Will Clifton, M.D., is a life-science entrepreneur and bioengineer with a background in medical device and innovation education. As director of the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) track in Rice's Master of Bioengineering (M.B.E.) program, his focus is on the global future of medical innovation, where the city of Houston, with its prolific medical research community and diverse culture, is a natural home.
Prior to joining Rice in 2018, Dr. Clifton was a senior director of medical affairs at Procyrion, where he spent six years developing a minimally invasive pump to treat heart failure, taking it from a prototype through first-in-human clinical trials. Dr. Clifton’s research led to one issued patent, multiple peer-reviewed publications, and an upcoming multi-continent clinical study.
Dr. Clifton earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), where he continued to study medical technology with a focus in minimally invasive surgical technologies with mentorship from Dr. William Cohn, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at BCM and the Texas Heart Institute.
During medical school, he pursued advanced research through a one-year Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship with otolaryngologist Dr. John Oghalai to investigate hearing loss and novel cochlear implant technology. Dr. Clifton received his B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California where he developed a percutaneous implantable glucose sensor.
Dr. Clifton is also the founder of Enventure, a non-profit organization that provides open education and experiential learning opportunities to Houston students and entrepreneurs interested in medical technology. Through Enventure, Dr. Clifton has hosted and lectured many medical technology courses at Rice, BCM, and the Texas Medical Center (TMC). In 2014, Dr. Clifton was selected as one of Qmed's 30 Under 30 top Medtech Innovators in the United States.
Dr. Clifton plans to leverage his background in biomedical engineering, medicine, and the medical device industry to help students identify unmet medical needs, determine if their “idea on a napkin” can become a viable business, and help them think through the strategic steps to get through a clinical trial and first approval.