Greg Piefer: Shining a powerful light on disease

Posted on 27. Aug, 2012 by in

Greg Piefer (BSEE '99, MSEP '04, PhDEP '06), CEO, Shine Medical Technologies

Piefer earned his UW-Madison nuclear engineering PhD in 2006 and immediately began putting fusion concepts to work. SHINE seeks to become a world leader in the manufacture of isotopes used to treat and diagnose millions of patients every year. SHINE is building an $85 million facility in Janesville that will employ more than 120 people.

“Medical isotopes are used primarily to diagnose heart disease and cancer—the No. 1 and No. 2 killers of human beings in the industrialized world. Finding those diseases in their early stage has a huge effect on outcomes and treatment. Our niche is making medical isotopes without the need for a nuclear reactor.

SHINE happened very quickly, especially since I knew I wanted to carry out this mission of commercializing fusion. You suddenly have to say: ‘OK, wait a minute. I’m no longer focused on this acquisition of scientific data. I need to build and sell something, or this vision is going to fail quickly.’ So you’re forced in that situation to expand your focus and look at what is actually feasible and what can be quickly realized.

Building a plant in Janesville is an exciting part of that story for us. It’s a very technical community. I feel right at home there. And it’s thrilling to be part of developing a factory that will create hundreds of jobs and have a tremendous amount of meaning for the community.

Innovation is essential to the University of Wisconsin mission as a research university. But you don’t do research without innovation. Innovation is the usefulness, if you will, of research and putting those ideas to use for the betterment of the world. That is core, I think, to the university’s value system.”

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