Paul Yock receives National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize

Paul Yock
Paul Yock (Photo by Rod Searcey)

Paul Yock, professor of medicine and bioengineering, was recently recognized by the National Academy of Engineering with the 2018 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education.

The Gordon Prize recognizes new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. It is, according to Stanford Provost Persis Drell, “the most prestigious award in engineering education.”

In 2000, Yock established Stanford Biodesign, a novel academic training program that combined a real-world, need-driven approach with an educational framework of collaboration among physicians and engineers, project-based learning and mentoring from experts across Silicon Valley.

“As the founder and director of the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Paul has had a tremendous impact on biomedical innovation,” Drell said at a ceremony honoring Yock. “Stanford Biodesign was one of the first academic training programs to bring together talented engineers and physicians to collaborate on project-based learning. In the 18 years since its launch, technologies and devices invented by alumni have improved the lives of more than one million patients, and the program has become the model for health care innovation training across the country and around the world.”

Drawing from his own experience as an innovator in the field of interventional cardiology, Yock came up with a two-pronged approach: formalize a process that starts with deeply understanding a problem in health care, rather than an idea for a new technology, and pioneer an educational approach in which innovators work in cross-functional teams, learn by doing and are mentored by both clinical and process experts.

To date, Biodesign trainees initiated technologies during their training that have been used to care for more than 1.5 million patients. Those technologies have led to the formation of 47 start-up companies, which have created 960 jobs and attracted more than $700 million of invested capital.

“On behalf of all the BioDesign fellows, past and present, I would like to add my congratulations to that of Provost Drell in consideration of the monumentally successful teaching, education and innovative program that Paul Yock has created, nurtured and successfully executed over the past 17 years,” said Simon Stertzer, professor emeritus of medicine.

Stertzer added, “The National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize is a deeply deserved testimony to a colleague who has altered the manner in which the gap between engineering science, biological problems and device development can be studied and effectively closed by training gifted young people, invited into the Stanford community. As an emeritus faculty representative who sponsored fellows in the Byers BioDesign program for 10 years, I am delighted to recognize the significance of the Gordon Prize, and its tribute to Dr. Yock’s contribution to bioengineering.”

Read more on the School of Engineering website.

Learn more about the Gordon Prize and Stanford Biodesign’s need-driven approach to biomedical innovation.