The doctor is in: UH engineering students find medical mentors

HOUSTON, Aug. 12, 2005 In a joint effort with The Methodist Hospital (TMH) in the Texas Medical Center, University of Houston biomedical engineering students have been gaining exposure to career possibilities in the medical field.

Initiated by Dr. Mike Lieberman, director of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, this program provides summer internships for students in biomedical engineering, each of whom is assigned a mentor and given a $5,000 stipend. In its inaugural year, the program allows the interns to take a participatory role in their mentors' research, covering topics such as hematopathology that deals with blood diseases, neurointerventional radiology that is dedicated to central nervous system vascular diseases and endovascular radiology that looks at arteries and veins from the inside.

This summer, interns will be working in the labs of pathologists, neurologists, radiologists, cardiologists and neurosurgeons. Of the program's eight participants, five are UH undergraduate students David Wallace-Bradley, Eugene Chaung, Nilou Ebrahimi, David Panthagani and Alina Raza.

"I have always been interested in medicine, but endovascular radiology was something I hadn't been exposed to," Ebrahimi said. "The best part of this is becoming familiar with the different fields of biomedical engineering. All of us who are interns see now that there are so many different fields we can go into and still use our engineering knowledge to solve problems."

Additionally, what students are learning in their respective labs at TMH can be directly applied in a classroom setting. Matthew Franchek, a mechanical engineering professor and director of UH's biomedical engineering program, likens the complementary learning to being enrolled in two universities.

"In our biomedical engineering program, the goal is a student-centered experience, and this is what we're doing," Franchek said. "At UH, students are learning the

Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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