Mar 30, 2020 / Spotlight
Get to Know our Staff: Bill Pierce, Research
What is your role at Scottish Rite for Children?
As one of three engineers working in the Bioengineering Division of the Research department, I provide engineering and technical assistance to our staff, in support of their research needs. This can range from designing or identifying appropriate electronic sensors that are needed to make measurements of physical phenomenon that occur in the human body to testing new surgical techniques or prototype designs of surgical implants or instruments. These tests are conducted in our Biomechanics Lab, where we have two “material testing systems” that can apply forces and/or displacements to biological specimen and measure the resulting changes to the specimen that have been treated with a novel surgical technique or implant.
We also provide support for projects that allow orthopedic fellows and residents to gain critical research experience, as part of their education at Scottish Rite. We have a machine shop that fabricates prototype devices or test fixtures. We also have a 3D printer that allows us to rapidly prototype a design and evaluate its fit and function.
What do you enjoy most about Scottish Rite?
I believe that our patients represent the future, and we offer them hope.
How long have you worked at Scottish Rite? What path did you take to get here?
This year, I will celebrate being at Scottish Rite for 25 years. After graduating from Texas A&M with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, I went to work for a NASA contractor at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I spent three years there in support of NASA flight surgeons during about 20 space shuttle missions.
Prior to Studying at A&M, I was in school at UT Southwestern, studying Prosthetics & Orthotics. The fabrication labs were on the Scottish Rite campus, so I become vaguely familiar with the Research department at that time. One of my classmates at A&M had been a student in the Scottish Rite Movement Science Lab and she informed me of an open position in the Biomedical Engineering Division of the Research department. I wanted to get my hands dirty and be close to my family in Dallas, so I interviewed and was hired. (I still have my acceptance letter!)
What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’re working on right now?
Currently, I am keeping up to date with new machining and/or sensor developments and making sure that our Biomechanics Lab and Machine Shop benefit from this knowledge. The end goal is to make sure our patients and medical stall have access to the most current technologies and resources, in order to achieve their treatment and/or research goals.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
Any of their documentaries.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I think that a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti would be amazing!
What are some small things that make your day better?
Seeing the thankful and loving expressions between our patients, their families and our staff.
What is special about the place you grew up?
I grew up in Austin, Texas during the ‘70’s and 80’s and was able to hear and see many great musicians and artists find their craft during that time. I also spent two years on Adak Island, Alaska. Adak was a Naval Air Station and is where the US Army repelled the Japanese Army’s invasion of Attu Island, Alaska during WWII. There were military bunkers and spent shell casings all over the place. There were a lot of fun hiking locations and the bald eagles were as common as grackles are here in Dallas.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy doing anything with my wife.