Stents, spinouts and student wrestling – five questions with Ali Mosayyebi
Senior Research Assistant Ali Mosayyebi is an expert in using microfluidics to investigate different therapeutical and sensing devices.
As part of Future Worlds’ Five Questions (5Qs) series, he shares how he is transferring University research into the real world through the Simple Stents spinout and offers his advice for fellow scientists thinking of commercialising their work.
What’s been your experience to date at the University of Southampton?
Studying at the University of Southampton has been a valuable experience in my life. I’ve had opportunities to get involved in many projects from my MSc in Microelectronics Systems Design, research projects in the Optoelectronics Research Centre and a PhD in Bioengineering. I have learnt so much during these degrees that I simply cannot put any value on them.
In addition to my study, I’ve also been involved in different sports and social societies. For instance, I’ve been an active member of the taekwondo club since 2011 and also established a Southampton student wrestling club. I acted as President of the University of Southampton Persian Society and supervised a committee running social, cultural and traditional events.
Where did the idea come from for Simple Stents?
I’ve always had the dream of having the knowledge and capability to perform novel research and run a medical enterprise. The idea came from my PhD research, in which I investigated the mechanism of failures in urinary stents.
The investigation led to finding the important role of fluid dynamics in governing the formation and growth of encrusting deposits and bacterial colonisation, inspiring me to introduce novel urinary stent designs (independent from bulk material and coatings) that were then filled in a patent at the University of Southampton.
What have you enjoyed most about your journey so far?
That first of all, it’s not a simple journey at all but it’s quite an enjoyable one. There is so much to learn and so many people to get to know. Starting journeys like this is always associated with a little bit of fear of ‘what if I fail?’
But after overcoming this initial hesitation, the excitement of finding new ways of getting things done takes over. This is when ‘what if I fail?’ is replaced by ‘what about if I do it this/that way?’
What are the next steps for the startup?
At the moment the patent is filed and our team have started further expanding our current links with clinicians and healthcare professionals to improve our product even further.
One of the biggest challenges in our startup was manufacturing the first pilot product, which has now been successfully addressed.
The next step would be to perform in-vivo (animal) trials to further verify the significant effect of our product in reducing the encrusting deposits and bacterial colonisation in stents. For this we are looking for funding/investment and mentors with knowledge in the field to help us further our progress.
What would be one piece of advice for other scientists interested in transforming their research into an entrepreneurial venture?
First of all, never give up. No one is going to do the job for you, so do yourself a favour; put any hidden laziness aside and act the same way you did in your research when you got such great results.
Second, always remember that sharing is caring. Having a good team is always advantageous. Each individual is capable of doing so much on their own. You will achieve much more than you think if you share it with right people. Of course, it’s important to have all the required paperwork and agreements in place. So, sharing the work with the right team is caring about your product.
Find out more about Simple Stents through its Future Worlds Discover profile and video.