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MEMP Alum Profile: Talking the Talk

Friday, March 6, 2015

Maya Barley, '07, Director of Clinical Strategy for Imaging Systems, Philips Healthcare

As an undergraduate, Maya Barley was studying electrical engineering, but she wanted to be a doctor. And an astronaut. While doing a summer internship at NASA, she happened across HST’s Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) PhD program. “I’d found the magical combination of medical experience and engineering,” she says. “I said, this is it. This, or nothing.”

Barley, PhD ‘07, now Director of Clinical Strategy for Imaging Systems at Philips Healthcare, joined the lab of Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) core faculty member Richard Cohen, a biomedical engineer with connections to NASA. But instead of working on a space-related project, Barley ended up developing new technology for minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures The work, part academic research and part product development, inspired Barley to change directions. Instead of becoming a physician, she built a career out of talking with physicians and helping to translate their needs into strategic directions for engineers.

The technology Barley developed at HST has the potential to improve ventricular tachycardia ablation procedures, a procedure that can be life saving for patients who survive a heart attack. These patients have scar tissue on their hearts, and electrical circuits that develop around this scar tissue can cause a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat.

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