Michael Fonseca, Ph.D., may not have all the answers. But it’s a safe bet he’ll keep searching until he solves the problem. And he’ll have more settled tomorrow. Such is the nature of an engineer who values ingenuity, curiosity and hard work in equal parts. He’s put all of that to good use in his life and in his life’s work, including his work on CardioMEMS. Let’s get to know him.
You’d describe your childhood as … the beginning of my engineering career. When I was a kid, my parents used to joke I’d be an engineer one day because I’d spend hours building LEGO. I was born and spent my formative years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, but we moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when I was 14. We had a large extended family in Honduras — eleven uncles and aunts combined and many cousins — so family values and dynamics were inherent to my childhood. Growing up, my parents also instilled the importance of education and taught me the value of perseverance and hard work, which I still believe in today.
Your 20-word resume … Commercialized the first permanently implantable MEMS wireless pressure sensor for remote monitoring and management of cardiovascular chronic diseases.
Why this work, what drew you to it … It started with the realization that MEMS allowed me to explore my need to be a hands-on engineer. It required an ability to know how to make products while pursuing the fundamental sciences (physics or chemistry). What I could not have predicted was the reward that comes from applying that knowledge to medical devices. I cannot think of a better career for myself.
Your proudest professional moment … The first time I experienced the meaning of having something I helped create have a positive impact on a person’s life.
When you’re not Mr. Fonseca, for fun Mike likes to … I enjoy many things outside of work and truly find it has fueled inspiration throughout my career. Top of the list are — or have been — photography, endurance sports such as running or cycling, learning how to work with my hands, such as woodworking or DIY projects. I enjoy the challenge and process of learning how to do something new and the reward that comes from achieving it.
Your dreams for the future … I would like to impact Heart Failure on a global scale — really move the needle, as the saying goes.
Best advice anyone ever gave you … It was advice my father gave to me many years ago as I was becoming an adult: “There’s never a perfect time. Sometimes you just have to start and figure it out as you go.”