Dr. Gary K. Michelson

Dr. Gary K. Michelson

Founder & Philanthropist

(Photo/Seth Casteel)


Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D., is an American board certified orthopedic spinal surgeon, inventor, philanthropist and author of more than 340 United States patents and over 953 patents throughout the world (issued or pending) for spinal surgery implants, instruments and methods.

Michelson is most known for the $1.35 billion settlement he received from medical device maker, Medtronic, in 2005. He spent years in litigation over his patents before the settlement was reached. He is a strong advocate for innovators and inventors.

Funds from that settlement enabled Michelson pursue philanthropic endeavors and foundations to help educate and better prepare the next generation of American inventors and entrepreneurs. There will be increased technical complexity and real-world challenges as it becomes increasingly difficult to bridge the gaps developing between:

  • increasing technical complexity within industries and inventions,
  • decreasing shared knowledge translating across more technical industries,
  • inherent increased interconnectivity and interdependencies built within new technologies,
  • increased difficulty this will cause in identifying and fixing dynamic conflicts and problems of such inter-connectivity.

Technology now is driven through inventions which are deeply interconnected - creating dependencies across a labyrinth of important fields, most notably, in engineering and biomedicine. Cross-functional complexity must be understood and by inventors to succeed in the political and social ecosystems of the future.

These foundations empower future inventors to keep up with the increasing pace of technological change. Grants issued through the Michelson Medical Research Foundation have enabled, among other initiatives, the construction of the recently opened Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience located at the University of Southern California (USC). This center will tackle challenges in health and related fields by making biological sciences quantitative and predictive, fast-tracking the detection and cure of diseases.