Engineering Health Research

Engineering health is about using the power
of modern computing, modern sensors, modern distributed processing so that instead of
reacting to illness after it has happened, we can predict when illness is going to happen
and intervene to prevent it. And that’s going to change everything. To combine the expertise in bio, nano, and neuro engineering we have a theme area – engineering health. Engineering health is designing systems that improve the quality of humans lives. Engineering health at ISE in SICE is unique from this perspective of having computing and physical engineering
integrated in a very natural way right at its inception to design new materials, to
design new biological constructs and new biomedical applications. You can make advances
with people focusing on the narrow, specialized building blocks and you have tons of that
going on throughout the field, but what is often missing is the unique role that we play
is to try to integrate these pieces into a bigger vision. Using very simple engineering
solutions to solve the most important problems. If I can solve one problem – fantastic, but
if I can help 100 people solve problems that’s phenomenal and that’s what I’m aiming for. We’re going from an era of mass production of medicine to an era of customization of medicine. More and more we’re finding that everything that I thought was science fiction
– I go and talk to someone at UC San Diego or Johns Hopkins or MIT and say oh yeah we can totally do that. That’s no problem at all. We just didn’t know we should have and
that’s where my modeling fits in. There are individual efforts that are being led here
that are unique or the first or second attempt anywhere to do this type of thing. We have people working in wet labs with zebra fish. We have people working with human patients. We have people doing medical interventions. We have people building organs on a chip.
We have people who are building specific sensors. We have people doing data processing and image
processing. I’m able to partner in projects with people who can fabricate electronics in a way that I never would have access to outside of maybe three or four places on the
planet and this is one of them. We are sort of a collection of faculty that have a wide
range of expertise. So, we have experts who got their training in physics, chemical engineering,
materials engineering, applied physics, bio and chemistry, bioengineering, biology. We have a shared language and a shared goal even though we’re coming from so many different points of view. I have access to expertise with artificial intelligence and machine learning and data science because of the diversity that exists within informatics, computing,
and engineering in the school. I work really closely with students, both undergraduate and graduate. You’re having a leader in the field actually take your idea from its sort of infantile stage to something that’s realizable and publishable and of scientific merit. Professors have actively
guided me and helped me accomplish my ideas and that’s something really special. I think people who are working in this area, myself included, do this because they want to help people, but you can make an impact if you’re just interested in the tool sets or applying these tools to solve problems. I love science. I love coming in every day, seeing new results. Curiosity drives me. One of the most exciting things about my work has been to see that it might actually improve a much larger community than just the people that I see in my lab. You can model things at the nanoscale and you can solve problems at the nanoscale, but have the long term vision that it will actually impact at the human scale. I’m excited that I have the opportunity to practice these lab skills that I’ll no doubt take far into my
career as a physician. My training at IU has given me an opportunity to, hopefully, use the power that we’ve been given, that we’ve developed by ourselves with technology and leverage that in health care. By plunging into a problem where you’re helping others you’re learning a lot of skills to help yourself and by developing skills that help yourself you can contribute
back to those problems and help other people. We care about things that go out in the world and change people’s lives.

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