The MDDC Team

Brian L. Davis, PhD, Vice President

Brian Davis, Vice President of the Medical Device Development Center, holds both a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a master’s degree in Medicine (Biomedical Engineering) from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and a Ph.D. from Penn State University. He had a staff-level appointment at the Cleveland Clinic from 1992 to 2010. During this time he was the first Cleveland Clinic investigator to receive a peer-reviewed grant from NASA headquarters on the topic of foot biomechanics in response to impact loading (1996-1998), the first investigator to obtain funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the first to obtain a four year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He subsequently received funding to develop and test an exercise countermeasure device for astronaut use and was part of a team that developed biomechanical sensor instrumentation that is currently on the International Space Station.

In terms of medical devices, Dr. Davis has led a number of initiatives focused on rehabilitation technology and instrumentation for assessing a patient’s risk for diabetic foot ulceration. He is currently the Principal Investigator on a State-funded project aimed at commercializing sensors for diagnosing connective tissue disorders. He is also leading an educational program named “BEST Medicine” that encourages middle and high school students to develop interests in engineering, science and technology, particularly as these relate to designing novel medical devices. Dr. Davis is a member of a number of professional societies, including the International Society of Biomechanics – a society for which he served as President from 2005 to 2007.

Thom Olmstead, Director of Technology Assessment and Business Development

As the Director of Technology Assessment and Business Development, Thom’s primary responsibility is to enhance innovation and commercialization of medical devices within ABIA’s founding member institutions. His focus is on identifying, evaluating and developing technologies that will improve health care and provide significant commercial value to the partnership and the City of Akron. Prior to joining ABIA, Thom was Senior Manager for Business Development at Cleveland Clinic Innovations and co-founded a Cleveland Clinic spin-off company focusing on endovascular navigation. Prior to the Cleveland Clinic, Thom held several executive and management level positions with C.R. BARD, Vision Sciences and Mill-Rose Laboratories. Thom currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Beaumont School.


Stephen D. Fening, PhD, Director of Orthopaedic Devices

Dr. Fening serves the Director of Orthopaedic Devices within the Medical Device Development Center at ABIA. In this role, Steve drives innovation in orthopaedic device development within ABIA and its partners. He previously served as the Director of Sports Health Research at Cleveland Clinic, where he had a joint appointment in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering. Steve has undergraduate and masters degrees in mechanical engineering, a doctorate in biomedical engineering, and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopaedic biomechanics at Cleveland Clinic. His areas of research focus are on cartilage injury modeling and biomechanics of the knee and shoulder. Steve was awarded the Cleveland Clinic Innovator Award in 2008, as well as the “Basic Science Teacher of the Year” by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and a Distinguished Educator by The Cleveland Clinic.


Christine Flick, Senior Engineer

Christine Flick is a Senior Design Engineer for the MDDC.  Her goal as an engineer at ABIA is to research the unmet needs of both patients and doctors in order to solve their difficulties with practical concepts and prototypes. Christine comes to ABIA from the Cleveland Clinic with nine years of experience in cardiac, orthopedic, and colorectal devices. The majority of her time in Cleveland was focused on procuring and testing the total artificial heart and left ventricular assist devices. Engineering skills include experience with CAD systems, rapid prototyping, SEM, mechanical design, mechanical testing, and data collection. She is a 2001 graduate from the University of Akron with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.


Samantha Stucke, Senior Engineer

Samantha Stucke is a Senior Engineer for the MDDC. At ABIA, Samantha is engaged in medical device design, where she designs and develops new and novel medical devices through interactions with clinicians. Additionally, she is studying the effects of shear forces and pressure on diabetic feet. Prior to working at ABIA, Samantha was a Senior Engineer for the Medical Device Solutions team at the Cleveland Clinic. At the Cleveland clinic she worked on numerous medical device projects with a focus in the cardiovascular, thoracic, and urology fields and currently has a patent pending on a design of a new heart valve. Samantha obtained her bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from The University of Toledo in 2005.


Shweta Singh Maniar, Market Analyst/ Case Manager

As a member of the MDDC team, Shweta’s primary focus is on the evaluation, marketing and commercialization of disclosures related to medical device technologies. Shweta works with ABIA partners to develop and commercialize novel technologies that have significant clinical and commercial potential.

Prior to joining the ABIA, Shweta spent several years in research with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Scripps Health. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with dual degrees in Economics and Biology. Shweta is a trained Indian classical dancer and has opened a dance school where she is involved in teaching children and adults in Northeast Ohio.


Elizabeth Barber, Coordinator

Elizabeth serves as Coordinator for the Medical Device Development Center.  In addition to providing administrative support, she assists in budgeting and management of special events.  Elizabeth also coordinates the Structured Innovation Program, the IDEAS process and MDDC public relations.  Prior to joining ABIA, Elizabeth served as the Coordinator for the REU Internship program and Events Assistant within The University of Akron’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.  Elizabeth graduated from The University of Akron in 2008 with a degree in Business Organizational Communications with a major in Public Relations.