Professor Gerhard Rakhorst – New Vice Chairman of ScanBalt aims at bridging Academia with SME’s
Gerhard Rakhorst, emeritus professor in Artificial Organs at the University Medical Center of Groningen (UMCG), the Netherlands, has been elected as Vice Chairman of ScanBalt during the 2012 Scanbalt Forum in Tampere.
Gerhard Rakhorst had been a veterinary surgeon for 14 years before he accepted a position at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the Groningen university. His veterinary back ground offered him unique chances to bridge clinicians with engineers. In this multidisciplinary setting he developed the Pulsatile Catheter pump, a left ventricular assist device that enables stabilisation of patients that suffer from acute heart failure, and a hypothermic oxygenated pump system for machine perfusion of donor livers. Both idea’s resulted in 3 PhD studies and in two spin-off companies: PulseCath BV and Organ-Assist BV.
Rakhorst emphasizes the university spin-off’s are needed to upgrade prototypes of university research into safe products that can be commercialized. The concept of the liver perfusion pump was transferred into 4 clinical machine perfusion applications by Organ Assist: a Kidney Assist, a Liver Assist, a Lung Assist and a device for total body perfusion. All devices have found their way towards clinical application. Recently the department of Cardiothoracic surgery of the UMCG was able to transplant two donor lungs succesfully that had been rejected for transplantation by the other Netherlands transplant centers. After the lungs had been machine perfused for a few hours the lungs were cleaned from oedema and demonstrated normal oxygenation capacities.
Nowadays professor Rakhorst is Program Leader Medical Technology of the Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands. In this function he has initiated expert meetings in which university professors, CEO’s of SME and representatives of the regional government participate to stimulate new product development. It was Gerhard Rakhorst’ initiative to locate the first thematic ScanBalt Liason Office in Groningen, thus creating an opportunity for SME’s and academia from ScanBalt to find partners for scientific and business collaboration in the Northern Netherlands.
He invites members of ScanBalt to use HANNN and the Groningen ScanBalt Liason Office as a portal for international collaboration. For more information: www.hannn.eu or .