Sinking His Teeth into Innovation
August 12, 2013 |Source: Graduate Programs in Engineering at the University of Alberta, U of A Engineering Viewbook
While Cristian Scurtescu (BSc 03, MSc 07) was still working on his graduate degree, he helped develop an innovative device to facilitate non-invasive treatment and prevention of dental root problems. In 2008, he founded his own start-up company, SmileSonica Inc., with that early stage technology.
“There was no question in my mind that I’d matched a technical solution to a defined market need,” he says.
Today, SmileSonica employs more than 10 people – the majority of whom hold advanced degrees from the University of Alberta. Cristian plans to ship devices for use in dental practices within a year.
Cristian joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004. He was one of three students to receive the iCORE International Student Award. During his MSc studies, Cristian participated in a collaboration between Engineering and Dentistry to design, test and fabricate microelectronic circuits and transducers for new intra-oral ultrasound devices intended to stimulate dental tissue repair.
After graduation, Cristian decided he needed to move the technology from the lab to dentists’ offices. His initial financial support and mentorship came from the MSTRI entrepreneur development program administered by the Faculty of Engineering (now called nanoBridge). With this funding and coaching, Cristian was able to build a solid business plan and work on early prototypes.
Cristian Scurtescu’s startup company, SmileSonica, is currently focused on product development, thanks to a combination of private funds and provincial and federal grants. The company is housed in incubator space in the National Institute for Nanotechnology where Cristian and his team (left) can access prototyping tools in the nanoFAB, design software in the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility, and product development resources from the Alberta Centre for Advanced MNT Products.
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