The Department of Biomedical Engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering welcomed students, judges and guests back May 2 for the first in-person BME Day since 2019. The celebration rounds out a year of learning with senior design competitions, research awards, faculty presentation and the Frank C.P. and Grace C. Yin Distinguished Lecture.
Student teams took part in the senior design competition, where they present projects addressing a biomedical problem that they designed during the yearlong capstone course.
“BME day is a great opportunity for our seniors to present their capstone design to the community, getting real-world feedback about their hard work,” said Joe Klaesner, professor of physical therapy and of radiology in the School of Medicine and senior lecturer of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering.
Carley DeGennaro, Julia Miller and Gillian Saperstein developed the first-place senior design project, Premature Infant Movement Analyzer, which measures the movements of premature infants to aid in a study designed to reduce stress levels of premature infants in the NICU by playing recordings of their mother’s voice.
“Winning first place felt very validating,” DeGennaro said. “To me, it is not only a reflection of the work put in over the past two semesters, but also all I have learned over the past four years.
“Because of the pandemic, we were only able to meet with our client virtually,” Miller said. “Having the opportunity to meet her and show her our final prototype in person was a rewarding experience, and it validated all of the hard work we put into the project over the past year.”
“I really enjoyed getting to talk about our project with the judges,” Saperstein said. “They had a lot of great input on how we could continue to develop and market the product.”
The second-place winners, Kirsten Drabek, Katie Gould and Alec Huang, developed the project titled Increasing Flexibility of Youth Fielding Gloves with the goal to help retain children’s interest and participation in baseball and softball by modifying fielding gloves. The third-place winners were Bhumika Gupta and Mohammad Hadji, creators of DiabetesNet, a technique that optimizes beta-islet cell transplantation with artificial intelligence.
BME Day also featured presentations by the department’s award-winning doctoral students and the New Faculty Presentation by Ismael Seáñez, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and of neurosurgery in the School of Medicine. Seáñez’s presentation, “Spinal Cord Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation and Studies in Motor Control,” discussed rehabilitative devices that promote the use of residual motor and sensory functions after injury and new research directions in his lab.
The day concluded with a presentation by Kyle Myers, the Frank C.P. and Grace C. Yin Distinguished Lecturer. Myers, former director of the Division of Imaging, Diagnostics, and Software Reliability for the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, presented her experience with innovations in image science and computation that can help in evaluating medical imaging systems and device development. Myers’s presentation also touched on the FDA’s innovation to stay ahead of imaging needs globally and in the United States.