Jesse Nawrocki received three degrees from Lehigh's materials science and engineering program. In 2001, he completed his Ph.D. and soon began working for Ethicon, a global medical device company and subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, as a senior engineer. Nawrocki was awarded the prestigious Johnson Medal in 2005 for inventing a needle coating technology that enables surgeons to close wounds with greater control, flexibility, and comfort. He was one of six scientists in 2005 to be recognized. The medal is regarded as Johnson and Johnson's "top award." (View story)
The "MultiPass Needle Coating Technology" that Nawrocki invented is credited by the corporation with generating $100 million in total sales in 2004. He developed a polymeric coating of polyolefin wax powders that, when added to the medical grade silicone used in standard needle coatings, "dramatically improves the penetration capability of surgical needles," said an article in The 2005 Johnson Medals. This reduces the penetration force required, easing hand fatigue and lowering the likelihood of a needle bending or breaking under pressure.