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Applying Biology to Engineering – Sarani Chatterjee

My favorite subject, throughout my school career, has always been biology. I have been fascinated with intricacies of the human body ever since my first biology class in high school. Attending Oregon State University has given me the opportunity to explore my interest in science by understanding how biology could be applied to engineering. Applying biology to engineering principles pushed me to try the bioengineering program at OSU. Since then, I have greatly enjoyed learning about how we can integrate common biological principles to create medical devices, prostheses and novel drug manufacturing techniques to help the public and assuage the pains of the injured.

I have grown to understand the detailed implications behind designing implanted medical devices, through my research work in Dr. Ravi Balasubramanian’s Robotics and Human Control Systems Laboratory. This lab is a mechanical engineering lab with bioengineering applications. While taking classes and working on my bachelor’s degree in bioengineering, I have also been working in this lab to gain software skills in MATLAB, OptiTrack, Inkscape and LATEX. I have additionally gained skills in communicating my work with my peers during weekly meetings, and writing professional engineering papers, which have been submitted to the American Society of Biomechanics. My experience working in this lab will help me succeed in future bioengineering research labs, and it will help me excel in my bioengineering career.

This summer, I had the opportunity to present my work at the 7th World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston, Massachusetts. I had the pleasure of meeting other bioengineers and mechanical engineers from around the world. I was also privileged to be able to participate in the student poster presentations. The experience to listen to other researchers in this field was truly inspiring. The most interesting talk that I attended was research behind the development of tissue-engineered aortic valves. These valves had the ability to function with limited inflammation and limited leakage in short-term clinical trials. I just thought it was amazing to be able to witness such great scientific and medical advancements that would change the way we perceive medicine and treatment.

I would not have been able to experience this conference if it weren’t for the Honors College Experience Scholarship. I am very grateful for the experience and the opportunity. Participating in the biomechanics conference was a rewarding experience. I am thankful to the Honors College for providing great funding options to students.

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