Bioengineering

Designing a device as simple as a syringe can result in massive impacts on whole populations. This attracts me to Biomedical Engineering as the impact of changing technologies enables the ability to change vast numbers of people’s lives for the better and this inspires me.

A day at St Thomas’ Hospital first introduced me to the widespread applications of Bioengineering. The 3D imaging built from catheters and MRI impressed me as I realised how effective they were in aiding surgical planning due to the custom 3D printing of the patient's heart. As a result, I entered the National Physics Short Film Competition, collaborating closely with a classmate to create a video on the mechanics of MRI. This further reinforced my interest in the applications of engineering in healthcare. After this, I wanted to gain more first-hand exposure, so I have arranged to return to St Thomas’ in October. I am looking forward to continuing to see the real life impact their work has on patients.

I attended the Bioengineering Conference at Cambridge to learn more about current research. My interest was captured by the array of complex work ranging from machine-learning to biomechanically tailored mesh. During Sebastian Pattinson’s talk on wearable devices, the topic of biomimetics was mentioned, relating to a fabric that mimics properties of tendons. This encouraged me to read The Gecko’s Foot which talks about examples of Engineering found in nature, furthering my curiosity in understanding how biology and engineering intertwine. In particular, the formerly unobservable nature of the “nanorealm” was discussed, which emphasised how important engineered technology is in allowing new discoveries, as the SEM revealed the nanostructure of the gecko’s foot.

A topic that I would like to explore further is microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip. After reading an article on The Scientist about microfluidic chips at MIT, I went on to attend The Bioengineering Lecture at Imperial, further demonstrating the power of organ-on-chip technology. This especially interested me because they were able to link up ten organ tissues in order to model organ interactions more accurately, and to see the effects of certain drugs. This is a big improvement on using animals for preclinical testing as tissues used are not only from humans but can also be from the specific patient, reducing risk of rejection.

At the Smallpeice Biomedical Engineering course in Birmingham, I was able to work with new equipment such as pressure sensors and an Arduino. Operating a live x-ray machine with my own hands was a highlight and I was intrigued to learn about the mechanisms behind imaging machines, such as electromagnetic interactions. I also completed a Headstart Bioengineering course this summer. I decided to focus on minimally invasive ACL reconstruction surgery to provide treatment that would improve recovery in athletes. I enjoyed the learning style of a lecture followed by discussion, as we were given more independence for our projects. Being able to show our research to an audience demonstrated my confidence and presentation skills, as well as my ability to communicate ideas effectively.

My regular attendance to our school’s Stephen Hawking Society lectures has shown me the breadth of STEM fields, with many links to technologies in healthcare. I enjoy listening to online lectures, such as UCL lunch lectures, in order to broaden my awareness of recent advances in Bioengineering. My favourite lecture was Prometheus and I, which offered insight into the possibilities of tissue synthesis through STEM cells. Outside of school, I am working towards grade 8 piano, as well as being a part of a thriving Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team with training 3 times a week, demonstrating my commitment and perseverance to a goal.

I look forward to exploring the many different pathways within Bioengineering and I am excited at the prospect of joining such a dynamic field.

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Took a month for lots of drafts between an older sister, form tutor and finally a maths teacher.

Offers received:
Imperial
UCL
Uni of Leeds
Uni of Manchester ( Mech Eng Course)

Offers rejected:
Oxford

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