Dr. Catherine Mohr is President of the Intuitive Foundation, the corporate Foundation of Intuitive Surgical, a high technology Silicon Valley based company that makes the da Vinci surgical robot. In this role she invests in research and development programs aimed at understanding and improving education of medical practitioners around the world and applying novel technologies aimed at reducing the global burden of disease.
Catherine has a diverse background which covers surgery, medical technology, engineering, product design, healthcare, alternative energy, automotive, aerospace, global entrepreneurship, IP litigation, FDA compliance, education, and product development. From this she brings extensive industry experience and deep insights into emerging opportunities, trends, issues and challenges. Proven history of visionary thought-leadership as an advisor on future technologies to a wide range of companies and government agencies, and a sought after speaker/lecturer.
Dr. Mohr received her BS and MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and her MD from Stanford University School of Medicine. She has been involved with numerous startup companies in the areas of alternative energy transportation, and worked for many years developing high altitude aircraft and high efficiency fuel cell power systems, computer aided design software, and medical devices.
Dr Mohr is on the board of directors for FINCA International, and has served as a scientific advisor for several startup companies in Silicon Valley, the NCI SBIR program, and government technology development programs in her native New Zealand, and entrepreneurship programs worldwide. She is the author of numerous scientific publications, the recipient of multiple design awards, and speaks regularly internationally on the subject of the future of surgery, technology and robotics.
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Intuitive Foundation; Sunnyvale, CA
- October 2018 to Present – President and Founder
Responsible for founding and leading a global corporate research and philanthropy foundation for Intuitive Surgical. Involves investing in research and development programs aimed at understanding and improving education of medical practitioners around the world and applying novel technologies aimed at reducing the global burden of disease.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.; Sunnyvale, CA
- October 2015 to October 2018 – VP, Strategy
Assists the Global Leadership of Intuitive Surgical in developing, communicating, and executing corporate strategic initiatives with a particular emphasis on emerging market strategies and identification of trends in surgery, technology, and healthcare delivery.
- March 2006 to October 2015 – Various roles
Director/VP Medical Research with primary responsibilities in the area of surgical procedure development and evaluation of new technologies for incorporation into the next generations of computer aided surgical platforms.
Verisure, Inc. (purchased by Aragon Surgical); Palo Alto, CA
- October 2005 to present – Founder
Co-founded a startup company to commercialize a device for safely establishing pneumoperitoneum. In second round funding with product (LapCap) now with FDA approval and in the marketplace.
Suite600 Engineering & Design, Mountain View, CA
- December 2002 to present – Principal Mechanical Engineer
Sole proprietorship for occasional engineering consulting.
AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, CA
- June 2000 to August 2001 – New Business Development, ESDC
Primary role was to identify and develop new business areas for the R&D branch of AeroVironment, develop Intellectual Property documentation and forge alliances or joint ventures with partner companies.
- April 1998 to May 2000 – Product Engineering Manager
Founded a product development group within a company which had a primarily R&D corporate culture, helping to develop the systems and processes necessary to control product development and achieve ISO 9002 certification. Managed and directed the product development and sustaining engineering for all of the company’s products, plus representing AeroVironment on several industry standards committees.
- August 1997 to April 1998 – Fuel Cell Laboratory Manager
Designed and set up a fuel cell laboratory for researching and developing a closed-system fuel cell/electrolyzer energy storage for AeroVironment’s high altitude solar aircraft, Helios. Worked ith NASA sponsors and various aerospace subcontractors to develop and launch a multi-year development program.
- May 1992 to August 1997 – Project Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Group Head
Worked as a lead systems engineer in energy storage and electric and hybrid powertrain development for land vehicles, as well as developing computer simulations and control system architectures. Additional responsibilities include managing the Mechanical Engineering group within the Electromechanical center, overseeing major projects and project budgets, system administration, and proposal writing.
MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Cambridge, MA
- February 1991 to April 1992
Worked as a Research Assistant under Dr. J. Kenneth Salisbury designing and building a lightweight gripper actuator package with novel tendon materials for a high-speed robotic arm.
Consultant Engineer; Cambridge, MA
- September 1989 to May 1992
Worked independently for several companies including Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Engineering Dynamics Corporation as well as a subcontractor to Prof. Ernesto Blanco. Projects included developing experimental apparatus for corneal perfusion and microperfusion, designing and manufacturing molds and electrodes for retinal implants, creating large-scale models of surgical instruments for a patent litigation, redesigning the stair mechanism for the Bioclimber stair climbing exercise machine, preparing the court documents and performing structural analysis of flour mills for a patent litigation, and designing carriers, switching stations, and a barcode reading system for a clinical laboratory blood sample conveyer.
Premise, Inc. (purchased by ComputerVision); Cambridge, MA
- October 1988 to August 1991
Applications Engineer and University Program Coordinator for startup software company. Developed applications for CADD software package DesignView and helped write functional specifications for version 2.0. Responsibilities included advising customers on problem solving techniques, teaching classes on using DesignView effectively, testing writing a general engineering problem solving manual, acting as the liaison for the University Program, and assisting in technical presentations.
MIT Biomechanics Laboratory; Cambridge, MA
- February 1988 to July 1988
Worked under Dr. Will Durfee to develop an experimental fluidic brake for orthotic knee braces, build an indexable brake system for electrical muscle stimulation experiments, and build a quick-release motorized tendon tensioner for use during surgical electrical muscle stimulation experiments.
MIT Mechanical Engineering Department; Cambridge, MA
- February 1987 to July 1987
Worked under Dr. David Gordon Wilson to design and build a crank-driven generator light for a bicycle.
MIT Solar Car Team; Cambridge, MA
- January 1987 to August 1990
Assisted in designing and building a series of solar powered racing cars for competition in Switzerland, Australia, and the United States. Acted as chief race mechanic for several international and domestic races and as alternate driver in the World Solar Challenge in Australia. Skills include composite mold making and body construction, advanced machining, tool grinding, NC machining, brazing, braze welding, arc welding, spoked wheel building, tire retreading and painting.
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; Boston, MA
- September 1985 to May 1986
Lab technician for glaucoma research in the Howe Lab. Responsibilities included care of 20 experimental rabbits, gathering of intraocular pressure measurements and anterior chamber fluid samples (paracentisis), and spectral analysis of fluid samples.
Stanford School of Medicine Stanford, CA
Doctor of Medicine, April 2006
While in Medical School, Catherine worked and conducted research in many areas outside of her core clinical studies. In 2001-2003, she worked under a research grant from Ethicon Endo-Surgery to conduct research in minimally invasive surgical tools and techniques. From 2003-2006 she co-developed with Dr. Camran Nezhat a patented medical device to minimize vessel injury during establishment of pneumoperitoneum and co-founded a start-up company, Veresure, to further develop the device. In 2004, she co-developed with Dr. Myriam Curet a version of the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for the da Vinci Surgical System which led to further work with Intuitive Surgical. During the course of research and clerkship education, she scrubbed in as first assistant in over 200 laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. Her clerkship experience includes general surgery with sub-internship, urology, neuro critical care, cardiology and radiology with additional special clerkships in interventional radiology and cardiac catheterization.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
Master of Science, February 1992
Thesis title: “The Design of a Compact Actuator System for a Robotic Wrist/Hand”, Dr. J. Kenneth Salisbury, advisor. Curriculum included modern control theory, applied robotics, machine design with embedded microprocessors, industrial design, heat transfer, advanced fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics.
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, February 1990
Thesis Title: “The Design of a High Torque Low Speed Generator Motor Pair for Human Powered Applications”, Dr. Gill Pratt, advisor. Curriculum included courses in engineering design and analysis, applied mechanics and dynamics, computer programming, classical control theory, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, mathematics, material behaviors, human factors, visual communication, organic chemistry, and liberal arts.