VOLUME VI ISSUE 6 MARCH 2012 THEPIONEER.GATECH.EDU
Factors to help decide if medical school is the path to take
Words from Dr. Fasse on the novelty and usage of Problem Based Learning
How to professionally source materials for upcoming projects
Pioneer A WALLACE H. COULTER PRODUCTION
Management in Healthcare Bill Todd by Rachel Stewart—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department
Dr. Bill Todd is a distinguished Georgia Tech alumni, whose multi-faceted career has facilitated major advances in science, medicine, and technology in Georgia. (Photo: Virginia Lin)
THE YEAR IS 1989. Bill Todd sat at his desk, furrowing his brow and rubbing his forehead, brainstorming strategies to encourage cooperation amongst Georgia’s research universities, businesses, and government. An alliance between these groups would bolster scientific discovery and economic development. But how could these complicated independent organizations develop useful partnerships, benefitting from each others work? Todd thought back to recent years when he had been instrumental in forming a symbiotic partnership between two schools of differing foci. One was a public school, which had engineering skill but virtually no medical programs. The other was a private school, which had excellent medical programs but virtually no engineering skill. He saw an opportunity to enhance their productivity and in order to encourage the bond between the schools, Todd and his colleagues developed system of seed grants to fund labs based in both schools. The two schools grew together, profiting from each other’s specialized skills, and that bond eventually developed into the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering… Continued on page 8
A Vision for the Future Dr. Joseph Le Doux and the BME Undergraduate Program by Subhendu De—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department OVER THE PAST DECADE, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering has undergone tremendous growth. None was more pronounced than that of the undergraduate Biomedical Engineering (BME) program. Since 1997, many faculty members have been involved with fostering growth and shaping the program into what it is today. Shortly before the commencement of the 2011-2012 year, several changes in the administration’s faculty led to Dr. Joseph Le Doux entering the position of Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. Le Doux, who is taking over from Dr. Paul Benkeser, Senior Associate Chair for Operation, now has the responsibility of leading the entire undergraduate program. Le Doux has been a faculty member with the Department of Biomedical Engineering since 1999, and has played an instrumental role in developing core aspects of the... Continued on page 4
Dr. Benkeser is now the Senior Associate Chair for Operations and Dr. Le Doux is the new Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies (Photo: William Sessions)
Pioneer From the Editor in Chief As the midpoint of the semester approaches, we find ourselves juggling tests, extracurricular activities, and project deadlines. If that was not enough, we also find ourselves scrambling to configure our summer plans, while dreaming of the alluring break on the horizon. Those of us looking for a summer internship found ourselves rehearsing our elevator pitches, compulsively updating our resumes for internship fairs, and crossing our fingers for interview offers. Even though the fair has passed and interviews have been given, internship opportunities are still plentiful. Be sure to check our guide to finding summer opportunities. As an organization, we are picking up what our predecessors left us, and gearing Pioneer to a more collaborative effort. With this semester, we have experienced a complete turn over in officers, as well as a tremendous growth in our staff size and involvement. With this in mind, we plan on taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to expand the newsletter. I look forward to these new opportunities that await us. As always, if you have any feedback and suggestions, our inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org is always open. Sincerely, Virginia Lin
INSIDE:PIONEER PRE-HEALTH……………………………………………………….………….……...…...3 Hmm...Should I Be A Doctor?
DEBUT………………………………………….……….……………………………………...4 DEsign by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams
SUMMER PLANS……………………………………………………..…………….……...5 Interviews, Resumes, and Internships
RECENT PUBLICATIONS………………………...……………..…………….........6 INTERNSHIPS...……………………...………………………………………..………….. 7 2012 Annual GT Internship and Career Fair
FACULTY SPOTLIGHT……………...………………….………………………..…….8 Dr. Barbara Fasse
BIOTECH REVIEW………….………………………………..……………..………….10 Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT………………………………………………………………..11 Mitesh Agrawal
DESIGN TOOLBOX……………………………………..…….……….……..…….…12 Professional Sourcing
EDITOR IN CHIEF Virginia Lin FACULTY SPONSOR Wendy Newstetter, Ph.D. OPERATIONS SECRETARY TREASURER PUBLIC RELATIONS
Timothy Lin Saranya Karthikeyan Guergana Terzieva Jaemin Sung
WEBMASTERS Felis (Doyeon) Koo Sara Khalek Jaheda Khanam Karan Suraj STAFF WRITERS Subhendu De Rachel Stewart Belane Gizaw Sarah Gonzales Christine Hang Cathy Heo Arun Kumar Nithya Paranthaman Asra Rehan Hifza Sakhi Harish Srinimukesh Jaemin Sung Guergana Terzieva Steven Touchton Jr Prateek Neil Viswanathan Iva Zivojinovic EDITORS Harish Srinimukesh Nida Dharani Jackson Hair Shalv Madhani Caroline Massaro Ayesha Patel Elina Sarmah Kristen Weirich LAYOUT EDITORS Kevin Lam Marisa Casola Yeonghoon Joung Kelli Koenig Candace Law Summer Lee Sam Lim Xurong Liu Alexandra Low Eesha Mathur PHOTOGRAPHERS William Sessions Sheridan Carroll Jacob Khouri Arthur Lo Rachel Moore Fred Woo COLLABORATORS Karen Adams Paul Fincannon Sally Gerrish Marty C. Jacobson Jennifer Kimble Megan McDevitt Mark P. McJunkin Colleen Mitchell Adrianne Proeller Shannon Sullivan
Pre-Health Column Hmm...Should I Be A Doctor? by Jennifer Kimble—Georgia Tech Pre-health Advisor “OH, YOU ARE SO SMART. You should be a doctor!” “Being a doctor is an honorable and respected profession. Everyone in our family is a doctor.” “I want my child to be a doctor. I did not sacrifice for you to do anything but medicine.” Sound familiar? These are some of the things students bring to my attention when they talk to me about being Pre-Med. This article focuses on how one can begin evaluating if medicine is the career path they want to walk on. Having said that, this cannot be addressed in a simple article. As it is truly a reflective process. When I was at Emory University as the Pre-Med advisor, the Pre-Law advisor and my colleague had a crystal ball on her desk. When students would ask her if they should be a lawyer, Rodia Vance, Associate Director of Emory University, would gaze into her crystal ball for the answers. I myself do not possess a crystal ball for Pre-Med advising, but I do have a couple of suggestions for getting started: 1. Touch your tummy Note that focusing on going to medical school is just one part of the process. The fire in the belly is what gets one through reading 16 books in the first semester of medical school. This is what provides one’s hope when one is in line for $160,000 worth of medical debt! It gives one a sense of purpose when reading news articles about doctors going bankrupt due to the rising cost of running their practice. This is what motivates one to turn down the lucrative offer of a specialty for being a general practitioner or a pediatrician in a small town. But this should not solely dictate the decision to be a doctor. 2. Experience Shadowing and get Medical Exposure Wonder why medical schools put so much weight on shadowing and gaining medical exposures? They need to make sure one has been challenged and has succeeded. This is their way to make sure a career in medicine is in fact what one wants; they do not see it as part of an obstacle course for acceptance. This type of exposure illuminates, three primary aspects of one’s application
that medical schools want to see. First, knowing that being a medical doctor aligns with the applicant’s goals: students talk about their desire to comfort the patient as their reason to go into medicine. However, once they see that this is an important role of nurses, they switch their focus to that career. Second, knowing that the applicant understands what it is like to work with the public. Working with the public can be a challenging. Dealing with patients requires a lot of patience! They are often stubborn and might not follow all directions given to them. Further, one also must deal with patients’ woes, not just their symptoms. Think about how you are when you are sick; are you always in the best mood, happy and cheerful? Third, the applicant’s preparedness for the amount of bureaucracy facing medicine today: There is a huge ‘brain drain’ occurring in the medical profession. Many doctors are leaving the profession because they are tired of dealing with insurance companies and government regulations. Gray’s Anatomy might play on the glamour in medicine, but to seeing medicine in action reveals if one is in love with the idea of being a doctor or truly vested in the profession.
“deadline” to decide to become a doctor. In fact, many alumni of the Biomedical Engineering program contact me to discuss medical school. As a better option, working in industry for a while can add to ones value as a candidate! I certainly enjoy helping one through the decision making process, however I strongly encourage speaking with practitioners in the field to get their take on the future of healthcare and to broaden one’s perspective. Additionally, the Office of Pre-Health T-Square site provides more food for thought in selecting a future career.
THAT’S SO BME
3. Know the influences on your field Take a moment and visit www.healthcare.gov and review the healthcare reform act. The topic ‘What’s Changing and When’ shows changes to the repayment plan which goes from a ‘volume’ based system to a ‘value’ based system. In a rather large nutshell, doctor reimbursement will be dependent on the outcomes of patients, making it a challenge in the future to monitor and participate in that system. I am not debating the merits of a government controlled health care; I just want to highlight that there will be some challenges with the current standing healthcare legislation. Hence, one must also consider dealing with such influences after completion of one’s medical program. Finally, I wish there was a clear, simple test to take to reinforce and confirm this as the right career path. Please remember that there is no
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Vision for the Future undergraduate curriculum. In addition to developing what is now known as BMED 2210, Conservation Principles in BME, Le Doux also holds a key interest in engineering education. “I think of our department as really innovative education. We have developed creative learning environments that are geared towards student engagement,” says Le Doux, “We are a model for the country.” Le Doux particularly highlights Problem Based Learning, developed by Dr. Wendy Newstetter, Director of Learning Sciences Research, and Dr. Barbara Fasse, Senior Research
their career goals. Le Doux, along with Sally Gerrish of the Academic Office, also introduced the idea of a portfolio. Portfolios help students tell the story of their accomplishments at Georgia Tech. Well designed portfolios aggregate a student’s achievements and highlight key relevant classes, extracurricular activities, research, co-ops, and internships. While the persona would provide a framework to the student, the portfolio can be used to fill in the framework. Le Doux notes that this process needs to begin early, and plans to introduce it into current and upcoming BMED 1000 classes. “It serves as a guide to get you where you want,” comments Le Doux, “[to] have a product at the end.”
“We have developed creative learning environments that are geared towards student engagement. We are a model for the country.” Scientist, and Capstone Design, developed by Dr. Paul Benkeser and Franklin Bost, Professor of the Practice, as the major successes of the program. However, Le Doux recognizes the challenge of maintaining the quality of the undergraduate program, especially considering the explosive growth and interest in the program. With the majority of the major changes to the curriculum already in place, Le Doux and other faculty members are now looking to see how students respond to the new flexibility. Le Doux is now working on developing tools students can use to the opportunities that the new curriculum provides. To accomplish this, Le Doux, Newstetter, and the Academic Office are working to introduce students to the concepts of personas and portfolios. Personas are abstracted individuals, based on real people, which put a face to potential career paths that are possible after graduation from the Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program. These personas will help students to see whether their goals coincide with any given persona, and then seeing the steps needed to reach that goal based on theoretical paths taken by the persona. The hope is that the persona concept will help students to focus their efforts and give them the tools they need to take advantage of the curriculum and chart a successful path to
In addition to improving the overarching goals of the program, Le Doux also aims to enhance and spread the learning innovation that is integral to the BME curriculum. He emphasizes the need to strengthen the relationships between classes within the BME curriculum and the relationship between the engineering and non-engineering classes.“There is a growing interest on campus in engineering education, and our department is at the forefront of those efforts. I want to help foster and grow our leadership role in engineering education”, remarks Le Doux. Currently, Le Doux envisions a growth of interest in innovative educational approaches, especially Problem Based Learning, and sees the BME department as the resource for the rest of Georgia Tech. As the BME undergraduate program moves beyond its inception and rapid growth, Le Doux focuses on refining the program and fulfilling its full potential. In the near future, he will be working with the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Student Advisory Board, and Academic office to envision long term goals for the path of the BME undergraduate program. Under his leadership, the BME department will surely continue to enjoy its success, and will continue to be a leader and model for Georgia Tech and for other BME departments in the country.
DEBUT DEsign by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams by Rachel Stewart—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department AT THE HEART OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING lies a combination of healthcare and innovation. The ability to generate new ideas using the concepts of multiple traditional engineering disciplines makes Biomedical Engineering a vibrant and emerging field. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NBIB), a branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH), wants to facilitate the development of this entrepreneurial spirit among the growing biomedical community by recognizing this capacity for innovative ideation. To this end, the NBIB is hosting the DEBUT (DEsign by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams) challenge. The DEBUT challenge focuses on three categories – diagnostic devices, therapeutic devices, and technology – to support underserved populations. In each of these categories,
a $10,000 award is given to the team of undergraduate students who invents the most significant, innovative, and effective product. This reward is especially enticing because the NBIB does not claim any intellectual property from the students; technology produced for the DEBUT challenge is the property of the students, who can continue development of their products after the competition with free reign. Due to the work involved in the DEBUT challenge, students participating in Capstone Design projects are encouraged to get involved. Groups are required to have at least three students, and submissions are due by 11:59PM on May 26th. To enter, visit the official website at debut.challenge.gov. With the opportunity to attain personal exposure, gain prestige for your ideas, and win $10,000, what do you have to lose?
What Are You Doing This Summer? Interviews, Resumes, and Internships by Amrita Banerjee—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department MARCH HAS ARRIVED and many biomedical engineering students are still looking for an internship. The end may be near, but there are still many options available. Sally Gerrish, Director of Student, Alumni, and Industrial Relations, has some information about how students can apply for an internship and, if they find one, what they should do to convince the company of their merit. Companies are always searching for interns, even this late in the semester. Though most of the formal internship programs, such as the internship fair in early January, are finished, projects within companies are coming about, creating internship opportunities for many students. To find these projects, students can either get in touch with the companies directly, or use the career services offered at Tech, including Professional Practice Division Database (P2D2), Division of Professional Practice (DoPP), or CareerBuzz. These services can help students quickly obtain the internship they want. The DoPP Newsletter even lists some of the search engines that students can use to look for internships. If a student has searched a company, but is having trouble getting on the interview list, these career service databases can also assist in getting in contact with the company. Finally, the emails that Gerrish writes are a valuable resource, as many of the internship opportunities she distributes have fast
Sally Gerrish manages the daily operations of the BME Academic Office as well as serves as a friendly resource to students. (Photo: William Sessions)
turnaround times. Anyone can apply for an internship, including freshmen. However, keep in mind that internships are a great tool that companies use for recruiting future employees. They want experienced individuals that can sell themselves to a company. While competition increases at the sophomore, junior, and senior levels, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are not opportunities for first year students. Companies and research institutions will look at a résumé and ask, “What did this student learn from this experience and how will it help him or her be a good fit for our company?” Another point to keep in mind is that everyone wants experience, and even if an internship is not ideal, it will still help in the search for the ‘right’ career. This year, the 3.0 GPA requirement has returned. Most companies and research institutions, like the REU programs, want to know how well students have done academically. However, they also want to see communication and networking skills. “[It is] very important to show these programs the confidence [one carries],” Sally mentioned. If students can show a representative of a specific company how enthusiastic, passionate or eager they are to work, significance of these crucial communication skills can very well trump GPA. The final aspect that companies screen for is whether an internship candidate will be a good investment. It is true that students will gain experience and skills through the program. However, it is also important that students showcase the skills and knowledge they have already gained as a student at Georgia Tech. As a result, an interviewee should always consider the question, “Are these people willing to work with me?” Once internships have been selected to apply for, the actual application process begins. The first part of this is the résumé, which show companies the experience that one has gained through classes and extracurricular activities. So, what is the best way to improve a résumé? The answer is simple: quantify and describe. Instead of listing every organization, list a few that tell particularly good stories. Also be sure to include relevant coursework that are related to the internship. Many students find it difficult to ask or find faculty to write letters of recommendation. Consider asking Principle Investigators (PIs), supervisors from previous internships, or professors from previous classes. Furthermore, it is not preferable to simply ask these professionals. Instead, provide them with a packet containing a description of the program, the application, a résumé, and the letter of recommendation documentation. With this information, they will have a better idea of how to complete the requested letter. Hopefully, these résumés and letters of recommendation will result in an interview. The most important advice for the interview is to practice. Try to think of questions that may come up during the interview and prepare answers beforehand. Practice in front of someone, express the skills confidently, and remember to maintain eye contact. Even though it is mid-semester, a good résumé and interview will help one snag that summer internship.
Recent Publications Journal
Effect of cleaning and sterilization on titanium implant surface properties and cellular response.
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Maleimide cross-linked bioactive PEG hydrogel exhibits improved reaction kinetics and cross-linking for cell encapsulation and in situ delivery.
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The annual internship fair helps many Georgia Tech students find upcoming opportunities. (Photos: Sheridan Caroll)
2012 Annual GT Internship and Career Fair Internship Positions for the Summer by Jaemin Sungâ€”Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department ON JANUARY 24TH AND 25TH, the Student Center Ballroom was lively and bustling with a crowd of business suit-clad students, all hoping to impress company representatives at the 2012 Georgia Tech Annual Internship and Coop Fair. For students looking to secure an internship position for the summer, the fair was the last exhibition of opportunities. The Georgia Tech Division of Professional Practice staff expedited the check-in process and distributed guide packets that enumerated the companies present, as well as provide last-minute information about them. Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, McKesson Corporation, Siemens, the Clorox Company, companies whose job offers would delight most Biomedical Engineering (BME) students, were represented by their engineering and human resource representatives who were ready to evaluate student rĂŠsumĂŠs and answer questions on the spot. Medtronic representatives made it clear that a 3.0 GPA and junior-level engineering classes were the baseline criteria for any internship or co-op candidates. Medtronic's vision was that its interns would be brought into teams full of veteran engineers and expected to function as engineers, not as
technicians, so they could acquire as many skills as possible. The representatives were delighted to talk with students who had done prior research into their companies, yet some of the students were clueless about what they would do as interns. For the questions cast in this perspective, the McKesson representative explained that the internships at McKesson are project-driven, with each intern spending weeks on projects that are regularly presented to the other engineers at McKesson. Natalie Fan, a third-year BME student, eagerly sought internship opportunities at the fair. Given the multifaceted nature of biomedical engineering, she inquired which skills and experiences the company representatives wanted to see in the students. She also engaged in conversations with representatives of companies that are not known for specializing in biotechnology, considered marketing as one of her career options. Overall, the Internship and Co-op Fair elicited a mixture of feelings from BME students. For those who were able to schedule a job interview on the following day, the fair was a success.
However, among those who did not benefit from the fair as much, the consensus reached was that biomedical engineering companies lacked their presence at the fair, in contrast to the companies that showed interest in other majors. Some of those who shared this opinion remained hopeful based on the prospect of the growing biomedical engineering job market and resolved to keep their eyes on the emails from their advisors and other career-related resources.
Overall, the internship and Co-op Fair elicited a mixture of feelings from BME students.
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Management in Healthcare at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Reconsidering the original question, Todd knew that the method used to bring Georgia Tech and Emory University together could be applied on a larger scale for the improvement of the entire state of Georgia. In 1990, this plan would come to fruition in the form of the Georgia Research Alliance, which would generate $2.1 billion in investments in the state’s future. Later, he would serve as President and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition. When Todd took this role in 2003, Georgia was well below the national average in prevention of cancer, suffered from a high mortality rate, and received less National Cancer Institute support per capita than most other states. Under his leadership, Georgia achieved a mortality rate below the national average and became highly involved in cancer research. Furthermore, Georgia is now considered a model for similar advancements in other places. As a 1971 Georgia Tech graduate from the College of Management, Todd went on to develop his management abilities, after which he has returned to Georgia Tech to share his experiences through professorship. This semester, he is
teaching MGT 4191, Entrepreneurship Forum, which encourages students to embody the entrepreneurial spirit in either their own start-ups or in larger companies, innovating within existing frameworks. Next semester, he is opening a new course: Healthcare Management. Following the belief that many of healthcare’s woes stem from the administrative level, he intends to teach healthcare management at the system level. Though this class is based in the College of Management, any Pre-Med student intending to serve as an administrator in a healthcare environment would find it thought provoking and useful. Through these classes, he hopes to enhance the leadership abilities attained through the course of the degree program. For students eager to quench their thirst for knowledge on leadership in healthcare, Todd recommends the upcoming lecture by Dr. Bill Foege. One of Todd’s heroes, a public health giant and the man largely responsible for the eradication of smallpox, Foege will be receiving the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage on March 15 followed by a public address. Any student planning on working in the field of healthcare, especially Pre-Med students would appreciate Foege’s work and Todd encourages those students to attend!
Faculty Spotlight Dr. Fasse: Studying the Jacks of all Trades, the Champions of Tomorrow by Harish Srinimukesh—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department DELVING INTO THE LEARNING ISSUES of biomedical engineering students on a daily basis is cognitive scientist Dr. Barbara Fasse, Senior Research Scientist in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. A social-psychologist with an educational psychology background, Fasse has worked extensively in learning sciences research at Georgia Tech since 1997, and currently specializes in Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a team -based instructional methodology pioneered in medical schools but now used at all levels of instruction. Prior to joining BME in 2007, she was part of the Learning By Design™ Project-Based Learning team and studied in a bio-robotics lab, both of which were in the College of Computing. Her work centered on the investigation of strategies that would make education, which she insists “is not the plug-n-chug, drill-ngrill memorization of math formulas and science ‘facts’ that students typically confuse for ‘learning’”, both meaningful and relevant. She is a proponent of PBL’s student-centered instruction because it offers students the tools to develop conceptual understanding of ideas and to apply content in novel situations. In addition to studying the effects of PBL on student learning, Fasse provides the BME faculty of scientists and engineers with a connection to the learning theory and socialsciences literature outside of their expertise. She encourages them to leverage classroom innovation as educational research. Two examples are a “PBL-esque” curriculum developed for the instructional labs by Dr. Esfandiar "Essy" Behravesh, Instructional Lab Director in the Coulter department, and the similar reinvention of BMED 3600, Physiology of Cellular and Molecular Systems by Drs. Tom Barker and Philip Santangelo, Assistant Professors in the Coulter department. The problem-driven approach these instructors are experimenting with in their courses is
“radically different [at Tech]”, said Fasse, “because cell biology is normally taught in a strict lecture environment, and instructional labs tend to be recipe-driven around work a lab tech might do versus employing techniques within the context of a challenging problem as engineers.” Dr. Fasse and her coauthors, Drs. Barker and Behravesh, will be presenting the
Dr. Barbara Fasse is a research scientist for Learning by Design, a research project focused on project-based inquiry. (Photo: William Sessions)
results of these classroom innovations as papers-to-publish at the 2012 conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and Association of Engineering Education (ASEE), respectively. Fasse also applies the same sort of problem-driven approach with Dr. Jeremy Ackerman, Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at Emory University, crafting research questions related to Ackerman’s CODE course in which students identify and make recommendations for reengineering an inefficient device, process, or material observed in the emergency department at Grady Memorial Hospital. Fasse reports that the Coulter department’s selfconscious commitment to learning and teaching is evident in the adoption of the PBL approach, encouragement given to faculty to try new ideas in the classroom, and constant student feedback that help shape curricular decisions. PBL demands “a serious allocation of resources--time, energy, space, and funding,” shared Fasse. As a result, it is important to justify its value. Even though many of the advantages of PBL in post-secondary, non-medical school environments have yet to be substantiated, “the larger instructional and learning sciences community is curious to know what we are discovering here about learning and teaching.” As co-PI with Drs. Benkeser and Zhu on the NSF-funded China Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE), Fasse is also responsible for the research aspect of the program. Each year, CURE participants conduct 12 months of research—two semesters at Georgia Tech or Emory with a summer semester at Peking University in Beijing, China in the middle. Fasse monitors the students’ progress in their home labs and at PKU by making a site visit while they are in Beijing to learn how research and “students as a shared asset” can link collaborating institutions on opposite sides of the world and the best way to successfully facilitate that connection. This study allowed Dr. Fasse to observe how the teamwork, inquiry,
and problem solving practices learned in PBL coursework are applied in the research lab and while negotiating life with work in another culture. She quotes a CURE 2010 student who said that “every day in China is nothing but PBL” to describe their struggles to deconstruct constantly emerging complex problems ranging from the intricacies of the work on the bench top, to what to order on a menu written in Mandarin, to how to buy light bulbs. Having identified such great things about the way BME education is conducted here at Georgia Tech, then why do students seem to have so much doubt about career possibilities? Fasse helped dismiss some of the fog around the great question often heard in the halls of Whitaker: whether it is best to be a ‘Jack of All Trades’ or a ‘Master of One’. “The world is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. The combination of the command of the fundamentals with the tools for self-directed exploration is likely to serve you better than a narrow undergraduate specialization in one area—unless and until you define that area for yourself as your career progresses,” explained Fasse. “There is a lot of power in managing the ambiguity of ‘not knowing’ with the confidence of knowing how to make sense of any challenge in a [well-planned] way.” She continued, “You will be asked to broaden your definition of your content knowledge, and, if you freak out because you only have exposure to one narrow set of expertise and limited experiences to reference, then we haven’t done our job. BME students are smart, hard-working, ambitious (and funny)—all they need to complete the package is the confidence of ownership and the curiosity to be intellectually engaged. ” Rather than worrying about whether breadth in BME will sell to employers, she recommends that students focus on “marketing” the relationship between interdisciplinary knowledge and collaborative problem solving skills. Fasse concludes, “We like that our graduates say PBL’s value to them is that they are ‘not afraid of anything’.”
Biotech Review compiled by Sarah Gonzales—Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department
Biofuel cell implanted in roach (Photo: American Chemical Society)
Journal of American Chemical Society Biofuel from Cockroach
Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University have recently created a biofuel cell converting energy from within the cockroaches into electricity. The energy comes from a series of enzymatic reactions during food digestion. In the breakdown of the sugar trehalose, electrons are released from the chemical bonds and are then picked up by the electrodes of the biofuel cell. Daniel Scherson, a chemist at Case Western Reserve University, commented on the investigation in which “energy stored [may be used] to control the neurological systems of [cockroaches]” toward possibly controlling them with joysticks or some external device. The fuel cell, placed in the abdomen of the female roach, could then be charged and recharged throughout the roach’s lifespan. The investigation could help reengineer the batteries of implantable devices, like pacemakers, to reduce battery replacement frequency, thus eliminating a costly invasive procedure.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)
Microsoft, GE Announce a ‘Caradigm’ Shift in Healthcare by Shiv Gaglani Microsoft Corp. and General Electronics Co. (GE) announced the creation of a new joint 50-50 venture called Caradigm. Caradigm promises to be “a paradigm shift in the delivery of care by enabling health systems and professionals to use real-time, system wide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience.” The new 750 person company will be officially unveiled at the HIMSS12 the year’s largest healthcare IT trade show in Las Vegas.
Molecule that can entangle itself in a specific sequence of DNA (Photo: University of Texas at Austin)
Tangled Up in DNA: New Molecule Has Potential to Help Treat Genetic Diseases and HIV A molecule has recently been synthesized at the University of Texas at Austin that entangles itself in bands of DNA so thoroughly that it takes up to 16 days for the double helix to extricate itself. This is longer than any other molecule known. Possible applications involve specifically targeting mutant DNA to halt the production and proliferation of tainted strands such as those in cancer stricken cells, and eventually working toward HIV.
Cellnovo’s new wireless glucometer (Photo: medGadget)
Cellnovo Launches Wireless Glucometer/Insulin Pump System by Gene Ostrovsky Integrating personal health administration with modern technologies, Cellnovo, a company operating out of London, has manufactured a smartphone system consisting of a glucometer, wireless insulin pump, activity monitor, and data transfer system. With the capability to share readings with family and personal physicians, the clinical status of a patient can be constantly monitored and viewed for one location. Physicians would be better equipped to diagnose and address problems, ultimately avoiding excess costs and unnecessary diagnoses.
Student Spotlight Mitesh Agrawal by Christine Hang Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department MITESH AGRAWAL, a third year undergraduate student in Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, had the unique opportunity to be the first BME student assigned to the Mars Analog Research Station (MARS) project, funded by NASA. The goal of the project was to simulate scientific research that would be performed by a six-person crew on Mars. The project was located in Hanksville, Utah, under isolated conditions, and is called the “hab” . The hab had minimal comforts, and thus Agrawal had first-hand experience preparing dehydrated food in a small kitchen-like area, similar to the ones scientific researchers would use on Mars. The project’s simulation crew included a commander, an executive officer to maintain the hab, a chief scientist for experimentation, a biological scientist, a radio scientist, a journalist to summarize the events of the day, a health officer, a crew engineer, and an astronomer. Agrawal took on the roles of both a biological and a radio scientist. A typical day included riding on terrain vehicles for exploration missions around the hab in the desert, collecting soil samples to inspect the gene sequence of soil bacteria via PCR, and mapping out geographic changes in the area. He also maintained the radio equipment to sustain communication amongst the participants within a one to two mile radius. On days six and seven of the project, a windstorm occurred, damaging the antenna communication system at the top of the mountain. As a result, the crew had to travel 200 to 300 feet above ground level wearing heavy spacesuit-like gear with poor ventilation while carrying radio equipment. This is similar to the physical difficulties a crew would encounter while in space. Agrawal believes that “BMEs are perfect for this [program]” due to the academic rigors provided by the Georgia Tech curriculum. From his experience, he learned special skills such as radio engineering and astronomy in a short amount of time. “A unique experience”, Agrawal shared that it “gives [one] a simple idea [of] how hard it is to live without the comforts.”
calendar March 1 Suddath Award Winner Presentation Investigation of altered signaling pathways in aging T cells using microfluidic platforms and computational modeling Catherine-Aurel Rivet (Kemp Lab) 2:30pm – IBB 1128 Shanthi V. Sitaraman Intestinal Pathology Symposium 8am – Petit Science Ctr, Georgia State University 7 GaP Seminar Series Ailia Gardezi (Kemp Lab) and Tanay Desai (Lieberman Lab) 12pm – IBB 1128 6 Career Planning for International Students 11am – Student Center Theater 8 BioE Seminar Series In Vitro modeling of Endothelial Cell Response to Wall Shear Stress Richard Leask, PhD - McGill University 11am – IBB 1128 13 Breakfast Club Seminar Series Measurement and Manipulation of DNA Looping Dynamics Harold Kim, PhD - Assistant Professor, School of Physics 8:30am – IBB 1128 13 Nano@Tech Seminar Series Delphine Dean, PhD - Clemson University 12 – Marcus Nanotechnology Building 13 2012 SEMDA Conference For Tech Transfer Pros, Researchers, Faculty, Students 2pm – Global Learning Center, Atlanta, GA 13 Stem Cell Engineering Center Seminar Series Katja Schenke-Layland, PhD 11am – Petit Institute 14 16th Annual Hilton Head Workshop 8am – Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, SC 15 NSF-Sponsored Minority Faculty Development Workshop Engineering Enterprise and Innovation 8am – Global Learning Center 18 BioE Seminar Series Biomechanical Stimulus for Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery Applications in Musculo-skeletal Tissues Dominique P. Pioletti, PhD - EPFL, Lausanne-Switzerland 11am – IBB 1128 22 BME Young Innovators Celeste Nelson - Princeton University 11am – Whitaker 1103 26 Nano@Tech Seminar Series Thomas "TJ" Beck - Institute for Electronics & Nanotechnology 12pm – Marcus Nanotechnology Building
BME undergraduate Mitesh Agrawal had the unique opportunity to participate in the MARS project. (Photo: Jacob Khouri)
28 GaP Seminar Series Chanchala Kaddi (Wang Lab) and Didi Eze (Milam Lab) 12pm – IBB 1128
(Photos: Fred Woo)
Professional Sourcing by Jaemin Sungâ€”Undergraduate Student in the Coulter Department FOR THOSE WITH INGENIOUS MINDS and an enthusiasm for designing medical devices, there are details that needs to be addressed in order to establish a strong business relationship with industrial suppliers. Here are some words of wisdom to abide by when ordering parts for an upcoming project: 1. Make a prototype before calling the suppliers. While it may be tempting to start building a device with materials and parts as early as possible, it is best
research needs to be done over utility tools because, unlike customer-grade tools, professional-grade tools are sold through a narrower market. 3. Enumerate the details for specifications of the order. When finalizing the design and analyzing the prototype, classify what kind of material will fit the perimeters of the design. The knowledge of the net shape and grade of material is essential to the success of a device; furthermore, the supplier will
relationships or referrals by other suppliers. It is also essential to be able to meet payments immediately. 6. When parts need to be built, one should inspect the vendor's facility first and examine their machines' capabilities and the vendors' mentalities. This step is a precautionary measure to take, to ensure that the engineerâ€™s expectations do not exceed the limitations imposed upon the vendors. It is advisable to withhold the
Sourcing raw materials is an integral part of manufacturing and is a process that is often underestimated. to build a paper model or a computerbased model using design programs like SolidWorksÂŽ. Having a working model will not only help identify critical design errors, but also prevent wasting money from a limited budget. 2. Do not overlook the quality of tools to be utilized. Most students hastily purchase tools without being familiar with the distinction between customergrade tools and professional-grade tools. For tasks that meticulous, such as welding or soldering, customer-grade tools may not suffice for the work. Prior
knock you back on your heels if you submit an order with no directives. 4. Do not rush the order. Acquiring the right raw materials, parts, and tools is more than just a process; it demands a sound decision and can save a significant portion of the overall cost of the venture. 5. Gain the industrial supplier's trust. Suppliers often have doubts and will be reluctant to deal with an engineer unless one can establish good terms with them from previous business
decision to invent something until one can ensure that shops are available to bring an idea to reality. On average, industrial suppliers have up to 500,000 parts to process within a time frame of two hours. Thus, an expedited order can only be delivered if students provide them with explicitly detailed orders and cooperate with them in a professional manner. Good communication skills, along with the aforementioned guidelines, will assist student inventors with their sourcing endeavors.