Karen De Leener is a Cardiovascular Market Specialist at Materialise and is based in Belgium.
Nora Toure: Karen, could you let us know about your background and your journey to Additive Manufacturing?
Karen De Leener: My first 3D Printing experience was during my master studies as Biomedical Engineer at the KU Leuven (Belgium). During the summer I had the opportunity to do an internship at MTEC (Bangkok, Thailand), where I designed and 3D Printed a personalized total-knee implant.
I’ve always been passionate about new innovations in the medical field, because these have an immediate impact on patients’ lives. It was a wonderful experience to be so close to helping someone through innovation, even though it was only one patient.
After graduation I started at one of the biggest 3D Printing companies, Materialise. In the beginning of my carrier, I could show my passion for sharing knowledge by teaching on 3D Printing and the Mimics Innovation Suite software to generate accurate 3D models from medical images.
These years as Medical Application Engineer were very insightful through various conversations with researchers, engineers and clinicians and I gained a lot of knowledge about the cardiovascular market. Now I’m using these insights as Cardiovascular Market Specialist to further development of this field through 3D Printing and Planning.
Nora Toure: What is Materialise Medical and what is your role within this structure?
Karen De Leener: Materialise has three main business units: the Manufacturing department that provides 3D Printing services and consultancy for various industrial applications, the Software department that provides different software packages to enable your own 3D Printers to run efficiently and print in high quality and the third department is Materialise Medical, where we assist all types of medical experts to get more out of their medical images through 3D Printing and Planning.
This can go from planning and printing a personalized hip implant for hip revision surgeries, to providing companies with a realistic aortic aneurysm benchtop model to test their new stent graft before going to animal trials and even to assisting hospitals to set up their own Point-of-Care 3D Printing Lab.
Within Materialise Medical, I focus on the business development of 3D Printing and Planning for cardiovascular applications. The cardiovascular field caught my attention, since there is even more to explore compared to the orthopedic field.
It’s a rapidly evolving market, with lots of new innovative devices, excitement during clinical trials and a growing need for personalized 3D Printing and Planning before the procedures.
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