"Monday motivation is a living reality for us"

Dr. Benjamin Eigl

Combining the two worlds of engineering and medicine is what drives Benjamin Eigl. At CASCINATION he started out as an industrial PhD student and in his current position as Clinical Research Specialist takes responsibility for translating clinical needs from our customers into high performing treatment solutions. 

Born in Klagenfurt, Austria, he received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Medical Engineering and Health Care IT from Carinthia University of Applied Sciences. He completed internships at Pentax Medical (UK), Fraunhofer IIS (DE) and joined CASCINATION in 2017 for an industrial PhD program in collaboration with the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern.

Can you give a short overview of your work here at CASCINATION? 
My tasks at CASCINATION are very diverse. In the context of product development, I have written software for computer assisted navigation and was also heavily involved in the market approval of medical products. The focus of my PhD was image-guided treatment of pancreatic cancer; therefore, I am collaborating with local and international clinicians to investigate the applicability of novel navigation solutions for the pancreas use case. As this PhD was funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant, I also became part of the HiPerNav project. It allowed me to network and collaborate with PhD students from all over Europe to improve soft tissue navigation. By the end of 2020 I completed my doctoral thesis in the field of computer-assisted pancreatic cancer surgery.

What is the future?
After my PhD, I will continue to work in clinical research at CASCINATION. In particular, the combination of the two worlds of engineering science and medicine is a central challenge. At CASCINATION, we live by the rule that our engineers should be able to exchange ideas with a medical doctor at eye level after their studies, even if only for a few minutes. I am therefore looking forward to working more closely with clinical teams in the future.

How did you hear about CASCINATION?
After my Master's thesis, which dealt with the development of computer-assisted navigation techniques, I became aware of CASCINATION through an internet research. Just one week after I called there, I came to Bern for a job interview. The unique company dynamics, the young team and the passion that everyone brings to the job convinced me of CASCINATION right away.

 What has been your biggest success story at CASCINATION so far?
To accompany a product "from bench to bedside", i.e. from the workbench to the application in the clinic. This includes all steps from product development and medical approval to integration in the operating theatre. I became particularly aware of this when I watched the product being used on a patient for the first time.

What made you decide to work in the field of medical software and technology?
Initially I was interested in studying medicine, but I would have missed the technical aspect. The "Medical Engineering" course offered me a good combination of the two subjects, which I liked very much.

What makes working at CASCINATION different from other companies you have worked for?
On Monday you don't think: "Monday again". CASCINATION allows for a varied working day and offers a broad spectrum in which you can establish yourself. This creates many opportunities to develop and ultimately many moments of success. Our team goes to work with great pleasure. We work in an exciting field, with the latest technologies that help people. What I appreciate most is that we all pull together. Everyone at CAScination has the goal of driving the products forward in the best possible way. Coupled with a high level of motivation, this is an unbeatable duo. This is also reflected in our cohesion and team spirit. For a good cause and with a top team, everyone is prepared to go the extra mile. That motivates you immensely.

What do you like most about your work?
Patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer have the best chance of survival if they participate in a clinical trial. At the moment, I am working with clinicians to define exactly such a study. That is what motivates and drives me.

What job did you dream of as a child?
My dream job as a child was astronaut. It was always important to me to contribute to the common good through my profession. Even though I have not yet made it into space, I am able to do just that by developing new technologies that help make treatments more efficient and safer.