Alumni Profile

Mary Canty

Lead scientist at Garwood Medical Devices

Mary Canty.

Mary Canty, BS '14, PhD '18, Biomedical Engineering

“The opportunity to join a company that is developing a product related to research I had done at UB was something I could not pass up. ”
Mary Canty, lead scientist
Garwood Medical Devices

As a student, what did you want to be “when you grew up?”

As a little kid, I always wanted to be a physician so I could help people. As an adult, helping people was still my focus and I accomplished this by becoming an engineer and scientist. 

Why did you choose UB, and how did your education prepare you for a successful career at Garwood Medical Devices?

Initially, I chose UB for the proximity to home. I grew up in Buffalo, and all my family is still in town, so it was challenging for me to consider leaving. Fortunately, UB had recently started a biomedical engineering program and this was my intended major, so the decision was easy. 

During my time as an undergraduate student, I was exposed to world-renowned professors and researchers, and was eventually introduced to the research being done by Dr. Ehrensberger in the Orthopedics Research Lab. Through a collaborative research project with Dr. Campagnari in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, I began my graduate research, which focused on cathodic voltage-controlled electrical stimulation for the prevention of orthopedic implant infections. Shortly after beginning graduate school, the technology patented by the university for this project was licensed by a company known as Garwood Medical Devices. Fast forward to today, where, as the Lead Scientist at Garwood Medical Devices, I am continuing to research the use of cathodic electrical stimulation for the treatment and prevention of orthopedic implant infections. We are moving this research forward and developing a medical device to help patients suffering from this problem.

What clubs or organizations were you a part of during your time at UB?

I was part of the WNY Prosperity Fellowship and the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, as well as a SEAS student leader and an undergraduate researcher.

Was there a memorable moment from your UB experience that has stuck with you and helped shape your future?

My dissertation defense stands out as the pinnacle of my UB experience. It was an exciting day that allowed me to highlight my contribution to science and share with colleagues, professors, family, and friends the work I had done. 

What made you join Garwood Medical Devices and what motivates you to come to work every day?

The opportunity to join a company that is developing a product related to research I had done at UB was something I could not pass up. At Garwood, every day is different, and being a start-up, I am exposed to all avenues of the company – from research to product and business development. Knowing that we are advancing towards a market-ready device keeps me excited and engaged with my work every day.

What do you like most about your job at Garwood Medical Devices?

As the Lead Scientist at Garwood, I am actively researching ways to optimize the use of our implant infection treatment technology by running benchtop experiments in electrochemistry and microbiology. I enjoy knowing that my research is having a direct impact on product development and that it allows me to continue to learn more every day.

What lessons have you learned along the way that have helped prepare you for your current role?

Perspective. There have been innumerable bumps in the road, especially with research, and knowing how to take a step back and reanalyze the next move is important. 

Do you have advice for aspiring women in engineering?

Try to find a mentor. Having someone you trust, and who has your best interest in mind, is not only valuable when you need advice, but also when you need someone to share in your successes and failures. 

Looking back, is there anything about your career that you’d change? Anything that you wish you’d known earlier on?

I can honestly say I would not change anything. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.

What advice do you have for UB students who will soon embark on their careers in a highly competitive workforce, and for those who have recently graduated?

Have confidence in what you know. UB is an excellent university with unmatched connections and resources. Make sure you use them. You never know what potential future employer knows a former professor of yours.