Research models

Brad Gien

Global Head of Surgery

Areas of Expertise

+ Laboratory General Surgeon (mollusks to non-human primates)

+ Blood sampling catheters, urine sampling, and repeated compound dosing

+ Adapting surgical models to any type of research: cardiovascular (heart attacks and pressure overloads), kidney disease, and neuroscience (Parkinson's disease)


+ Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
+ Project management
+ PK/PD Discovery
+ Toxicology
+ Study direction
+ Surgery model development

What are your responsibilities at Envigo?

I manage and operate our global surgical sites. I'm responsible for guiding our surgery program and improving and advancing surgical models. I train the supervisors and surgeons on small and large model procedures. I also work with researchers and customers to help them properly design, set-up, and run studies. I make sure all our licenses and standard operating procedure documents are up to date and provide technical support for our customer service and commercial team. I also write and present scientific abstracts across the globe.

What inspired you to pursue a career in research surgery?

I wanted to be a police officer while growing up in Canada. I was studying criminal justice at university and took a biopsychology class. I really took to the neuroscience aspect because there is so much we don't know about how the brain works. The professor spoke a lot about medical research, which set me on course for where I am today.

I find it very fulfilling. Lucky for me, in the past 20 years, I became a jack of all trades. I do surgery, run the studies, analyze the data, clean the cages - it's all about animal health and welfare and gaining insightful data. It's been very good for me to learn everything from the ground up, so that I can step in at any point in a research study and help give suggestions on how to best move forward.

What are some key attributes of being successful in your role?

Flexibility and the ability to listen and understand what your employees can do and what the researchers want from the models that we're producing. I think a lot of our success at Envigo has stemmed from listening to what a customer wants and actually doing it, rather than creating something and telling them that's what they want.

Surgery is an art. It's not something that is perfected by anyone. We work constantly to make improvements. Honesty and integrity is really appreciated by our customers and researchers. I try to model my leadership after my great teachers who were willing to share with me everything they did. It's made me the research scientist I am today and I want to pass that on. To me, this is one of the great advantages of this job.

What are some other favorite aspects of your job?

Every single day! It can be a lot of legwork with some frustrations, but there's always something new that is just bright and exciting. Talking to other researchers about what they have going on is amazing for me. It keeps me going. I love that part of my job.

I love interacting with researchers and customers, training them on things that I've struggled with in my 20+ year career. I've picked up a lot of different methods over the years on how to do things and do them very well. Showing others tips and tricks just makes life easier for everyone. We're all working for the same goal in science. Anything I can share that's going to help our surgeons, researchers, and even former colleagues - as well as promote Envigo - is very beneficial.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of Envigo?

I absolutely love camping. We have some amazing state parks here in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. My family and I go to camp, ride our bikes, and swim. My kids are also into soccer, so I coach. I've never played. I was born and raised in Canada, so I'm a hockey person, but soccer has really grown on me.

Contact us today if you have a question for Brad or would like to discover more about our surgical capabilities. 

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