Jonathan Fay, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor of Practice, Biomedical Engineering


1131 Gerstacker
2280 Bonisteel Blvd
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


(734) 647-4090

Primary Website

NSF I-Corps Hub


  • Dr. Jonathan Fay received his B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University.

Research Interests

Professor Fay’s lab focuses on how educational interventions and social networks influence the entrepreneurial mindset and subsequent technology diffusion and commercialization. His lab studies the interplay of how social networks, technology advancements, and business practices lead to the adoption of certain technologies but not others. Most previous research has focused on the attributes of the individual innovators or the technology itself and tries to assess which factors are most important for driving adoption. However, the history of innovation is littered with examples of chance meetings, disparate ideas coming together, and nearly simultaneous invention by several groups. In each of these examples, the role of the network and relationships that surround any particular innovator and technology is absolutely critical yet is often lost because of human’s innate attraction to the hero/lone inventor narratives. The network and relationships of an innovator are a large determinant of success. There is a high degree of risk and ambiguity with any innovation project. Therefore, there must be a high degree of mutual trust between actors within the network. Mutual trust develops slowly in relationships which means the social networks needed for innovation and entrepreneurship develop over long periods of time. Other research teams have noted the lack of diversity in innovation and entrepreneurship activities (e.g. VC funding rates). However, why this occurs has not been adequately explained. Future research will explore the development of high-trust social networks, how that impacts the success of innovators, and how that influences the diversity of innovators as well as the effectiveness of interventions to address these issues.

Research Areas:

Biomechanics, Biomedical Innovation, Engineering Education

Additional Title(s)

  • Hub Director, NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region

Personal Pronouns



  • BME550 – Ethics and Enterprise
  • BME655/656 – Leadership and Professional Development – Part of the Masters in Advanced Medical Product Development (AMPED)

Professional Service

  • Involved in promoting and supporting the Coulter Translational Research program within BME


Jonathan Fay focuses his efforts on facilitating and inspiring entrepreneurship and innovation in the PhDs, PostDocs, and Faculty at the University of Michigan. He assists the researchers throughout the project lifecycle including concept creation and business model generation. As a part of this work, he currently manages the nationally acclaimed NSF Innovation-Corps program (NSF I-Corps) across the Great Lakes Region.

Dr. Fay came to the University of Michigan as a veteran startup executive from the medical device industry. He has led the development, regulatory approval, and launch of first-of-kind medical products ranging from infant hearing screening, to asthma diagnostics, to hearing devices. Most recently, Jonathan was the COO/CTO of EarLens Corporation. His responsibilities included all R&D, operations, clinical, and regulatory activities. Jonathan particularly enjoys the early phases of product development, including building the initial cross-disciplinary R&D team, obtaining IDE approval, and running the first-in-man clinical trials. In addition to his operational role, he was instrumental in raising capital from a variety of sources including SBIRs, angels, strategic partners, and VCs. Prior to EarLens, Jonathan was a senior member of the core team that developed Apieron Biosystem’s exhaled nitric oxide asthma monitoring device. Before coming to Apeiron, Jonathan worked at Natus Medical Inc. where he managed the development and release of the Algo3i Infant Hearing Screener into the European market. Jonathan has over 34 issued US patents.