Emerging Leader

Julie Benton, Ph.D.


For significant technical contributions to novel medical devices; for leveraging her leadership to mentor diverse talent; and for deep dedication to advancing women in science and engineering.

Julie Benton, Ph.D., is a research director leading research and technology for the Medtronic Structural Heart and Aortic Operating Unit. Over the past 13 years in cardiac medical device research and development, she has gained experience as an engineer, technical program leader, and personnel leader.

As an engineer, Dr. Benton helped to develop a novel transcatheter aortic valve replacement implant that could treat aortic valvular stenosis with a minimally invasive catheter approach. As a technical program leader, she led an interdisciplinary team to develop a novel material process, scale manufacturing operations, and test it in a clinical setting. As a personnel leader, she has had the opportunity to grow and develop technical talent, drive the research and development (R&D) investment strategy, and establish new engineering best practices in early-phase technology and device development.

Dr. Benton encourages her team to share their knowledge through presentations at internal conferences, such as Medtronic’s Science and Technology Conference, and in external customer advisory groups. Last year, several engineers from her team gave presentations or technology demonstrations at the science and technology conference. She has also served as core team leader of the Coronary and Structural Heart (CSH) Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (GIDE) group, where she had a direct hand in advocating for intentional recruitment and sponsorship of diverse talent. She is the voice for technology choices in R&D leadership and instills functional priorities and technical rigor in all her downstream teams.

Dr. Benton has also led efforts to refine hiring strategy and promote a greater commitment to hiring from diversity-focused career fairs, such as during conferences of the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. This has resulted in her respective business units making at least one on-the-spot job offer at each WE annual conference since 2018. Her sustained recruiting efforts have grown the unit’s technical women percentage from less than 25% to more than 40%.

Dr. Benton is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of medical device engineering and scientific talent to develop novel, lifesaving medical technology. She strongly believes that team diversity combined with an inclusive environment leads to the most innovative and creative solutions for complex health challenges. Dr. Benton has established efforts within her business unit — and more broadly across Medtronic — to target gender bias, increase retention of women engineers, and improve engagement and representation. She has successfully implemented sponsorship and mentorship programs at both local and corporate levels.

Dr. Benton holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in chemical and biological engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has been adjunct faculty at many colleges and universities. She is Six Sigma black belt certified and holds eight U.S. patents.

Outside of work, Dr. Benton enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, biking, and gardening.