Dr. Marie Johnson ’90 will share her journey of tragedy, innovation, entrepreneurship at the Kettering University President’s Centennial Lecture Series this month.
Her talk, “Inventor, CEO, and sometimes Janitor: how I built a medical device company,” is at 12:20 p.m. February 19 in the Campus Center’s Sunset Room.
Johnson majored in Mechanical Engineering with a manufacturing emphasis at Kettering and completed her co-op at Delco-Moraine GM division. She went on to work for GM for 12 years. After moving to Minnesota, she earned her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Minnesota and started pursuing her doctorate degree in digital signal processing as a 3M research fellow in 2002.
Then her husband Rob Guion died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest. Johnson, suddenly a single mother of two, continued with her education. She used her husband’s data and began creating on a product that could non-invasively detect coronary artery disease in less than 20 minutes.
She earned her doctorate degree in 2006 and continued her research in post-doctoral positions at 3M, Stanford University and Politecnico di Torino in Turin, Italy.
“Even with all of the other educational training, I thank Kettering for empowering me to pursue those opportunities,” Johnson said.
Johnson continued her acoustic coronary research and ultimately founded AUM Cardiovascular, Inc. in an outbuilding on her Northfield, Minnesota property. The product is CADence, a handheld device that collects cardiovascular data from a patient and sends it back to AUM’s servers. Doctors then interpret the acoustic and ECG data via a connected tablet and provide the customers with a prompt diagnosis regarding five cardiovascular conditions.
CADence now includes ECG technology, and it’s been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance. More than 2,200 patients have undergone CADence testing.
In 2014, Johnson and her company were featured in Fast Company, and she was named one of the 75 most creative people in business by the same publication.
Johnson advises Kettering students studying engineering to learn how to build and test their designs and to become friends the tool and die makers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and other skilled trades.
“Learn how to use gauges, indicators, and calipers,” she said. “The best advice I ever received was ‘measure three times and cut once.’”