Global Health Technology and Innovation Speakers

Andi Gobin, PhD 

Dr. Andrea (Andi) Gobin received her Ph.D. at Rice University in Bioengineering. She the NEST Director of Invention Education at the Rice 360 Global Health Technologies Institute at Rice University. Her duties are working African Universities in strengthening their engineering curriculum through faculty workshops on best pedagogical skills in active and project-based learning and faculty and student internships. Strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship within the countries encourages investment into communities and building an ecosystem that sustains it. Her expertise is in biomaterials development for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. She is a co-founder of PromiSight®, which developed a method to prevent cataracts after retinal surgery. She holds 5 patents and has received several awards on her research, mentorship and education. Her passion is engineering education.

Jose Gomez-Marquez

Jose Gomez-Marquez leads the Little Devices Lab at MIT. The group aims to lower barriers to medical prototyping by bringing the worlds of health and making together. Gomez-Marquez also is co-developer of the Ampli and MEDIKit platform, a series of design building blocks that empower doctors and nurses around the world to invent their own medical technologies. His other research projects include the first multi-serotype dengue and zika rapid diagnostic, crowdsourced epidemiological alert systems, paper microfluidics, and reconfigurable diagnostics for extreme environments that can detect pathogens such as hemorrhagic fever viruses and ebola. Recently, the lab partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to launch an experimental chemical production platform in the International Space Station that aiming to lower the cost of pharmaceutical production. The lab’s project locations include Chile, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Spain. Gomez-Marquez has served on the European Union’s Science Against Poverty Taskforce and has participated as an expert advisor in the President Barack Obama’s Council for Advisors on Science & Technology. Gomez-Marquez is a 3 time MIT IDEAS Competition winner, a TED Fellow, and a member of Technology Review’s TR35, which also named him Humanitarian of Year. He co-leads the MakerHealth and MakerNurse program that enables homegrown innovation within hospitals systems around the country using institutional Medical Makerspaces and is the director of the EU OpenDx Initiative. He is originally from Honduras and lives in Boston.

Melissa Lopez Varon, MS

Melissa Lopez Varon is a Program Director at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In this capacity, she leads the development and implementation of cervical cancer prevention and control initiatives with a focus on underserved populations and resource limited settings. Melissa is responsible for the coordination, planning and implementation of Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at MD Anderson, in collaboration with the Director and faculty leaders.In her role with Project ECHO, Melissa serves as a partner liaison in the Superhub for Oncology and manages the operational activities of Project ECHO, a telementoring program created at the University of New Mexico by Dr. Sanjeev Arora. She engages with local, national and international professionals in academic centers and specialty centers and partners with them to train and develop new Project ECHO programs focusing on cancer, across the continuum of care.She was born and raised in Colombia and holds a Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Bioscience Research from Rice University. Melissa is currently pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology at the UT School of Public Health in Houston.