Jennifer Elisseeff

Jennifer Elisseeff

Biomedical Engineer
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD
Jennifer Elisseeff
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I am a professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. My lab works on designing new strategies for rebuilding and regenerating tissues in the body. We work on developing new biomaterials to help rebuild the tissue and study how stem cells can be used to make these new tissues. Being a professor, it is important to think not only of the basic science and engineering and teaching but also how your work will impact society and how you can make your research help people. As a child I always liked toys or projects that were scientific or engineering-related, but I started focusing more in middle school and high school on engineering science fair projects. I did research projects related to my father's area of research (he is a professor of engineering) and loved working in his lab after school. My short-term goal is to develop a productive research laboratory working to solve important medical problems using engineering. In the long term I would still like to be a professor but also start a company and get involved with science policy. The biggest challenge, balancing a career and family, is also the most fun and gratifying part of my life.

  • I am willing to host a field trip to my place of employment.
Answers by Jennifer Elisseeff

Dear Mikeala,  

Thank you for your question.  It is true that finding an academic job can be hard but it is easier to find one in a new field.  Departments are building around the country so there is more opportunity.  So you should think about the question - what will be the next new field!  Biomedical Engineering is definitely on the newer side but is there something else coming along?


Dear Samantha,  

Thank you for you question.  Balancing family and a job is always a challenge no matter what you choose.  However, it is also very rewarding.  There is no one recipe or single piece of advice on how to manage family and a job as a biomedical engineer as it is a very personal choice and balance but it is very important to have a great network of support!  

All the best, JE

Dear Fatemeh,  

Thank you for your question.  In fact, now PhD students have more options than ever.  While some of my PhD students have gone on to be Professors, there are also graduates that have gone to law school, business consulting, industry.  You have hopefully learned skills of independence, critical thinking, and discipline during your PhD that is known and respected in a number of fields.  There is even a program for scientists at the State Department.  Your degree has given you a great background to start your career - whatever path you choose.  

Best regards, JE

Dear Gopika,  You have many good questions.  In the early days of biomedical engineering, one had to major in a more traditional department because the field was not well known or well accepted.  Today, that is not the case anymore and you can major in biomedical engineering and people will know your degree.  Chemical engineering can be actually quite different than chemistry class in high school so i would still keep an open mind about it.  Other options you might like include materials science and engineering or mechanical engineering.  

I bet you are - or could easily be - more innovative than you think.  In college or before, take some design or design engineering classes - innovation is a process you can learn.  Also - take a class in something very different - innovation often occurs at the crossroads of fields or by taking an idea from somewhere and applying it to a new field.

As for classes - AP classes can be nice in getting a good start in college classes but the health sciences classes sounds different and therefore interesting.  I don't think you can go wrong either way so may be good time to take what you would enjoy the most!

Good luck!

This can be a tough question and there is no "right" answer. I will be biased in my response since music/instruments are an important part of my family's life and I believe in the many benefits of music in education, brain development, and overall creative thinking. The oboe is also a unique instrument that not many people play so it sets you apart. However, balancing activities is a lifelong challenge and you have to determine what is right for you. If possible, I would try not to give up the music, but keeping up grades and preparing yourself for the academic challenge is important.

Recently there was a career day at my school, i went into the function with 1 thing on my mind "i'm going to become a doctor" and left there with "what do i really want to become?''. I'm in the 9th grade, so this year i will pick my subjects to do for cxc. I researched and found that i could become biomedical engineer and later become a doctor, as a love science and math but i also love history and literature. I'm still not sure which branch of engineering i want to do or if i even want to do it all.

1) I would like to known how having a degree in biomedical engineering effects or betters an career as a doctor, as in will i have to start from scratch to become a doctor and some if the benefits of having a a degree in biomedical engineering, will i have to acqire additional cxc subjects as well as other information?

2) If i do become a biomedical engineer and then later decide to become a doctor which is the best field to go in that involves some aspects of biomedical engineering?

3) what is the difference between an electronic engineer and a electric engineer?

4) I love learning and discovering new things, as well as acquiring knowledge about stuff i did not know about before. I love to watch the history channel, discovery channel and AND national geographic channel. I like to draw but i can not draw very well.I love trying new things and what i'm asking is based on this information is engineering a good career for me to go into? If so suggest a field. If not what other careers might I be interested in?

1) BME is a great preparation for going to medical school. You will get some background in biology and chemistry and even some physiology in BME, all important for medicine. In addition you will learn critical thinking and problem solving skills that engineers use, which will make you a better doctor. You also have many other good options when you are finished with your degree so if you end up choosing something else that is OK too.

2) Most areas of BME have a pretty strong connection to medicine so you should take a number of classes in different areas of BME and see what you like best.

4) A love of learning will help you in anything/any field that you decide to choose!