Biomedical Engineer – Careers in Science and Engineering


[ANNCR] SHE RUNS
A RESEARCH LAB. SHE TEACHES AT A UNIVERSITY. AND SHE’S A CO-FOUNDER OF A
NANOTECHNOLOGIES COMPANY. [ANNCR] LIVING BY THE
WISDOM OF YODA, BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER MICHELLE KHINE IS
ALL ABOUT EMBRACING LIFE. The problems that we work on,
these are important problems. There is a possibility that we
can really make a huge impact
on, on people’s lives. That, you know, that’s
a great motivator. [ANNCR] BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS
LIKE MICHELLE COMBINE BIOLOGY, MEDICINE AND ENGINEERING TO
DESIGN AND DEVELOP NEW EQUIPMENT AND METHODS THAT IMPROVE THE
QUALITY OF HUMAN HEALTH AND
LIFE. THEY DESIGN EVERYTHING
FROM SURGICAL DEVICES, PROSTHETICS AND
ARTIFICIAL ORGANS, TO SYSTEMS FOR MEDICAL
IMAGING, PATIENT MONITORING,
AND DIAGNOSING DISEASE. THEY ALSO DEVELOP NEW MEDICAL
PROCEDURES, AND RESEARCH
SOLUTIONS TO CLINICAL PROBLEMS. I get to teach and work
with students, and work
at a university, and I also get to
have a company on the side, and work with
industry, so I feel like it’s
the best of all worlds. Yeah it worked really well and
I’m looking forward to getting
this into the hands of students
and researchers [ANNCR] MICHELLE HAS PIONEERED ADVANCEMENTS IN MANUFACTURING
MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC CHIPS. A NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT
MINIATURIZES LAB
TESTING INITIALLY, THE CHIPS WHICH
CONTAIN MICROFLUIDIC CHANNELS FOR MOVING FLUID THROUGH A
SERIES OF LAB TESTS REQUIRED VERY EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT, AND TOOK A LONG TIME TO MAKE. REMEMBERING HER FAVORITE
CHILDHOOD CRAFT, MICHELLE
GOT A CRAZY IDEA. So I was playing as I
usually do, in my kitchen one night, and I realized that
if I took Shrinky Dinks, and I patterned onto the
Shrinky Dinks, when they
shrink down, um I could use the features on the
Shrinky Dinks to create
my micro fluidic chips. These are pre-stressed
thermal plastic sheets. So you can imagine it’s
sort of like a rubber band that’s stretched out and
then frozen down right? So when you heat them up,
the polymer chains relax,
and they go back to their relaxed state,
so they shrink back. To be perfectly honest, it was
really hard in the beginning. I came up with this idea, and we
published, you know I tried to convince my students to use
a children’s toy for their science, and they were like,
people are gonna laugh at us. [ANNCR] BUT PEOPLE
DIDN’T LAUGH. THE INVENTION WENT VIRAL ON
THE INTERNET AND CATAPULTED MICHELLE INTO THE SPOTLIGHT.
SCIENTISTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WERE NOW INTERESTED IN
MICHELLE’S “LAB-ON-A-CHIP” If I treat one patient I can
treat that patient, but if
you come up with a medical invention… a technology
that can save hundreds of
thousands of lives at once, that’s you know, that
would be really cool So this small size here
is 1.5 microns, um, the width of your human
hair is about 150 microns. So this is about 1/100th,
the size is 1/100th of
the width of your hair. [ANNCR] MICHELLE AND HER
RESEARCH TEAM HAVE ALSO
BEEN WORKING ON WAYS TO GROW EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
INTO HEART MUSCLE CELLS. And then once we create
these cardio myocytes,
we need to figure out how to maturate them so that
they’re functional heart cells. A day in the life of me. I usually play soccer with
my dog in the morning, and
then I walk to work. I come in and I work with the
students, and uhh, we work on
coming up with a new crazy ideas, and writing papers
and working on grants. Uhh, I have a company
on the side, so I work
with the company also; we’re trying to commercialize
our first 2 products this year. [ANNCR] AS SCIENTIFIC FOUNDER
AND A MEMBER OF SHRINK NANOTECHOLOGIES SCIENTIFIC
ADVISORY BOARD, MICHELLE HELPS RESEARCH AND DEVELOP NEW
BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES AND
PRODUCTS. SHE ALSO LOOKS AT WAYS TO
IMPROVE AND EXPAND THE BENEFITS OF EXISTING
PRODUCT LINES. I like to tell people that
um I make accessories. Um,
I’m still a girl (laughs). A big part of my lab is focused
on developing point of care diagnostic devices our
goal is to be able to
bring really inexpensive plastic chips to the developing
world, so that we can detect and therefore treat
infectious diseases, umm early
on. We’re meeting with the chair of
the pediatrics department at the medical school here, because
he’s very interested in bringing these technologies
to the real world. [Feizal] And so if you can even
have a screening test that can
be done at the bedside. [Michelle] Uh huh. It’s a neat job because
you don’t check in in the morning with somebody, you
don’t check out, right? You decide what problems are
important to you, you work on those problems and
you police yourself. [ANNCR] LIKE MANY ENGINEERS,
MICHELLE TENDS TO THINK
ABOUT HER WORK 24/7, SO SHE STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE
OF BALANCE IN HER LIFE. I love to play. I also
discovered a new sport
called Acro Yoga, which is basically two person yoga, and
you can do, you know, flips and
aerials and, it’s really fun. I used to be in,
big into biking. we built a human powered vehicle
when I was um, at Berkeley. [ANNCR] IN FACT, MICHELLE HOLDS
A LAND SPEED WORLD RECORD FOR A BIKE SHE HELPED DESIGN AND
BUILD IN GRAD SCHOOL. Being able to
really have the conviction to carry it thru to
the end, knowing that it might not work is, is very difficult, I think I’m an optimist at
heart, and so that, that
kinda keeps me going. It feels like a cooking show. [ANNCR] MICHELLE HOLDS A
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE AND MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, AND
A PHD IN BIOENGINEERING. I decided to become an
engineer because I was really bad at math and science.
And I thought that if I studied hard enough, and I worked on it
enough, that I’d get good at it, so I did a summer internship in biomedical
engineering when I was
15, and I loved it. It’s hands on, it’s real
world, you feel like you’re,
you’re making a difference, you’re not solving
problems that other people
have solved before, these are brand new problems
that people need answers to.
And that’s cool. [ANNCR] BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERS WORK IN HOSPITALS, UNIVERSITIES,
INDUSTRY AND LABORATORIES. THEY WORK WITH PHYSICAL
SCIENTISTS AND
ENGINEERS, CLINICIANS, LIFE SCIENTISTS, CHEMISTS
AND MEDICAL SCIENTISTS. I think biomedical engineering
is extremely collaborative. And I think that’s what
I love best about it. [Michelle] What is that?
Have you ever seen that
deposit on metals before? [Shimizu] On that scale, no. [Michelle] It’s this culture of
working together and and talking with each other, and
coming up with new ideas, and forming these collaborations,
even if they’re on the other side of the world, your
world feels very close… you don’t feel isolated at all. It’s been a great ride. It’s far exceeded any
expectation or dream I could
have had. It’s um, it’s been really fun. I’ve gotten to go, uh, give
talks, at really cool places‚, “Vancouver” “Hong
Kong” “the Caribbean”. I was invited to MIT for,
for the TR 35 award, which
was really exciting for me. it’s been amazing. I was real fortunate to have
gone into biomedical
engineering. I can’t imagine a better
job in the world.

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