About the company:
The team at Francis Medical are developing a unique new way to treat prostate cancer. Their thermal water vapor technology uses the energy stored in sterile water vapor to transfer thermal energy to cancerous tissue, causing cell death.
Their intern Anogh Zaman described the process as, essentially, using water vapor (steam) to kill cancer cells. It’s minimally invasive and more precise than other methods.
Having recently completed an early feasibility clinical study, this medical device startup is now looking to complete their pivotal study and gain regulatory approval. Beyond that, the company will look to expand their technique to treat bladder and kidney cancer as well. This spring, Zaman was hired through the SciTech Internship Program as an electrical engineering intern, brought in to help the team build new test fixtures as part of their growing R&D program.
“Interns bring in a fresh perspective and an eagerness to learn new things,” said Principal Systems Engineer Tony French, “And we get the opportunity build a knowledge base and pass it on. Whether we hire them full time or not, we can help foster their development as they move forward in their career.”
Meet the intern:
When Zaman set out to find an internship this summer, she knew she wanted to work on R&D in a small company environment. Francis Medical had all that and more.
“I really liked the idea. I thought it was unbelievably innovative: a medical company that’s trying to change the way we treat people suffering from prostate cancer,” Zaman said. “And their moto, ‘Tough on cancer yet gentle on patients,’ that really resonated with me.”
Working within this small business setting, Zaman was exposed to almost every aspect of the company. She learned everything from documentation, to how to source materials. When building the test fixture, she learned to solder, gained hands-on experience with the many drills and machines in their shop, and has since moved on to work on software programming and testing. All of this was to her liking.
“No two days are the same,” Zaman said. “Tony lets me work on what I’m interested in and I like being able to try out a lot of different things. It helps you become more well-rounded and I think that curiosity is more readily nurtured in smaller companies.”
Looking back on the experience, she said, “I learned that I prefer a work environment that’s more open and flexible. Turns out I’m more adaptable than I thought.”
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