BME Design Fellows

An intensive design program for BME juniors

The Biomedical Engineering Fellows is an intensive design program for BME juniors interested in pursuing internships that will provide them with practical design experience.

The program, which spans three semesters and a summer session, will include a:

  • Half-credit BME 390S: Design Fundamentals
  • Guaranteed summer internship at either a BME-focused company in RTP or Duke University Hospital

Faculty advisOrs 

Mark PalmeriMark Palmeri
Associate Professor of the Practice
919-684-7015
mark.palmeri@duke.edu
Bio »

 

Libby BucholzElizabeth Bucholz
Assistant Professor of the Practice
(919) 684-2182
elizabeth.bucholz@duke.edu
Bio »

Academics

Students are required to take all three (3) semesters and complete the summer internship. The first course is a half-credit BME 390S Design Fundamentals class taken in the spring. In the fall, students will enroll in a two-semester design class of their choosing, including:BME 590L "Metabolic Networks & Design" (counts as an MC Area Elective of BME General Elective) in the fall, followed by BME 490L, "Biochemical Engineering Design" in the spring, which satisfies the design requirement. 

  • BME 590L "Metabolic Networks & Design" (counts as an MC Area Elective of BME General Elective) in the Fall, followed by BME 490L, "Biochemical Engineering Design" in the Spring, which satisfies the design requirement. 
  • BME590L, "Fundamentals of Engineering Design" in the Fall, followed by one of multiple design courses in the Spring. 
  • BME 432L Biomechanics and Vehicle Safety Engineering (typically offered in fall) 
  • BME 436L Biophoonics Instrumentation (typically offered in spring) 
  • BME 460L Devices for People with Disabilities (typically offered every term)
  • BME 462L Design for the Developing World (typically offered every term)
  • BME 464L Medical Instrument Design (typically offered in fall)
  • BME 490L Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering Design (offered occasionally)

Industry and Medical Center Opportunities 

Students have the opportunity to intern at biomedical engineering companies in Research Triangle Park (RTP), including: 

  • Blur Product Development 
  • Baebies 
  • EG-GILERO 
  • MicroElastic, Inc. 
  • FHI360
  • Stryker 
  • InnAVasc

Students have had opportunities to work in various departments within Duke University Hospital, including: 

  • Duke University School of Nursing 
  • Duke Plastic and Vascular Surgery 

How to Apply

The application becomes available in September. Fellows for the program are selected in the fall semester of their junior year.

Meet the inaugural Class of Fellows

Clark Bulleit

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program? 

I really gravitated towards this program because of the opportunity to work on real-world engineering problems. During my time at Duke, I have slowly moved from an interest in medicine to more traditional engineering. This program has allowed me to gain more of an insight into engineering outside of the classroom and skills necessary to operate in industry positions. 

What are your research interests?

This past semester I did some research into the applications of 3D printing in the creation of braces and other protective gear for football players. As a football player myself, it's interesting to work on improving devices that I interact with almost every day. I hope to use the techniques gained through this program to dive deeper into this topic. 

 

Howard Li

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program? 

The engineering program at Duke is really academic, and I've always wanted more hands-on experience to balance that out and subsequently apply the concepts I'm learning in the classroom. When I heard about the Design Fellows program, I felt that it was a great opportuntuy to learn how to use practical engineering tools like Solidworks and CAD to advance my engineering experience. 

What are your research interests?

I used to do conduct research with CRISPR, but since coming to college I've become more interested in innovative medical devices. The field of BME is growing, and technological advances in the industry are revolutionary. I really want to be able to work on the cutting-edge of this field.

What do you hope to gain from your industry internship? 

 I'm a big fan of human-cenetered design. Through my internship, I hope to learn more about medical industry so I can design better products that are more user-friendly and thus more useful.

Mary Zhang

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program? 

I was interested in gaining more industry skills, and I wanted to gain more knowledge about the engineering and design process. This program provided me with an opportunut to get in-depth, hands-on experience about what steps actually go in to designing and creating a device. 

What are your research interests?

I'm interested in studying neural pathways in the brain and how technologies and devices can be implemented to modulate these pathways to alleviate the effects of neurological diseases. I'm fascinated by how we're still teasing apart how specific pathways in the brain interact with each other and how we're improving the many new methods of interacting and stimulating the brain. 

What do you hope to gain from your industry internship? 

I hope to gain valuable experience in designing and building medical devices that can be implemented for the general public. I look forward to learning what it's like to work in an industry setting. 

Deepthi Nacharaju

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

BME Design Fellows was a great way to develop marketable skills that will be especially helpful after graduation, whether that involves graduate school or a job in industry. The program involves an internship experience and a small seminar class, which helped grow my engineering network both at Duke and in Raleigh. I wanted to translate the strategies and methods discussed in the classroom to real project-based experiences, and the BME Design Fellows was a great way to do just that. 

What are your industry interests?

I'm interested in medical device development, specifically in neural prosthetics and implant technology. This summer I will be interning for Blue Product Development, an engineering consulting firm in Raleigh, where I'll be learning about the process of taking a device from concept to market and the engineering development that takes place in between. 

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

I hope to gain a wide variety of experience relating to project planning, computer aided design, and software for medical technology. My senior year, I plan to develop an independent project guided largely by my industry experience and structured by my year-long design class. I also hope to have a better idea about what working in industry entails and how it varies from working as an engineer in research and academia. 

Olivia Gwynn

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

I became involved in the program because I believe it offers a great opportunity to have a better understanding of the job skills required for work in industry. I feel we are very well equipped to go into research and medicine once graduating with a BME degree from Duke, but I wanted more preparation to go into industry. I knew I wanted to get experience in the design and industrial side of engineering for future work purposes.  

What are your industry interests?

I am interested in biomechanics and biomaterials, as well as imaging-related fields and I would love to go into research and industry areas within these fields.  

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

The summer internship will be a great opportunity for me to apply the skills and I'm learning in the classroom to areas currently being researched and modified in industry. It will enable me to get a better understanding of how the mechanisms can be applied to real-world issues facing entrepreneurs in the medical and engineering industry. 

Lizbeth Leapo

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

I was interested in the BME Design Fellows because I wanted to be involved in more design and project-based learning. This program provides a great opportunity to develop new skills in design software and apply them in an industry setting.  

What are your industry interests?

At Duke, I've been involved in injury biomechanics and I am currently working on cancer drug delivery research in the Chilkoti lab. I have a particular interest in artificial organs and implant technology, and I am curious to see what the field of biomedical engineering looks like outside of the lab setting that I'm used to. 

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

I hope to gain experience in software development in medical device design. I also hope to work closely with clinicians to better understand how to implement new devices in a clinical environment. 

Ashish Vankara

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

As a rising junior, I felt as though I lacked the design experience integral to the engineering profession. All of my BME classes had been very theoretical up to that point, and I was eager to get some hands-on experience. 

What are your industry and research interests?

I'm very interested in the clinical applications of engineering. I also work on dCas9 mediated directed differentiation of stem cells in the Gersbach lab.

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

I'm excited to learn how to design a solution to a clincal problem and take it all the way from a design concept to a fully functional marketable product that improves the lives of patients and healthcare providers. 

Kayla Wright-Freeman

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

When I began to take classes that included general engineering or biomedical design, I realized a career path in innovation fit my interests better than the career path in research that I had previously been pursuing. I became involved with the BME Design Fellows Program because I knew that I would be able to acquire the skills needed to follow that path and would have many structured opportunities to explore that passion for design. 

What are your research interests?

I'm currently interested in neural engineering related to brain machine interface technology. I am particularly interested in neural disorders and neural pathways of vision. 

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

Through my internship, I hope to gain a strong foundation for biomedical design, a better understanding of what design entails in the "real world," and an opportunity to engage my creative thought process in a practical setting. 

Tyler Meathe

Why did you become involved with the BME Design Fellows Program?

When I first heard of the BME Design Fellows Program, I was instantly drawn to it. At Duke, we have plenty of research opportunities but not as many industry focused programs. This program will allow me to gain insight into the design process and become more industry ready when I enter the workforce.

What are your research interests? 

I am using my degree to focus in medical imaging as well as biomaterials and biomechanics. I am particularly interested in cardiology and would like to apply my education towards imaging the heart as well as creating better, longer-lasting heart valve replacements.

What do you hope to gain from your research internship? 

Helping others has always been at the forefront of my personal values and I want to use this experience so that I can gain a better understanding of the problems that patients and clinicians face. Understanding current shortcomings or difficulties will allow me to come up with solutions that can make their lives easier. I am eager to apply the knowledge and technical skills that I’ve learned in the classroom towards industry so that I can make a real impact in healthcare.