Medical Change Maker: Brian C. Glaister ’03 ME, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Cadence Biomedical

Brian C. Glaister ’03 ME
Brian C. Glaister ’03 ME

Who: Brian Glaister ’03 ME, co-founder of Cadence Biomedical

What: A Seattle-based medical device startup that manufactures and distributes Kickstart, technology that provides stability, control and assistance to help victims of stroke, injury and neurological conditions regain their ability to walk.

Why: Roughly 400,000 people in the United States have multiple sclerosis, and each year, more than 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke or spinal cord injury. In each of these scenarios, individuals often lose their mobility. That’s where Brian Glaister ’03 ME has found an opportunity to change lives. 

Impact: “Four years ago, accompanied by myself and a reporter from the Associated Press, three patients using Kickstart walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Just recently, I had the pleasure of seeing one of those patients again and learned he rarely uses the device anymore. He went from being largely immobile for decades to mostly walking on his own. Another of those patients actually skis!”

Entrepreneurial spirit: Glaister won a competitive summer fellowship with the University of Washington' Center for Commercialization. There, he was charged with determining the commercial viability of technology designed to perform noninvasive nerve blocks in pain management clinics. That experience led to a prestigious, 12-month postdoctoral Mary Switzer Fellowship from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research where he developed advanced prosthetic technology to improve mobility for lower limb amputees. His work earned him a $75,000 grant and a U.S. patent.

Advice: “It’s not about convincing the skeptics; it’s about finding the believers and getting started.”