Kristianna doing the signature Edwards’ heart hand sign outside on of the testing labs
Kristianna Jones is a biomedical engineering student at the University of Arkansas. During the summer of 2018, she was a Quality Engineering Intern for Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, California. Below, she describes what a typical day was like, what surprised and impressed her, and what she took away from the internship:
This past summer I was fortunate enough to work as a Quality Engineering intern on the Pilot Operations team with Edwards Lifesciences! I got this amazing opportunity from attending the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 44th National Convention this past March. My internship lasted for 10 weeks, May 21st through August 3rd, in Irvine, California and every day was like a brand-new adventure. Of course, working for one of the top medical device companies seemed a little nerve-wracking at first, but I was honestly a lot more prepared for industry than I originally thought.
Kristianna Jones outside the Irvine Campus during her first week at her internship
As a quality engineering intern, I got to experience how they ensure the safety of each product before it was sent to the market. I learned how thorough the process is—from checking the quality of the raw goods to the checks built into the manufacturing process to the final inspections and tests conducted after the product is completed, everything is truly done with a “Patients First” mindset.
A typical day for me started at 7:30am with the daily manufacturing meeting. Even though I’m not a morning person at all, I always found these meetings interesting and insightful because I was able to get a quick overview on ALL of the transcatheter heart valve (THV) products, not just the one I was supporting. Besides the morning meeting, two days never really looked the same. One day, I even got to be a surgeon and implant an aortic valve into a pig heart! My manager was mostly hands-off besides our weekly one-on-ones, so I decided what I did on a daily basis and that just depended on what projects I needed to work on that day.
Gabe Moore is a senior studying biomedical engineering, and also a highly successful student athlete. Below, he discusses what drew him to biomedical engineering, how he balances schoolwork and athletics, the ways in which biomedical engineering and track and field complement one another, and more.
UArk BME: Did you always know you wanted to study biomedical engineering?
Moore: I have always loved learning about the human body and solving problems. I didn’t know I wanted to study biomedical engineering in particular, but when I found out it was a relatively new major at the University of Arkansas, I wanted to enroll right away.
UArk BME: What drew you to the University of Arkansas?
Moore: I began talking to the track coaches in high school and visited campus a few times for track meets. I love the location and atmosphere of the University, along with the track team’s great tradition and success. Track was important, but academics were the main focus, so I made sure the University had the major I wanted to study. Luckily they did, so it made attending the University an easy decision!
Tasha Repella snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef with a large wrasse fish
Tasha Repella is a biomedical engineering student at the University of Arkansas. In early 2018, she spent five months studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. Below, she reflects on her experiences and discusses what she’s learned:
A year ago, if someone had told me I would be sitting in Sydney, Australia, writing about the last five months I spent in one of the most beautiful countries, I wouldn’t dare believe them. Looking back at this semester, I am so humbled by such an incredible opportunity I was given and the valuable lessons that helped shape me.
Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons there are opposite from the U.S., so their school year doesn’t begin until March, which is late summer for them. So at the end of February, I took a leap of faith, and I boarded a plane headed for Sydney. I was thrilled, but the nerves also stuck with me. While I have grown up with a deep love for travel, I knew that leaving the comfort of my Fayetteville community of three years would be tough, but it was the best thing I have ever done.
We are excited to welcome Dr. Christopher Nelson to the University of Arkansas Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Nelson will join the department as an assistant professor in June 2019.
Dr. Nelson completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Engineering at the University of Arkansas, and his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Nelson is currently pursuing research at Duke University supported by The Hartwell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).
Dr. Nelson’s primary research interests are in developing new technologies for therapeutic genome engineering. Previously, he has developed biomaterial-based platforms for drug and gene delivery including a nanoparticle for systemic siRNA administration (ACS Nano 2013) and a multifunctional scaffold for local gene silencing for regenerative medicine (Advanced Materials 2014). More recently, he has applied a genome engineering approach to treat the genetic basis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in vivo (Science 2016). Dr. Nelson now plans to apply gene and drug delivery to genome engineering to create precision molecular therapies, study regenerative medicine, and interrogate gene function and regulation.
Welcome, Dr. Nelson!
Brandon Moritz with the translators he worked with in Haiti
Brandon Moritz is a biomedical engineering student at the University of Arkansas. During the summer of 2017, he spent three months as a Medical Intern with Mission of Hope, Haiti. Below, he describes the experience and discusses what he learned:
This past summer I had the opportunity to live and serve in Haiti for three months. I was hired as a Medical Intern with Mission of Hope, Haiti to assist with operations and execution of their healthcare system in the region. Along with other Medical Interns and our Mobile Medical Clinic Director, Lauren Raschke, we led doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals from all over North America in providing healthcare to 18 different villages in our region of Haiti. We saw 5,400 people in the region through mobile clinics alone during my time there.
Moritz working in the pharmacy during a mobile clinic
I also was able to use my biomedical engineering knowledge to assist our Haitian prosthetist in the Prosthetics of Hope lab. Some men and women came in who still hadn’t walked since the devastating earthquake that occurred back in 2010 that cost them their leg, but some of my most rewarding work came from seeing people who hadn’t walked in years be able to take their first steps without the assistance of a crutch for the first time.
Congratulations to Dr. Kartik Balachandran and Dr. Timothy Muldoon, who were each recently promoted to Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering with tenure. Both Dr. Muldoon and Dr. Balachandran have been with the UArk Biomedical Engineering Department since its inception, and both are celebrated mentors, teachers, and researchers within the Department.