary Medicine- Will Byron

A Sit Down Interview with Will Byron, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder at Med Dimensions.

1. What has inspired you to help animals?
From before I was even born, my parents had been doing animal rescue which meant I was born in a life full of, and fulfilled by, animals. It ranged from things as small as fish to as large as horses, and dozens of different types in-between. With parents both in the medical field, it meant we got the “broken pets” that people dumped or couldn’t care for medically. Watching these animals being nurtured back to health, and my parents doing the same for people, ingrained a desire to find ways to help those who can’t always help themselves.

2. You mentioned growing up with “broken pets” and watching them be nurtured back to health.What’s it like knowing your work and education has been to help animals?
To be frank, its fulfilling to know that I can still help pets while being involved in really high tech stuff. I always struggled to see how I could blend all my interests and still be in touch with my passion for animals. I thought I would need to go after a job would give me the financial means to do so, but now I get to help pets everyday AND its everything I, as a self proclaimed “enginerd”, love to do and tinker with.

3. When you see a surgical cutting guide that Med Dimensions made being used in a procedure, what is that feeling like?
I can’t really find the right word- beyond flabbergasted! The fact we can help pets through technology that is so new and just coming to light in human medicine, is beyond what I dreamed possible until a few years ago. On top of that, having spent those years hearing the stories, seeing the stress in the OR, and then hearing how these cutting guides really helped or even so far as “making the surgery possible”, leaves me feeling like I’m dreaming.

4. When did you discover your engineering experience would help you create products to assist vets and people’s pets?
A bit of backstory is necessary here; I came into undergrad dead set on making the next generation of prosthetics. I was convinced there was no other way, no other thing I ever wanted to do. I thought that was my new reality after I joined a human focused prosthesis lab working with our Co-Founder and CEO Sean Bellefueille. When that lab closed down, Sean and I decided that was not going to be the end of it, we spent a lot of time figuring out how to make this into a club. Through some of resources from that lab, and people like Jade Meyers from RIT, the club came to fruition and we were connected with some people and a pet or two in need. The details are muddy on how it all happened, but eventually the club was running more projects for pets in need than people. There was no single point in that process where I just knew, but eventually I decided I loved the pets part of the work and I think I could do this forever, because it seemed like pets were really overlooked. A few more years of doing that work, and a local veterinary surgeon reaching out to us for help on a angular limb deformity case then opened my eyes to the fact I could help pets by helping their vets! It really was that case that started a cascade of events that lead me to know I wanted to use my engineering skills to help pets and vets.

5. What motivates you to continue your work at Med Dimensions on a day-to-day basis?
I think the drive largely comes from the life long passion of helping pets, and trying to manifest that as a career, alongside my love for exploring new technologies or new ways to use it. When I take a step back to look at his from a 3rd person perspective, I’m doing something that satisfies a core value, I’m doing something I have loved my whole life and was a huge portion of that life growing up, and I’m getting to do this all in the realm of hobbies and technologies that I love exploring. How could you not feel motivated to get up in the morning, or stay up late in the evening for those of us who claim to be nocturnal, when you hit a trifecta like that? I really can’t envision something more perfect for me to be doing with my life. So the shorter version; because I love what I’m doing to my core.

6.What is your favorite pastime with pets?
Show me a a mountain to hike and a dog by my side, and I couldn’t be happier! Being outside is my escape, and an accompanying pets is the cherry on top. Somewhat ironic for the person saying they love high tech stuff, but there is something about the calm of nature, and the unspoken (quite literally) communications between pet and person that make the chaos of the world, the rings of messages, and the hubbub of life a distant worry for a short time.

Follow Will Byron on LinkedIn here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn Here.

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Vet Candy- Sean Bellefeuille is All About His Next Challenge

From Vet Candy, 2/7/2022

The path to veterinarian doesn’t usually start with engineering, but Cornell student, Sean Bellefeuille, is not your typical vet student. His inspiration for becoming a vet student actually came from a club he joined early on in University, helping to create 3D models for children’s prosthetics.

This club sparked an interest in the possibilities of medical technology and was the inspiration for his new business. Today, Sean balances his busy life as a vet student with his new business, creating models and other creative technologies to assist vets.

Although he is in vet school now, it wasn’t an easy decision for Sean. Before he enrolled in vet school he had discovered a passion for 3D printing, but had no idea what he wanted to do with it. There are so many paths 3D models can take.

Today, he is confident in his decision, and excited about the future his innovative creations can give vets, the pets they care for, and their owners alike.

Despite how hard it was to make his decision on veterinary school, he does have another idea up his sleeve if it ends up not panning out. If he had to choose a different career, Sean would love to put his engineering skills to work designing new lego sets.

His passion for creating new things and figuring out how to put things together could easily be put to work creating new and exciting sets for children instead. Fortunately for the pets however, he’s happy in his career choice so far.

To relax after a difficult day of veterinary school, Sean loves nothing more than a good game of hockey. Sean is French Canadian, which means he has played hockey most of his life. When he’s out on the ice with his team, he thinks of nothing else besides the game for that period of time.

The freedom to focus on nothing else can help clear his head and make going back to school the next day easier.

Like most in the veterinary industry, Sean has his concerns about the field and the direction it is heading. His concerns include the price of care. It costs money to buy new technology, train staff in new techniques, and pay them the wages they deserve. It’s very similar to the human medicine field.

Unfortunately, very few pet parents have insurance to pay for this in the same way humans do. Sean believes that finding low-cost solutions to more expensive procedures would help save more pets and bring financial relief to pet owners.

Although it is sometimes hard to see from the customer side of things, vets face some rather unusual challenges. Pets can come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and species. A surgery for a 5-pound chihuahua won’t be the same as it will be for a 50 pound lab. 

This is one of the reasons Sean is so passionate about his start-up, Med Dimensions. Veterinarians are creative beings all on their own, and often have ideas for tools or low-cost solutions for pet treatments. Sean’s mission in life is to provide these tools to veterinarians so they can save more lives.

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M3Dimensions shifts from 3D modeling to face shields

From Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Business journal, 3/24/2020

In normal times, M3Dimensions would be bettering the surgical process for veterinarians and providing veterinary students with 3D models to enhance learning.

But during this global coronavirus pandemic, the Rochester-based medical device company is instead creating lightweight, protective face shields for health care workers.

M3Dimensions, a startup launched by a group of former and current Rochester Institute of Technology students, has been in contact with medical professionals on Long Island to design and produce a practical face shield.

“We’re trying to work with their protocols so there’s an airtight seal,” said Sean Bellefeuille, co-founder and CEO of the firm. “We have to make sure everything fits their needs.”

The goal is to supply health care workers with a tangible extra layer of protection, using the firm’s 3D printing process to create the top band that holds the shield. The shield uses a closed-cell foam cushion and polyethylene terephthalate plastic, which does not absorb moisture or harbor bacteria.

“With everything going on, a lot of people are trying to help,” Bellefeuille said. “But you don’t want something that isn’t safe and gives someone a false sense of security. This would be an extra barrier to block the virus.”

Based on printer inventory, Bellefeuille figures M3Dimensions can produce 40 to 60 shields a day. Other firms with Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printers can also produce the shields, he said. The M3Dimensions website provides more information.

M3Dimensions was founded in the summer of 2019, though the seven-person group has been working together on implementation of the business idea since 2018.

The company works to provide veterinarians a precise 3D model of a knee ailment or bone abnormality before surgery. The anatomical model is made from polylactic acid plastic and is created from an MRI or CT scan. The technology can also be used in the medical field.

By examining the model ahead of time, doctors can determine what exactly must be done in surgery to correct the existing medical issue. That reduces time in the operating room and time under anesthesia for the pet, said Michael Campbell, director of business development for M3Dimensions.

The firm has also provided veterinary schools with a batch of anatomical models so students can see, touch and feel what they would find in surgery.

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