Abbey Santanello

Abbey Santanello

Abbey grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. She studied Pre-Professional Studies, Economics and minored in Catholic Social Tradition. Abbey had always been passionate about science and healthcare, but it was not until her junior year that she began to integrate her two majors -- science and business. The intersection of the two unique disciplines was compelling to her because she saw how business can positively impact the advancement of healthcare. When Abbey heard about the ESTEEM Program, she felt that this would be a phenomenal opportunity to continue her education in the sciences but with an entrepreneurial emphasis.

From the start of the summer session, Abbey knew the ESTEEM Program was a perfect fit for her. She came in with a Founder's idea that she wanted to pursue for her thesis project. Her father, a trauma surgeon, saw a need for enhanced instrumentation in the operating room. In a minimally invasive procedure, blood and other bodily fluids often have to be removed from the abdomen; however, the existing instrumentation is frequently obstructed making it difficult to clear the visual field for the surgeon. Over the summer, Abbey and her father began designing an instrument, that they now call the Vampiro, that would solve the problem. During ESTEEM, the mentorship, coursework and thesis helped Abbey to start a company, Santanello Surgical LLC,  and to create a business plan to commercialize the Vampiro in the next year. Abbey was a finalist in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition and was awarded a prize for Best Graduate Student Business Plan and also the Riddhi IP award. In addition to ESTEEM, Abbey was engaged in the Notre Dame community. She was an Assistant Rector in Cavanaugh Hall, and she helped lead the ESTEEM Legacy project -- Road to Discovery -- cycling 400 miles with her peers to raise over $120,000 for the Parseghian Medical Research Fund.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Abbey joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in their Management Fellowship Program. At CTCA, Abbey is able to bring her science background and entrepreneurial skill set cultivated in the ESTEEM Program as she works alongside leaders in the company on enterprise initiatives. She believes that this Fellowship will give her the opportunity to develop technical skills and invaluable business experience coupled with exposure to the evolution of the healthcare environment. In her free time, she continues to work with her Santanello Surgical team as they conclude manufacturing of the Vampiro and prepare to enter the medical device market in the coming months. Her experience in the ESTEEM Program has inspired her career to improve healthcare through entrepreneurship and innovation.