Xin Tang Meet The Innovators

Using curiosity and continuous learning to drive innovation.

   

Lab Photo

Xin Tang at the Medtronic Technology Center in Shanghai

Xin Tang works at the intersection of developing cutting-edge technology and improving lives of people around the world. As Director of Research, Technology and Clinical Affairs at the Medtronic Technology Center (MTC) in China, Xin and her team influence several Medtronic technology platforms, providing expertise in biology, material sciences, modeling and simulation, human-centered design, as well as pre-clinical and clinical research.

“We are a local cross-functional group that can apply expertise across many product lines that are being developed in China,” Xin explains. “The Medtronic Technology Center in China has about 300 employees and has launched approximately 20 products to global markets in the past six years. Our scientists and engineers work closely to develop products in aneurysm embolization, microwave ablation, open stapling, diabetes, and renal care areas. In recent years we have leveraged external partnerships with government, universities, and research institutions to explore fast growing areas such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing.”

CURIOSITY BUILDS A CAREER

Xin started at Medtronic in the Surgical Technologies business, based in Jacksonville, Florida, as a medical device toxicologist. “Medtronic was appealing because it was different — not just pharmacology,” she says. Taking on the role meant that Xin would have to learn a whole new aspect of toxicology as it relates to medical devices. “The interaction of materials and biological systems is complex and immensely interesting because the mechanisms of medical devices are so diverse. The assessment of device toxicological risk requires deep understanding of material chemistry and clinical use of our products, as well as standards and global regulations.”

Xin credits Medtronic as being a place where you can expand well beyond your initial area of expertise. “Medtronic is a great place for people who are willing to learn. When I was at our Ear, Nose, and Throat business, I had the opportunity to expand my role to regulatory affairs. I also learned microbiology from my colleagues. Meanwhile, I got my MBA in 2010 to better understand how businesses run.”

Technology Center

The Medtronic Technology Center in China

In 2012, Xin returned to China to join the R&D center in Shanghai, where she became known among her colleagues as a person who loves knowledge and sharing it. Luckily for Xin (and for Medtronic), the opportunities to be curious and learn continue to present themselves.  “As the Medtronic Technology Center grows, we are gaining knowledge in biomaterial sciences and increasing capabilities in design, modeling, and simulation,” she says. “Design optimization and validation and verification processes can be greatly accelerated with more predictability of device performance with the application of these core areas of expertise. A number of our most recent and advanced products developed at MTC have all benefitted from this approach.“

I’m so excited by the field of artificial intelligence and the external partnerships we have with academic institutions to quickly advance emerging technologies.

Xin Tang

WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE THE FUTURE

Even with a full plate of research and leadership, Xin is excited by emerging areas in medical technology. “I’m so excited by the field of artificial intelligence and the external partnerships we have with academic institutions to quickly advance emerging technologies,” she says. “Technology moves fast in China, and I want to help Medtronic stay at the forefront with technology scouting and collaborations.” Xin is also driven by the Medtronic Mission and her sense of accomplishment with the R&D center. “Nowadays, for example, I still try to learn more about, design, reliability, and manufacturing (DRM) and human centered design, design control and validation, to deliver better solutions to unmet needs in China and emerging markets.”

One of the ways Xin influences learning among her team is via the Medtronic Technical Forum. The Technical Forum is a grassroots organization of technical employees that sets up events to share information and knowledge. “At our site, we have an average of 30 to 40 events per year,” says Xin. The Technical Forum organizes an annual Science and Technology Conference, Asian Session. “It’s an important way for global technical communities to interconnect and opens for opportunities to innovate together.”