Kingsley Chin: Physician, inventor and entrepreneur

Alumni PhotoDr. Kingsley Chin, SEAS Senior Class President in 1989 and Ivy League player of the year in Division I soccer in 1988, has again proven himself a leader, this time in the field of medicine. Dr. Chin was a 3-2 student, graduating from Columbia College with a minor in mathematics in 1988 and from SEAS in 1989 with a major in electrical engineering.

Following graduation, Dr. Chin took a nontraditional engineering path to gain two years of business experience as a management consultant for Andersen Consulting (Accenture) in New York City before heading to Massachusetts and matriculating at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1996 with honors and from his Harvard Orthopaedic Residency in 2002.  He went on to further specialize for a year as a Spine Fellow at Case Western Reserve University under the mentorship of the renowned Dr. Henry H. Bohlman.  

Dr. Chin has leveraged his degrees in engineering and medicine with his business experience to found several enterprises. In 2001, he founded, an Internet-based company focused on medical online distant learning using technology developed at MIT.

He subsequently changed his focus to become an inventor of medical devices for spine surgery and has over 24 issued and pending patents. “My engineering background prepared me to analyze problems I face during surgery and allows me to generate innovative engineering solutions in the form of medical devices to solve these problems,” says Dr. Chin.

In 2005, he founded MANTIS, LLS, a company focused on developing minimally invasive spine surgery devices. He sold the MANTIS device to STRYKER Spine as a multimillion-dollar deal. The device was FDA-cleared in 2007 and, in 2008, generated over $20 million in sales. Dr. Chin subsequently founded SpineFrontier, Inc., to continue his interest in developing medical devices but with a deeper and broader portfolio to address the minimally invasive spine surgery market and to expand spine surgery to treat elderly patients. In 2008, SpineFrontier released its first FDA-cleared device and subsequently has generated almost $7 million in revenues and was profitable the first year.  

Dr. Chin has shared his expertise with the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons. He spent four years (2003-2007) as an assistant professor of orthopaedic spine surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania where he was recruited to be the Chief Spine Surgeon in 2003. In addition, he has 45 published articles, written 14 book chapters and 11 review chapters, edited the textbook, Orthopaedic Key Review Concepts, and was an associate editor of Interventional Spine: An Algorithmic Approach. He also established an Orthopaedic Board review course taught by world-renowned surgeons in New York City to prepare residents to pass their Board examination.

“At the core of my endeavors is the desire to help patients” says Dr. Chin. “My engineering background helps me to think algorithmically and allows me to believe there is an innovative solution to every problem.” He recently founded The Institute for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (iMIS) in West Palm Beach, Fla., to provide the latest surgical techniques to patients and has established a training course for surgeons on these techniques. He hopes iMIS will become a renowned center of excellence in spine surgery with multiple franchised locations to help patients worldwide with the latest minimally invasive techniques and devices.

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