First-year Law Student Named Regents Professor

June 21, 2019

Dr. Marvin J. Slepian is an acclaimed physician, inventor and UA faculty member who started law school last fall

Last August, Dr. Marvin J. Slepian arrived as a first-year JD student at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law with an impressive resume: cardiologist, inventor, CEO and entrepreneur, with UA faculty appointments in medicine, engineering and business. He can now add to his list of titles that of Regents Professor, the highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona’s three public universities.

“We are proud to have such a distinguished scholar, physician, teacher, and innovator in the law school community,” said Dean Marc Miller. “Dr. Slepian’s fascinating career has long bridged the gaps between technology, science, medicine, business and law, and his passion for lifelong learning could not be more evident. He is extremely deserving of the Regents Professor honor.”

University of Arizona Law also counts five Regents Professors in its faculty ranks: Robert Williams, Rebecca Tsosie, Robert Glennon, Toni Massaro and Professor Emeritus Dan Dobbs.

Slepian is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Accelerated BioMedical Innovation (ACABI), a university-wide “creativity engine” to drive invention and solution development to a wide range of unmet needs, biomedical and otherwise. He holds faculty appointments in the UA College of Medicine, College of Engineering and the Eller College of Management. Slepian is a prolific inventor with more than 100 issued and filed patents and has been the founder of numerous medical device companies. He has been involved with bringing many new devices through the FDA regulatory process into clinical use, including most notably the total artificial heart.  

Slepian has received multiple awards and recognition for his academic and translational research activities including: the American Heart Association Award for the Most Significant Advance in Cardiovascular Medicine, the AZBio Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award, election as fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and as fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Slepian was also named the 2019 daVinci Fellow of the UA College of Engineering and was selected as a Drake Medal Recipient—the highest honor of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

He received his B.A. in biochemical sciences and science in human affairs from Princeton University and his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati. 

So why enroll in law school at this point in his career?

“With my years of experience in biomedical innovation and technology development, it has become increasingly clear that while you need science, engineering and medicine to innovate, you really need an inside knowledge of law to truly operate,” says Slepian. “I hope to add even greater legal thinking, process and facility as a skill set to drive broader innovation efforts. 

“I am particularly interested in the dual opportunity of law for and in innovation, as well as the many opportunities to bring innovation and technology to law. I look forward to working closely with faculty and students alike at the College of Law, adding to the knowledge base, while fostering and advancing many collaborative projects”  

One such demonstration of Slepian’s interdisciplinary leadership is a recent roundtable conference he hosted in Washington, D.C. with the Biomedical Engineering and Materials Application Board of the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering, of which he is an elected member. The event was organized around the topic of “Law and Medical Devices: The Complex, Interdigitated, Essential and Evolving World” and brought together experts and thought leaders from private practice, industry and academia.

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