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  • posted by brianne from chatham on November 30, 2012

    While an engineer, there are several things that really thrilled me, so to select one best thing is not easy. Recently, my engineering research led to the application of infrared imaging (a camera measuring temperature on the body) to a few interesting medical problems:

    1. The camera can 'see' pain by looking at temperatures on the body that are not symmetrical. For example, in the legs or on the back, a cold or hot spot on one side would indicate less blood irrigation or a nerve route irritation.
    2. We can also identify if people have rheumatoid arthritis by measuring temperature of the knuckles. Other joints also show the presence of RA such as knees, ankles, elbows.
    3. Babies who develop NEC (Necrotising entero-colitis, which is an inflammation of the bowel which can be severe enough to cause death in premature infants.) We can actually measure temperature inequalities of the belly and identify babies who have and those who have not developed NEC.

    My students and I have many other projects that are as exciting. Biomedical engineering is a very exciting field with many new developments using robotics, nanotechnology, genetics, etc...

    Good luck with your studies and choice of career.

    Monique Frize

  • Dear Emily, as a biomedical engineer, I work on medical problems every day. Examples are: developing decision-aid systems that predict complications for newborn babies in critical care units, assessing the level of rheumatoid arthritis in patients using infrared cameras (that measure temperature, therefore level of inflammation), and seeing if the treatments are working. In 30 years, I have never had a boring day. You can combine engineering with medicine by doing a bachelor in biomedical engineering or doing an engineering undergraduate degree in electrical, computer or mechanical engineering, then a Master's degree in biomedical engineering. Many universities offer these programs. As for math and science: Engineering uses math and science to solve problems, so it is a good idea to study these subjects. One does not have to be a genius at these topics, but get a solid base to be able to work on problems. As an engineer, the math and science are not in my face every day. Mostly I use softwares and techniques that already exist and plan experiments that will answer a research question, analyse the results and make decisions on future development. Your mom is right, you seem to have what it takes to become an engineer. The main thing is to have a goal and go for it the best you can. Best wishes for a successful career! Monique Frize, P. Eng., O.C. Professor and researcher, Biomedical engineering Carleton University and University of Ottawa
  • Undergraduate programs differ with each College and University. Some of them offer a degree in biomedical with another major possible, others with a minor, and others just the main program of biomedical engineering. An example is Drexel University in Philadelphia. In Canada, (as at Carleton and University of Ottawa) students normally get a degree in biomedical engineering combined with a major such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or chemical engineering. Since biomedical programs contain a fair amount of physiology, medical devices, etc.. I think it is important to have a strong base in either an engineering discipline like electrical (which is my major) for focusing on medical devices; or mechanical if one is interested in rehabilitation and aids for the disabled. Computer science or computer engineering would provide a good background for medical informatics. So I suggest you look at the programs from a few colleges you are interested to apply to and decide how the program combines with your interests. Best wishes for a successful and satisfying career! Prof. Monique Frize, P. Eng., O.C. Carleton University and University of Ottawa
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