Sameen Yusuf, GMU BS in BIOE, Fall 2017
My coursework at Mason built a foundation in engineering concepts; my experiences with Engineering World Health, MedX, MasonWHO, and research taught me about the vitality of contextualizing a technology’s potential impact throughout the design process.
One of the most impactful experiences was my senior design project — under the mentorship of Lance Liotta and Alessandra Luchini at the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM), I worked with a team of bioengineering students to address gaps in affordable, sensitive, and user-friendly diagnostic tests for deadly communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. I learned about point-of-care diagnostics, nanotechnology, and proteomics at the lab. However, I wanted to bridge the gap between our team and the patients we were ultimately trying to help. After graduation, I pursued a Fulbright U.S. Student Research Fellowship in Kathmandu, Nepal to conduct a user acceptability study for our technology. With the help of a local nonprofit, we interviewed about 200 active TB patients, community health workers, microbiologists, and physicians regarding our urinary TB test technology.
Post-Fulbright, I am a Data Analyst at Socially Determined, a DC startup that created the first platform for analyzing clinical, financial, and social data. We integrate social risk, clinical disease burden, utilization patterns, and demographic data to identify opportunities for intervention that will impact the populations our clients serve.
More than anything, I am grateful for my mentors and friends at Mason who have guided me towards experiences that align with my long-term goals.
“I found mentors and friends across multiple departments at Mason. Each individual helped me foster creativity and identify ways to integrate my interests across biomedical engineering, healthcare policy, and global health.”
— Sameen Yusuf, GMU BS in BIOE, Fall 2017
Forrest Bussler, GMU BS in BIOE, Summer 2017
General Engineer @ Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate
Volunteering in several Mason bioengineering labs, and then ultimately getting paid under the undergraduate research program, was an excellent opportunity to hone my critical thinking skills in independent research. Participating in Mason's OSCAR program was also an excellent opportunity to showcase my work to others and see what other undergraduates were doing in the research community. In regards to my current position, my two biomedical imaging classes were particularly important to understanding camera systems as well as how to perform image processing for various applications. Other particularly useful courses included Intro to Python and Data Analytics.
“Life is like a box of chocolates, make sure to read the back of the lid to pick the right flavor.”
— Forrest Bussler, GMU BS in BIOE, Summer 2017
Bobby Graham, GMU BS in BIOE, Spring 2016
After graduating from Mason Bioengineering in 2016, I moved to the University of Michigan where I’m pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. My doctoral research focuses on elucidating the physiological mechanisms of action of clinical neuromodulation therapies for chronic pain, using a combination of computational modeling and objective clinical measures of neural activity. After my PhD, my goal is to pursue postdoctoral studies in neuroscience and eventually apply for tenure-track faculty positions. While at Mason doing undergraduate research in Associate Professor Nathalia Peixoto’s Neural Engineering Lab was the most transformative experience of my career, and is primarily responsible for my success as a PhD student so far.
My senior design team worked in the Biomedical Imaging Lab under Professor Siddhartha Sikdar and Assistant Professor Parag Chitnis, where we developed a noninvasive method of determining the functional state of ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Throughout that project, I collaborated with neurosurgeon Mahesh Shenai on a project that could one day positively impact patients solidified my desire to work on clinically-relevant research. I was also a writing tutor for English instructor Ken Thompson’s English 101 and 202 courses for the Engineering and Business Living Learning Community students, which showed me that I enjoy mentoring and learning with other students. The combination of these experiences has ultimately pushed me towards a career in academia as a translational neural engineer. Mason’s awesome Bioengineering faculty, and the outstanding environment it fosters for undergraduate research, fully prepared me for my journey towards becoming an independent scientist.
“Mason's awesome Bioengineering faculty, and the outstanding environment it fosters for undergraduate research, fully prepared me for my journey towards becoming an independent scientist.”
— Bobby Graham, GMU BS in BIOE, Spring 2016