Vijay Krishna, PhD

Photo: Annie O'Neill

Basically, we’re always working toward preventing people from becoming patients.

Vijay Krishna, PhD

Innovation means taking an idea and turning it into something helpful for people.  

It can be easy to get ideas. I’m sure everyone has at least one idea every day. But then you have to think about the next step, which is the gateway to innovation.  

Is the idea unique? If someone else had the same idea and they were successful, then you move on. But if they weren’t successful, you need to figure out why. What can you do to change the process and transform the idea into reality? 

If it is unique, then you think about if it’s an incremental advance or a game-changer. If it’s an incremental advance, you have to consider more questions. Is there a market for it? Is there competition? If it’s a game-changer, then you go for it with all your effort.  

It’s important to talk about your ideas with other people, especially people from different fields. One of the projects that we’re working on is a sunscreen to prevent skin cancers. That idea came from talking to Dr. Edward Maytin, a colleague who’s a clinical dermatologist. My PhD is in materials science and engineering.  

I’m inspired by all the medical professionals and researchers here at Cleveland Clinic who work so hard. They’ve dedicated their lives to coming up with new solutions for patient care. Basically, we’re always working toward preventing people from becoming patients.  

For me, early morning is a good time to think about ideas. If you’re thinking about a problem in the evening, sleep on it. The next morning, you might get some new ideas.  

Wrong turns and dead ends are part of the process. There’s no way to avoid it. If everything goes smoothly from day one, there’s something not right there. You’ll always have challenges to overcome.


Vijay Krishna, PhD, is a Cleveland Clinic scientist in the Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. He holds 22 U.S. and international patents. His lab is focused on next-generation nanotechnologies for safe and effective prevention and treatment of diseases. In addition to novel sunscreens to prevent skin cancers, Dr. Krishna and his colleagues are developing antimicrobial coatings to prevent disease transmission; photonic nanoparticles engineered for noninvasive cancer and kidney stone treatment; and enzyme-mimicking nanoparticles aimed at preventing aging-associated diseases.