Inspired by Prellis
Brian Hachtmann, VP of Hardware Engineering
Brian Hachtmann, Prellis' VP of Hardware Engineering, sits down with Tess Remick, Prellis’ Marketing Intern, to give us a bit of insight into some of his thoughts, hopes, and dreams for our company’s future.
What initially sparked your interest in tissue engineering?
"I’ve always been interested in the human body as a machine. When I went to Stanford for a Master’s degree, there were two things that I really wanted depth in — automation of mechanical systems, and human biology. I had an internship at Abbott Vascular after college, developing manufacturing equipment for vascular closure devices, and realized that the engineers who could automate and control mechanical systems were highly valuable. As well, I have always had a fascination with biological systems and this perception that biology is machinery. When I went to Stanford, about a third of my time was spent on embedded system design and robotics, another third in human biomechanics — biomechanics of motion, cardiovascular biomechanics, human behavioral biology, and medical device design. I think the human body is probably the most interesting machine in the universe, at least our little corner of it. Leaving Stanford, I had an offer with intuitive surgical but ended up going with early stage Tesla as I care deeply about our environment. It wasn’t until I met Melanie [Prellis’ CEO and Founder] and joined Prellis that I got into the biological side of things as a professional. I really love and appreciate that about working here. I get to be a part of a team that’s deeply biological. I love working with Melanie and Erin [Prellis’ VP of Tissue Engineering and Antibody Discovery]. Every time I get to hang out with them I learn so much.”
What would you say is unique about the team at Prellis?
“I really enjoy that Prellis is deeply scientifically oriented. When I was at Tesla, the culture was hardcore engineering. At Makani Power, I learned to think more like a physicist, and at Prellis now I am learning from hardcore biological scientists. Prellis is at the bleeding edge of what people are publishing and what the world is finding through all these different projects. The engineering world has been separated from deep biology for a long time. It’s wonderful to find places where these two powerful groups of human effort are finally merging. Tissue engineering is super interesting because at some point, you have to leave the science behind and just go for engineering. It’s a great interdisciplinary team, and I really enjoy learning from the science side of things while offering engineering structure and approach. It’s fun to add different strengths to a community that already has so many. It’s such a pleasure to be on a team of such powerful folks that are also truly kind people. Everybody here is really on each other’s side. The basis is always respect and appreciation, even when we are in the thick of things solving truly challenging problems, and I love that about this team.”
What’s your vision for the future of Prellis?
“If we truly, masterfully execute on any of the basic things we’re trying to do, I feel like we have a wildly profitable business to be built. Of all the things I’m here to do, the thing that truly orients me the most is building a great business — one that makes a powerful impact on the problems of humanity. The long term vision is so grand. We are fundamentally unlocking a new regime of biological science research, tissue engineering and design. We are offering a huge technological platform advancement for an entire industry, and that’s super exciting. With the ultimate vision of fully functional organs grown perhaps from the recipient’s biology itself, I can see us saving a lot of lives and improving the quality of life for so many.”