Michael Garrison, Ph.D. ’99
In the 16 years since earning his Ph.D., Dr. Garrison’s career has grown and evolved steadily, as he developed and launched medical products engineered to improve health care safety, disease management and infection prevention for providers and patients around the world.
Now vice president of R&D at Becton Dickinson and Co. (BD), Dr. Garrison has inspired and developed products impacting billions of patients.
In nominating Dr. Garrison for the Diamond Award, Matt O’Donnell, Frank & Julie Jungers Dean Emeritus and professor of bioengineering wrote, “What Mike has done that is very rare and worth recognition is to combine his deep technical knowledge developed during his Ph.D. studies at UW with his business instincts to focus on products that can change the human condition. As bioengineers, we often talk about translating technologies to the clinic to serve humanity.… Mike has done this over and over again in a relatively short career.”
Dr. Garrison came to the UW with a master’s in biomedical engineering from Duke University and having spent a few years in industry at Cygnus Therapeutic Systems, where he led the technology transfer of transformative technology to allow diabetes patients to non-invasively monitor glucose levels.
Michael Garrison was a standout student, says Buddy Ratner, the Michael L. & Myrna Darland Endowed Chair in Technology Commercialization and Dr. Garrison’s Ph.D. thesis adviser. In his nomination letter, Dr. Ratner cited his exceptional leadership ability, excellence in research, vision, and his ability to solve complex problems by making creative connections. “He brings credit to our College and our University every day through his technical excellence, humanity, and strong sense of fairness and justice,” he wrote.
Following graduation from UW, his career trajectory focused on making an impact. He took a position with Roche Diagnostics, which led to a global marketing and business development role building on his technical expertise. Within the first three years of earning his degree, he developed a number of significant technologies, including the first handheld computing glucose module with integrated mobile diabetes management software.
He then moved to Edwards Lifesciences to improve cardiovascular care by leading development of surgical heart valve products and developing less-invasive technologies to monitor critically ill patients. While at Edwards, he helped develop and launch the Flo-Trac Cardiac Output Monitoring System™, now used to monitor more than 1.5 million patients.
In 2005, he joined BD, where he began a series of high-impact product development and deployment projects focusing on safety-engineered hypodermic needles and syringes for use in a range of settings around the world. Over the next decade, he built organizations as an R&D leader and general business manager. He actively led innovation for dozens of product lines, including the BD Emerald™ family of syringes, which enabled more than one billion safe injections in the first two years. He also oversaw the development and launch of the BD SoloShot Mini™, including its use in the meningitis vaccine program in sub-Saharan Africa, and the vaccination of the population under age 6 in Haiti. The BD SoloShot™ product line has been used to safely vaccinate billions of people around the world.
His skill in building high-performance teams and developing relationships led to successful projects that helped people around the world. Dr. Garrison built relationships with the Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics and others to develop safe and reliable drug delivery systems, and he applied BD resources to address humanitarian crises in Africa, Pakistan, Sumatra, Japan, Haiti, China, and the U.S. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, he and his team at BD received recognition from the U.S. government for U.S. Pandemic Preparedness efforts.
With more than 400 worldwide employees under his leadership, Dr. Garrison now drives research and development for BD’s $3.5 billion Medication and Procedural Solutions business unit. He oversees all aspects of strategic innovation, technology development, execution and delivery, and product engineering.
Dr. Garrison also serves as an affiliate associate professor in bioengineering at UW, a visiting lecturer for UW’s Program in Technology Commercialization (PTC) and as director of UW Bioengineering’s External Advisory Board. “In lecturing in our PTC classes, the students are simply in awe of Mike,” Dr. Ratner wrote. “His presentation style is quiet, and strikingly charismatic. The depth of experience he relates to the students and his understanding of technology delivery, particularly in low resource settings, make his lectures memorable and moving.”
UW Bioengineering recently talked with Dr. Garrison about his time at UW and how it prepared him for his career.