William E. Cohn,
Dr. William E. “Billy” Cohn is the Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies and the Executive Director of the new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Dr. Cohn has a passion for medical device development and has more than 90 US patents granted or pending for his medical innovations that have provided the core technology for six venture-backed medical start-ups.
A noted cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Cohn is also a visionary serial inventor. He is a Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at both Rice University and the University of Houston. His major research interests have been focused on decreasing the invasiveness of medical procedures in a wide variety of fields.
Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Cohn was Director of the Center for Technology and Innovation and Director of the legendary Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. He has been intimately involved in the development of the continuous-flow, totally implantable, artificial heart. In 2011, Dr. Cohn and Dr. O. H. Frazier successfully implanted the first pulseless total heart replacement device in a human patient.
His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate in science from Oberlin College, the Distinguished Scientist Award, given by the MacDonald Fund, and the Edison Award for excellence in human-centered design and innovation for the SentreHEART® Lariat®. In 2000, Dr. Cohn was named the distinguished Inventor of the Year by the U.S. Intellectual Property Owners Association. In 2014 he was named Outstanding Inventor of the Year by the Houston IPO. In addition, in 2014 he received the Innovation award at ICI in Tel Aviv for inventing the TVA everLINQ system for percutaneous AV fistula creation and for founding TVA Medical. In 2015, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for healthcare innovation by the Houston Technology Center. Lastly, before joining J&J, he was a Venture Partner at Santé Ventures and was the Chief Medical Officer for BiVACOR USA and for Reliant Heart.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from Oberlin College in Ohio, Billy went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He then completed seven years of general surgical and cardiothoracic surgical training at the Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals and a one-year cardiothoracic fellowship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. After completion of his training, he stayed on as a staff Cardiothoracic surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and as a full-time faculty of Harvard Medical School for ten years before being recruited back to his hometown of Houston.