Materials Science/Biomedical Engineering
Works with the Stevens Group at the Imperial College, London
What year are you in?
I am currently in year 3 of my Ph.D at Imperial College London in Prof. Molly Stevens' Group (The Stevens Group - Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering, and Institute of Biomedical Engineering)
What do you think are the benefits of the dual degree?
The biomedical engineering discipline is a global multi-billion dollar industry and collaborates closely with materials engineers and scientists in the development of prosthetics, drug delivery systems, devices, implants, and so forth. A dual degree provides a logical and invaluable training platform to be prepared for work in multiple areas of biomedical technology. Engineering and science is a multidisciplinary field and the more overlap there is between disciplines, the more it allows you to expand your knowledge and gain experience to solve real-life problems. Additionally, it allows you to expand your network, which will be very important for your future endeavors.
What drew you to biomed and what do you love about biomed?
Whenever entering into any engineering or science discipline, I believe you need to have a strong interest in science and mathematics. Biomedical engineering provides the opportunity to directly influence the health and well being of the general public. This was one of the main factors that drew me to biomedical engineering, I was attracted to this humanistic component as well as the advanced technology currently being used worldwide. Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering is what I was most interested in during undergrad all the way to postgrad studies. There is a lot of opportunity for expansion, development, and improvement. Furthermore, biomedical engineers work with a broad range of professionals ranging from other engineering specialties, to laboratory scientists, to physicians and nurses. It is an exciting place to be because biomedical engineers deal with things like stem cell research, engineering artificial organs and limbs, nanotechnology, diseases such as cancer, all for the greater good.
What is your dream biomed/materials scientist job?
My dream biomedical/mats sci job is to conduct research for a company in the development of organs and limbs, particularly bones and articular cartilage that is grown from patient-specific stem cells, and to take that technology through to clinical trials and onto the market. Currently, in my Ph.D I am working on developing different scaffold systems combined with stem cells that mimic native articular cartilage tissue. It would be great to continue in this approach for my next job.
Any advice for high school students thinking of studying biomed?
To high school students thinking of studying biomedical engineering, I would say just follow your interests. Biomedical engineers and scientists are employed globally in industry, hospitals, research institutes, and even government regulatory agencies. There are a lot of exciting opportunities out there. You may be surprised by how far and where it can take you in this ever-growing field. You have the perfect opportunity to study a degree that has limitless exciting, challenging, and equally rewarding options. As such, I would highly recommend biomedical engineering to any high school students who are considering a well-rounded education in science and engineering.
If you could go back to high school and give yourself career advice, what would you say?
I would like to add that taking more mathematics and science-related courses in high school would certainly help ease the path to studying biomedical engineering, especially in the first year of undergrad.