I am currently an NDSEG fellow working on my PhD in biomedical engineering in the Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics Lab at Tufts University.
As an undergraduate at Tufts, I began to work under professor Fiorenzo Omenetto in early 2008 on applications of silk fibroin based nanophotonic devices. After completing my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, I elected to continue on towards my PhD. My current research efforts have shifted from photonics towards devices, specifically for the unique materials requirements at the biotic/abiotic interface.
The recently coined phrase “internet of things” marks a paradigm shift in thinking about human connectivity that has been gaining ground in both the communications industry and in popular culture. It describes a level of cross-talk between the sensors-actuators and computers pervasive in human environments that allow devices and people to work together to solve problems more efficiently. Of interest to the biomedical engineer are the implications of this concept for human health, where real-time wireless sensing of patient states allows for accurate data to be uploaded to the patient and doctor continuously, ensuring that an accurate and complete medical picture is available at all times. Realizing the “internet of things” for health will require the synergistic efforts of a large number of active research fields, including electronics, optics, materials, and medicine.
My goal as a researcher is to contribute to the large multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team that it will take to meet these difficult challenges, through design and implementation of materials platforms that integrate the soft curvilinear world of biology and medicine with the rigid planar one of electronics and optics. I hope that in the future, the collective work of many scientists will meet the goals of the internet of things, ushering in a new era of physiological understanding for our species, and point-of-care, individualized healthcare.