On how the MTM prepared her for a business career in the medical device industry

Maria graduated from the MTM program in 2019, and is currently a Regulatory Affairs Associate at Experien Group, a leading quality and clinical strategist consulting firm in the medical device industry. We asked her about her experience in the MTM program and how she’s applying what she learned during her time as a student in her current role.

What inspired you to pursue a Master of Translational Medicine degree?

I once worked as an intern on a project to develop an Android app to predict epileptic seizures. My advisor had developed an amazing technology, but he had a really hard time commercializing the project past proof-of-concept and creating a product-to-market strategy. This experience shaped my passion to help people create solutions that will impact the healthcare space. When I heard about the field of Translational Medicine, I thought to myself “That’s it! That’s what so many people are missing!” I saw the need for people to help commercialize and “translate” these engineering ideas into actual products that can reach patients.

What are you currently working on? How has what you learned in the MTM contributed your work?

I am currently a Regulatory Affairs Associate at Experien Group, a consulting firm that specializes in regulatory, quality and clinical support for medical device companies. I’m grateful for the connections I gained through MTM; these helped me land my job at the Experien Group. The company was often present at networking events and during my year, they guest lectured in one of my classes. I work with all kinds of technologies and companies⁠ — from small, two person teams up to large startups and corporations⁠ — and help these companies succeed in one of the trickiest parts of the medical device commercialization process.

Maria and her capstone project team at the UC Berkeley campus.

What was your capstone project and how did it prepare you for your current role?

My project was in collaboration with Nima Sensor, a start-up that developed a device to test for allergens in people’s food. The goal was to prevent people from having allergic reactions by indicating if there was a large amount of the allergen (i.e. gluten, peanut…) in the sample. Working on this wellness device helped me see firsthand how positioning the claims around the device can have a huge impact on the business. In my role in regulatory affairs, the claims a company makes can change how a device is regulated and can potentially open or close different avenues of business.

How has the MTM degree prepared you for leadership?

When you work for a start-up, you have to wear multiple hats and always be ready to take on a task outside of your comfort zone. Because of this, I now have an appreciation for multiple roles, and the initiative it takes to fill them and collaborate with others in doing so.

Maria and some of her cohort mates at an MTM Surf Social.

What advice do you have for someone considering the MTM program?

The MTM is meant to give you a great overview of the whole medical device commercialization process, but keep an eye out for those moments or connections that really stand out to you, and pursue them! If you think a technology or clinical space is really interesting, try to talk to someone from the specific company to get an appreciation of what they went through. This program can set you up for success if you keep your mind open and pursue connections that you are naturally drawn to.

Connect with Maria on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Experien Group.

We’re a 1-year professional master’s program at UC Berkeley and UCSF that trains future leaders in healthcare innovation.