JTED Advanced Biotechnology students enrolled in Dr. Andrew Lettes’ class at Pueblo Magnet High School received a unique opportunity this fall to tour SynCardia Systems, Inc.
SynCardia, founded and located in Tucson, is the only company in the world that manufactures the temporary Total Artificial Heart. Syncardia medical engineer Jon DeDiego let students hold an artificial heart, explained the science behind how the device was developed and works, and described how the implant device has helped save more than 1,100 patients from around the world who were dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure and needed the bridge to transplant device while waiting for a donor heart. Students then toured the factory where the Total Artificial Hearts are made, and saw the facility where the pumps, which drive the devices, are manufactured and tested.
Class of 2013 Senior Annette Lopez says she didn’t have any idea that a company like Syncardia was operating a few miles from her neighborhood. She was planning to focus on oncology after pursuing her nursing degree at Grand Canyon University, but says that this fieldtrip opened her eyes to another option she may choose.
Lopez says her JTED Biotechnology class is a lot more fun than her traditional classes because hands-on learning is much more exciting than just reading out of a book. “If you go to Pueblo, you’ll regret it if you don’t take Dr. Lettes’ class – he’s a great teacher,” says Lopez. “It’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding in the end.”