Healthy Kids Summer 2022

How Justin Ryan, PhD, Prints Lifesaving Tools STAFF SPOTLIGHT


s a child, Justin Ryan thought he’d get into the movie-making business someday. A driven creative, he wanted to produce visual effects for big summer blockbusters. Instead, he chose a more humanitarian route. As director of the Helen and Will

Webster Foundation 3D Innovations Lab at Rady Children’s, he spends his days creating detailed models that support doctors in their fields. For example, he’s used patient CT scans to create 3D models of their heart or brain, which help their surgeons prepare to operate. During the onset of the pandemic when there was a shortage of medical supplies, he was part of a team that printed nasopharyngeal swabs. He describes that experience as both the best and most stressful of his days at Rady Children’s. “It became an incredible collaboration with UC San Diego and San Diego companies to close this supply chain gap,” Ryan says. “I get a lot of pleasure by leveraging this still-emerging 3D technology for very important applications. As an artist, I can

Lab director Justin Ryan, PhD, and research engineer Parham Gholami create detailed models from medical images, such as CT scans and MRIs, that help doctors prepare for surgery.

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