Science is the heartbeat of 3M. Researchers around the world produce more than 3,500 patents each year, combining their knowledge and creativity to create products that change lives.
Once each year, this community gathers to honor a few of their brightest with the highest recognition for scientists – an induction into 3M’s Carlton Society. In 2021, one of those coveted honors went to Bob Asmus, a recent retiree from 3M Medical Solutions, part of 3M Health Care, who led teams to address critical patient health challenges.
What led him to this career as an acclaimed scientist in healthcare? Bob says he first fell head over heels for science with an early interest in books about space, robots and the future. Later, high school chemistry teachers helped pique his interest through exciting in-class experiments.
Although he initially wanted to work for NASA, he landed an internship at 3M where he worked on creating graphic films that were applied to tractor trailers. “The best thing was working with a group of people who were close-knit and who knew how to make the job fun,” he says. Then, he returned to 3M for a full-time career – one that started in the automotive sector and quickly moved to the healthcare arena. He never looked back.
For 35 years, he worked to solve problems for healthcare providers and patients each day. He developed product lines that can help kill bacteria including surgical prepping solutions and hand hygiene solutions.
His proudest achievement? The development of 3M™ Tegaderm™ Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) I.V. Securement Dressing, which has been proven to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI).1 A more recent product he helped develop, 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant, can help create a protective environment that supports healing for people with skin breakdown caused by incontinence.2
“This business is so complex in so many ways,” he says. “You have to understand skin – it exudes sebum, it sweats, it stretches. We all have different skin. And killing organisms on skin is very different from doing it in a petri dish.”
It’s that complexity that made coming to work each day interesting. “Everything basically breaks down to a problem,” he says. “And I’m interested in solving problems.”
We’ll send a roundup of our science and innovation stories each quarter.
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