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Call for Award Nominations
Fri, July 8, 2016
In this talk, I will describe some of our work on nanomechanics of biological systems and design of medical devices for hospitals in resource poor countries. These may sound like very disparate areas. However, you may be surprised to see how well the skills students learn in one translate well to the other. Atomic Force Microscopy and high precision instrumentation are common tools for the basic sciences. We can use these systems to measure small-scale intermolecular forces and characterize the nano-structures of individual cellular components. These types of measurements help to build more accurate models of tissues and organs to predict behavior during disease and injury. Beyond the basic sciences, the same types of concepts and skills needed for nanoscience work can be applied to solve real-world engineering problems in resource poor hospitals today. Working with engineers and clinicians in Tanzania, our students have designed several novel solutions to problems they have seen in clinics. These range from infant warmers to ink-jet printed diabetes test supplies to basket woven neck braces. In addition, while in the hospitals, our students put their debugging skills to the test by helping to repair and maintain clinical devices and equipment. Experiences in the lab and in the field give students a rounded perspective on engineering and a clearer outlook on their future career paths.