Spend A Minute with Daran Deshazo

Get to know our electrical engineer who’s using tech to bring a new movement to people living with pain and tremor.

From his jazz roots, Daran DeShazo understands the value of improvisation. What might seem like a mistake in the strictest sense of rigid musical structure is, in jazz, more often the opening of a door to a new world of possibility that everyone can step into. For DeShazo, he applies those lessons to his work as an electrical engineer designing Neuromodulation products. Simply, DeShazo says, “It’s really just a question about how we learn from them and continually improve and move forward.” Jazz, man. Let’s get to know him.

You’d describe your childhood as … I was fortunate to grow up in a close, loving family and did so at a time that it was really fun to be a kid. My brother, friends and I were free to explore pretty much anywhere we could reach by bike and I really enjoyed growing up with MTV and ’80s video games.

Your 20-word (or more) resume … After some time majoring in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas and several years as a working musician, I got my Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. From 1996 to 2005, I worked in the semiconductor industry supporting early semiconductor process development and power management design (TestChip Technologies, Covalar Design). After joining Advanced Neuromodulation Systems in 2005, I’ve been with the company through the St. Jude years and integration into Abbott. I’ve worked in Integrated Circuit design on both Neuromodulation and Cardiac Rhythm Management products and had the honor of being inducted into the Volwiler Society as an Associate Research Fellow in 2019.

Why this work, what drew you to it … My love of math and science classes is what originally attracted me to Electrical Engineering. I essentially knew it drew from the raw materials that aligned with my academic interests. I got into the medical device space through my time as a design contractor where I supported a custom chip being developed by ANS in the early 2000s. Seeing how important effective power management was in producing a long-lasting implanted device sparked my interest in Neuromodulation products and I’ve never looked back.

Your proudest professional moment … Any time I get to see the impact our products have on the life of a patient, those are always the proudest moments for me. Being part of the team that helps a chronic pain or movement disorder patient get their life back is something that little else can compare with.

When you’re not Mr. DeShazo, for fun Daran likes to … I still spend a lot of time playing and recording music. Guitar is my main instrument, but I enjoy trying to play just about anything! In addition, I’m a pretty big movie buff and love travelling with my wife. Getting away for a quiet weekend, nice scenery and time outdoors is hard to beat.

Your dreams for the future … There is a lot of excitement ahead when it comes to Neuromodulation products. I’d love to see us produce devices that can provide effective therapy with even less patient interaction. Implants can keep getting smarter and smaller.  Bigger picture, I’d like to see technology used to better connect people instead of isolating or dividing.

Best advice you ever heard … I’m not sure I’ve heard more impactful advice than the importance of understanding that failure and mistakes are inevitable, it’s really just a question about how we learn from them and continually improve and move forward.

Thanks for joining us. Any closing thoughts? It was great talking to you. I really look forward to where Abbott Neuromodulation technology can go in the future. Everything we do is patient-centric and while developing a new technology is a rewarding challenge, it really means the most when it has a tangible benefit in the life of a patient and their family.