Inventor Profile: James Allred, MD

Allred Needle Driver PrototypesOriginally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Dr. James Allred attended college in Boulder, Colorado and didn’t think anything could take him away from the mountains until he met his wife, a University of Texas graduate, who brought him to Austin.

Dr. Allred was the chief dermatology resident at Seton, who during training saw pediatric patients, geriatric patients and everyone in between while working on a team to treat skin conditions using new medical and surgical techniques. As part of this team, he regularly ran into problems and inefficiencies that made him think about how things could be done better, which was often the basis for his many innovative ideas.

For Dr. Allred, working on an invention is an opportunity to be creative. He appreciates this because he says he lacks other creative talents like painting and musicality, to which his patients will attest. Always wanting to contribute to medicine somehow, but never sharing the same aptitude for traditional research as many of his peers, Dr. Allred believes having an innovator’s skill set and drive is important. Pursuit of innovation can position one to influence great changes in medicine. He finds invention challenging and rewarding.

Advice for Future Inventors

“It’s important not to be timid when you have an idea you think can help people. Presenting a new idea can be daunting, after all your training may have nothing to do with device engineering. I’m as far from an engineer as you can get (I failed 7th grade algebra and majored in history and anthropology).

I feel our experience in caring for patients supersedes any technical shortcomings in device design since we have a unique understanding about how medicine is executed and how it can be done better.

It’s also important to know that you don’t have to do everything alone, since Seton has created an innovation and technology team that will help you negotiate the legal, engineering and marketing challenges that most of us in medicine have no idea how to approach.”


Seton Healthcare Family filed provisional applications for patents on four inventions by James Allred, MD:

  1. Wound Dehiscence and Scar Spread Minimizer
  2. Grasping Apparatuses for Holding Needles and Related Methods
  3. Shave Biopsy Devices and Related Methods
  4. Sanitizer Dispensing Door Handle

Favorite Innovation Quote

“Success is 99% failure”- Soichiro Honda. This quote reminds Dr. Allred that setbacks and failures are really just learning opportunities.