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Professional MS Alumni Feature: Ruth Segall

Professional MS Alumni Feature: Ruth Segall

By: Nicole Bohatch, CMI Fellow

I recently had the opportunity to speak with MS-MPE alumni Ruth Segall to learn more about her time at the University of Pittsburgh and how it helped prepare her for a career at Arthrex

After having a successful career in cross-country and track in high school, Ruth was recruited by Bucknell University. This is where she continued her athletic career while studying Biochemistry to prepare her for medical school. Unfortunately, early in her career at Bucknell, Ruth broke more bones than records and experienced the worst of orthopedic injuries. While this set her back in her athletic ambitions, it sparked a new interest in wanting to develop solutions that surrounded her diagnoses. This desire was further driven by misdiagnoses and unsuccessful treatments of her teammates. The drive to develop solutions to these issues led to Ruth directing her coursework to include extra engineering and business classes along with engineering research.

During her time at Bucknell, Ruth had a fellowship opportunity to intern with a non-profit organization called “Women in Sports Tech” and to work for a start-up developing a wearable musculoskeletal regeneration device. She noted, “This was a great learning opportunity to strategize how to take something from inception to commercialization. I ultimately fell in love with the process of understanding all the aspects of having an unmet need and solving the problem.” This experience led Ruth to seek out holistic master’s programs that were specific to medical product development. Upon learning about the MS-MPE program at the University of Pittsburgh, Ruth knew this was something she wanted to be a part of. 

Ruth began the MS Bioengineering-Medical Product Engineering (MPE) program in Fall 2021 at the University of Pittsburgh. Ruth was awarded the Graduate Engineering Education Scholarship (GEES). Through this experience, she wanted deep exposure to orthopedics research and possible connections to industry. Ruth worked in the Biodynamics lab in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery with Dr. William Anderst and Dr. Goeran Fiedler. The project she worked on, funded by the Department of Defense, focused on optimizing hip-socket fit in transfemoral amputees. 

Along with conducting research, Ruth wanted to explore biomedical entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh. She connected with the University’s start-up accelerator, LifeX Labs, and became an intern for their accelerator program. During her time there, she was paired with a start-up, Advanced Optronics, which was developing micro-scale sensors for delicate surgical procedures, starting with cochlear implants. Describing her role with the founding team she said, “During my time with them, I dove headfirst into customer discovery, business plan, product-market fit, pitch decks, you name it.” As her time wrapped up with Advanced Optronics, she helped the team succeed in many different start-up competitions and in raising capital. 

Ruth Segall  Representing Advanced Optronics at the Rice Business Plan Competition in 2022

After having an experience with a start-up company, Ruth decided she wanted to experience big industry. During the summer between the second and third semesters, Ruth interned with J&J’s company DePuy Synthes in regulatory affairs.  This experience gave her a lot more FDA regulatory affairs experience and exposure to how a large company operates. Upon the completion of her internship, Ruth knew she craved a rapid paced environment and wanted to be on internal product development teams. After exploring many full-time positions prior to graduation, Ruth decided to begin her career at the global orthopedic device innovator, Arthrex.

Ruth currently works at Arthrex as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist for the Shoulder Arthroscopy and Upper Extremity Portfolio, where Arthrex is a market leader. She supports half of the new product development efforts within the portfolio. Ruth works in developing and executing the regulatory strategy for new products. Since beginning her role in January 2023, she has already received FDA clearance for her first 510(k) submission in October 2023. As part of her role, she also oversees global regulatory efforts and has completed many submissions to Health Canada. She noted, “Working on team projects and your individual part of the larger picture during the project within the MS-MPE program was something that really prepared myself for success in this role.”

“I recommend to anyone interested in the medical device industry either in early-stage innovation or big companies to consider the MS-MPE program. You gain the skills that you need to succeed in either space which is a huge benefit of the program.” She owes much of her success to saying yes to any opportunity that came her way and networking as much as possible. She encourages prospective and current students to, “Say yes to everything, you never know what will come out of an opportunity. Also, try to network as much as possible. Your network is your net worth!"

Check out Ruth’s LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruthsegall/