Master's Profile: Tushar Krishnan
Current Position: Associate in Research at Duke University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, India, 2013
BME Master’s Program Path: Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering, 2016
Why did you choose Duke for your graduate study?
The interdisciplinary nature of the program coupled with the flexibility in choosing coursework attracted me to Duke. In addition to that, Duke's stature as a pioneer in biomedical innovation and the strong collaborations between the BME department and Duke University Medical Center helped me decide that Duke was where I wanted to continue my education.
Why was the most valuable part of your Duke experience?
From a professional standpoint, the real world experience gained through some of the course projects was very valuable. These experiences included interacting with the different stakeholders in the lifecycle of a medical device – developing and testing prototypes of devices and tackling real-world problems. In addition to being a fun and compelling experience, it was also integral to making me a more technically adept and more complete biomedical engineer. From a personal standpoint, I would say my interactions with the diverse set of people from different cultures and walks of life at Duke is something I will always cherish.
What were the most useful courses you took at Duke?
BME 590 - Biomedical Device Innovations was a unique and helpful experience. It was a very holistic course on how to innovate in the medical device field, which will be useful as I advance professionally. Also, BME 590L - Intro to Finite Element Analysis, and BME 590 - Mobile Devices for Biomedical Engineering, were industry-oriented class projects that helped me learn skills that were beneficial, both during my internship and for my research project.
Please describe your project and internship in the MS BME program.
My research project, with my faculty adviser Tuan Vo-Dinh, was concerned with the development of a smartphone-based device that performed colorimetric analysis for rapid medical diagnostics. I was responsible for designing the device, building the app to manage the device, rapid prototyping of the device with 3D printing, and testing the device. The testing was performed with a colorimetric assay developed in the group that is used for analyzing nucleic acid biomarkers, especially biomarkers for cancer.
Tell us about your internship.
My internship was at Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) at their neuromodulation facility in Valencia, Calif. As an R&D intern, I focused on deep brain stimulation computational modeling. My work involved developing algorithms, building finite element models and analyzing them. It resulted in an accepted conference technical poster. The work was challenging and the environment at BSC was collaborative and stimulating.
What advice would you give to someone considering a master’s degree in BME at Duke?
There is a lot one can do while pursuing an master's degree in BME. Try to experience all the different aspects of biomedical engineering that the department offers through coursework, projects and research. If you are undecided about pursuing the thesis or project path for your degree, it’s OK to give it some time because you’ll eventually find something that excites you. I also encourage students to join a group/lab for research as soon as possible. Practical class projects and lab work make your profile stronger for industry opportunities.
And, socializing with fellow students over beer and soda outside on the Engineering Quad on Friday evenings is very relaxing, especially after a busy week!