Neurosurgeon and PhD candidate Thiago Bassi is convocating with a certificate from the Invention to Innovation program.


Inventive neurosurgeon ready to realize dream

October 03, 2018

By Will Henderson

In 2002 Thiago Bassi, a medical student in Brazil, graduated among the top three students in his class. That feat allowed him to pursue a neurosurgery residency where he learned the most advanced surgical techniques.

For most people, this type of success would represent the peak of their ambitions. Bassi, though, had an even greater goal in mind. After working in neurosurgery for eight years, he moved to Canada with a plan for developing a medical device that could help stroke victims.

“As a physician I have a human limitation in that I could assist, for example, 20 patients a day, five days a week,” he says. “But a device could help thousands or even millions of people for many years, so the effect will be huge.”

Bassi, who had come to Vancouver in 2016 to study English, fell in love with the city and decided to apply for a PhD candidacy in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology (BPK) at SFU to improve his ability to develop his medical device. For his thesis he is researching mechanical ventilation and its effects on the brain.

“I chose SFU because it is a highly prestigious university and so far, I have increased my knowledge exponentially,” he says.

At the same time, Bassi began working full-time in the research and development department at medical device company Lungpacer Medical Inc. where he is researching mechanical ventilation and its effects on the human body. He is supporting clinical cases using an experimental neurostimulation device that is designed to help mechanically ventilated patients breathe independently more quickly. 

Bassi also enrolled in the Invention to Innovation program SFU’s Beedie School of Business. The one-year, part-time program provides research scientists and engineers with the tools to commercialize their inventions. He completed the program this year and will receive a graduate certificate during SFU’s October convocation ceremonies.

In the program Bassi gained valuable knowledge about new product development and intellectual property. He also learned how best to present the business case for his idea for a device to treat stroke victims, which he says will be helpful in securing development funding at his workplace.

 “I was able to create a very strong argument to show the commercial point of view of my invention,” he says. “I can show my boss how we can make money on it.”

Bassi’s main priority, though, is a more altruistic one of helping people through research and developing his invention: “I am here to pursue my dream.”