Eugene Goldberg Lecture Series

Eugene Goldberg Lecture Series

Goldberg Lecture Series

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022

featuring Josh Stopek, Ph.D.


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From Surfing, to the Research Lab, to Leading a Breakthrough Medical Startup


Josh Stopek, Ph.D.As a kid growing up on the beautiful beaches of South Florida, I had a love for the ocean and surfing and the visual arts, science and math. Also, like most other 17-year old’s, I had no real idea of what I wanted to do. Fortunately for me, knowing my passions and taking great interest in my future, my father took it upon himself and discovered the Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) Department at the University of Florida. And just like the first wave that truly had me hooked on surfing, it was my very first visit to UF and a spontaneous opportunity to spend some time touring labs that left a marked impression and excitement for what would follow. After seeing the scanning electron, transmission electron and atomic force microscopes, I realized I could use materials science to help reshape the world – or to at least design the next advanced surfboard materials, and hopefully much, much more.

However, that initial interest in “surfing materials science” was completely recast during my first Polymer Physics class lecture with Dr. Gene Goldberg. I listened to the history of intraocular lens implants inspired by pilot eye injuries from shattered WWII fighter plane canopies, cutting-edge coronary stents and novel local drug delivery devices. Equally fascinating were the companies trailblazing these innovations and their respective stories about leveraging the intersection of pioneering materials, biology and medicine to solve huge, unmet and unrecognized clinical needs. And, if done well, the reward of building meaningful businesses around them absolutely blew me away. It was then that I realized I had to be a part of Dr. Goldberg’s lab and his work. The experiences, mentoring, friendships and deep collaborations that followed would ignite and subsequently shape my entire career, and my late afternoon/early evening chats with Dr. Goldberg would continue far beyond graduation (as they did for many of his students).

Today, I am responsible for leading Research and Development for a breakthrough medical device startup focused on developing a completely non-invasive, sonic beam therapy platform capable of destroying tissues, including cancers and other diseases and injuries, at a sub-cellular level, and without the need for incisions, radiation, heat or drugs. It’s a complex robotic platform leveraging the integration of advanced biomaterials, therapy electronics and advanced imaging/visualization technologies. These sciences are integrated with our business goals and support our mission and passion for advancing the science of our novel therapy and its unique benefits for bringing meaningful and transformational change to physicians and their patients.

In this talk, I’ll share my journey from the Goldberg lab to today, including some of my most influential learnings from my time with Gene and the research team. I’ll also discuss how those experiences helped shape our development of technologies and teams over the past 20 years to bring breakthrough products to the clinic and the world.


About Josh Stopek, Ph.D.

VP of Research and Development

Dr. Josh Stopek has more than 20 years of R&D leadership experience, including a background in developing minimally invasive image-guided technologies, new therapy platforms, biomaterial/biosurgery and combination devices to market. He currently is the Vice President of R&D for HistoSonics, currently focused on new breakthrough oncology solutions. He formerly led R&D in various business areas at Medtronic, Covidien and US Surgical. Prior to that, he was the co-founder and VP of a startup medical device company, VMSI, working on new minimally invasive and tissue regeneration therapies. Dr. Stopek has over 200 issued and pending patents. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida, where he also completed a fellowship in Neurosurgery and Neuroscience.


The Eugene Goldberg Lecture Series was founded in 2019 to honor the enduring legacy of Dr. Eugene Goldberg and the lasting impact he had on his students at the University of Florida. The fund provides support to bring top industry leaders, visiting professors and scholars to deliver a lecture/lectures, engage with our students and faculty and participate in other activities during their visit.

Prior to joining the University of Florida, Dr. Goldberg was hired as a research chemist at General Electric Chemical Division in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he discovered and, as co-inventor, developed a new class of high impact, thermally stable aromatic polycarbonates, namely Lexan. In 1966, he was hired by Xerox Research as the Director for the Chemistry Research Laboratory where he pushed the boundaries of electro-chemistry, biochemistry and the biomedical sciences.

In 1975, Dr. Goldberg left Xerox to become a Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Adjunct Professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Chemistry. He later gained additional faculty appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 1985, and Biomedical Engineering 2001. He graduated 29 Ph.D. and 24 MS students and was a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (FAIMBE) and Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE). Dr. Goldberg was the Genzyme Professor and Director of the Biomaterials Center in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. He passed away on Friday, February 15, 2019.

2021 Inaugural Eugene Goldberg Lecture – Dr. Jim Burns

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