BME Design Fellows

An intensive design program for BME juniors & seniors

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:

  • Medical Device Design I & II (BME 473L/474L)
  • Advanced Design Elective

Faculty advisors

Mark Palmeri

Mark Palmeri

Professor of the Practice (Director and Program Founder)

Bio »

Eric Richardson

Eric S Richardson

Associate Professor of the Practice (Director of Design Health)

Bio »


In the spring of their junior year, students will enroll in Medical Device Design, a two-semester design class where students learn the general principles of electronic and mchanical computer aided design (CAD), printed circuit board (PCB) layout and fabrication, and electronic signal processing in hardware and with microcontrollers.  An example of a completed prototyping skills project can be found here.

Each student will design, construct and demonstrate a functional medical instrument based on a clinical need identified by a Duke University Medical Center clinician, and their device will be tested and iterated on through low-medium-high fidelity prototyping. Students will also be exposed to the FDA medical device clearance process. During their third semester, students can take a design elective of their choosing, including:

  • BME 547 Medical Software Design
  • BME 590 Quality Management Systems
  • BME 590 Reimbursement Medical Products
  • BME 590L Advanced Prototyping and Manufacturing
  • BME 590L Medical Electrical Equipment

Industry and Medical Center Opportunities 

Students can intern at biomedical engineering companies, both inside and outside Research Triangle Part (RTP), including:  

  • Blur Product Development 
  • Garmin
  • Stryker
  • InnAVasc
  • Edwards Lifesciences 
  • MicroElastic Ultrasound 
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • Pilleve 
  • LivaNova
  • Boundless Science

Students have had opportunities to design medical devices in various departments within Duke University Hospital, including: 

  • Duke University School of Nursing 
  • Duke Surgery
  • Duke Gastroenterology 
  • Duke Urology
  • Duke Neurology
  • Duke Pediatrics

How to Apply

Click here to apply for the Design Fellows program. 

Fellows for the program are selected in the fall semester of their junior year.


Read more about the BME Design Fellows the feature story from the Duke BME Magazine.

See a highlighted project on an mHealth Tympanometer that BME Design Fellows have worked on to help screen children for hearing loss in low-resource areas.


Class of 2019

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

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.  

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. 

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. 

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.