William Cohn, MD

Venture Partner



Alongside his work at Santé, Dr. Cohn is the Executive Director for the Center of Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (TMC), CMO of BiVACOR Inc, and the CMO of Obvius Robotics. He is also a tenured professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and an adjunct professor of Bioengineering at Rice University, the University of Houston, and Texas A&M. Prior to joining TMC, he served as a Vice President at Johnson & Johnson MedTech, Executive Director for the Johnson & Johnson Center of Device Innovation at TMC, and Director of the Center for Technology and Innovation and Director of the renowned Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at the Texas Heart Institute. Dr. Cohn has been deeply involved in developing the continuous-flow, totally implantable, artificial heart. In 2011, Dr. Cohn and Dr. O. H. Frazier successfully implanted the first pulseless total heart replacement device in a human patient. Dr. Cohn has been granted more than 200 US patents or patents pending that have been foundational IP for 10 different venture-backed medical device start-ups.


What is something most people do not know about you?

I was originally committed to pursuing a career in Plastic Surgery. However, I knew that Dr. Michael DeBakey, the 'challenging' task-master of the Baylor College of Medicine surgical residency in which I was enrolled, favored individuals who were training to be heart surgeons. As a strategy to improve my chances of remaining in the program, I scheduled additional elective rotations on the cardiac surgical service, and whenever asked, would profess my passion for cardiac surgery. Over five years of training, I convinced everyone, including myself!

What great advice have you received?

Surround yourself with brilliant people who proceed with a sense of urgency.  

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