Mike Yost One of 18 Faculty Chosen as 'Rising Stars' at USC
The University's School of Medicine knew just what it wanted: someone to foster more collaboration between basic science researchers and clinicians.
With Mike Yost, the school got just what it needed. Now director of research in the medical school's Department of Surgery, Yost has collaborated with basic science researchers and surgery clinicians and helped develop important intellectual property with potential for commercial application.
"If there's been one thing I've done well, it's been to kick over department boundaries," Yost said. "They're not important."
Working with surgery professors and faculty in the departments of cell biology and anatomy, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering, Yost has spearheaded research aimed at developing tissue scaffolds for hernia repair and drug-testing tissue models; understanding the long-term complications of implants in reconstructive breast surgery; and developing a new class of emergency IV fluids for hemorrhagic shock victims.
The tissue scaffold research resulted in a major collaboration with a German-based biomedical sciences firm, and the IV fluid research has evolved into a start-up company called Vitasol, whose major product, Resuscinex, is under FDA review for phase II clinical trial. John Propst, a USC School of Medicine Ph.D. graduate in biomedical sciences and MBA graduate of USC's Moore School of Business, is CEO of the fledgling company.
"I knew when I came here that I wanted to develop intellectual property and start a company," Yost said. "It's a lot more work than you think, but it's a lot of fun, too."
Yost had the perfect academic pedigree for his post at the School of Medicine: He was the first Ph.D. recipient of a joint biomedical engineering program offered between the School of Medicine and the College of Engineering and Computing, and he understands the nexus of basic science and real-world application.
He brings his practical approach into the classroom where he teaches suturing to medical students, biostatistics and clinical trial design to residents, and engineering and physiology courses to undergraduates.
"My goal is to teach the material to the students, and I'm going to bust my butt to do that," he said. "I offer lots of help sessions, e-mail consultation, and face-to-face assistance.
"I tell them if everyone gets an A, that's great. I'm going to work hard, but I expect them to work hard, too—they've got to show up, be ready to work, and have the right attitude."
That's a good formula for success in any endeavor and a fine description of Yost's career thus far at the School of Medicine. (See other stars here.)
AT A GLANCE