Professional MS Alumni Feature: David Cervera
From a young age, David Cervera has always been interested in engineering and medicine. This passion led him to pursue his bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering on a mechanical track from Trine University in 2021. Upon graduation and in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with limited industry opportunities available, David made the ultimate decision to pursue his master’s degree in medical product engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
During his time in the MS-MPE program, David was connected with Dr. Jonathan Hughes who specializes in orthopedic surgery. Dr. Hughes served as David’s mentor in multiple courses throughout the graduate program. Through this mentorship, David worked closely with Dr. Hughes and observed surgical procedures during his time at Pitt. Also, during his time in the MS-MPE program, he completed an internship with Orthopediatrics, which is a small company that works on patient implants for children. He owes these experiences and connections made within the program to where he is today.
After the completion of his MS degree, David began working full-time with Zimmer Biomet (located in Warsaw, IN) in March 2023. At Zimmer Biomet, David works as a development engineer on the Patient Matched Implants team. More specifically, he works on Patient Matched Glenoids, also called Vault Reconstruction System (VRS). In this role, David designs individual patient VRS while working alongside sales representatives and surgeons to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
This past September, David experienced a career milestone that he will never forget. Cervera explained that as part of being on the Patient Matched Implants team, he is assigned 50 random cases at a time to work on. About two weeks after he started working independently on cases, he was assigned to one of Dr. Hughes’s cases in Pittsburgh. He went on to say, “It’s pretty crazy that this happened to be assigned to me considering that there are 10 other engineers on the team.” Through the help of the sales representative assigned to the case and David’s connection to Dr. Hughes from the MS-MPE program, he was able to travel from Warsaw, IN to Pittsburgh, PA to observe the surgery and watch the VRS he created be implanted.
When asked how he felt when observing the surgery with Dr. Hughes, David said, “Honestly, it was really scary. While you can think what was designed is best for the patient, there is a chance it may not work properly.” While David experienced many different emotions during the observation, he described the experience as extremely rewarding and a “full circle moment”. Overall, David describes this experience as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and something that would have never happened if it were not for the MS-MPE program and the connections the program has to offer.
Check out David’s LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-cervera-245b4616a/