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Biomedical engineering research

Research with Impact

Research is an integral part of a Widener education, and thanks to close faculty mentorships our students are undertaking significant projects that can change lives.

As part of the Summer Research Program, biomedical engineering major Andrew Saylor worked alongside Assistant Professor Dr. Jonathan Akins on a prototype that helps identify optimal placement of sensors for an electronic prosthetic alignment tool.

“As it is now, anytime someone with a prosthesis needs an adjustment they would need to see a clinician, which would involve a series of tests to see where the fit is best,” explained Akins. “Our tool uses sensors in two directions to provide more consistent data for clinicians to more easily find the best fit.”

Akins along with his research team from the University of Pittsburgh, where he previously taught, submitted a provisional patent for the technology this summer.

Junior biochemistry major Ben Borokhovsky, who has his sights set on medical school, is among a small group of students who worked alongside Dr. Alexis Nagengast, associate professor of biochemistry and chemistry, to look at a splicing factor in fruit flies that may have implications down the road for fighting obesity.

“We are venturing into the unknown right here at Widener, and the potential applications of our work is so cool and life-changing,” said Borokhovsky.

But research opportunities at Widener are not limited to science and engineering. All summer long, students across all majors have collaborated with faculty to become leaders and innovators in their respective fields.

“The Summer Research Program creates a true learning community where our students can get to know students and faculty from other disciplines,” said Dr. Suzanne Mannes, assistant professor of psychology.

Mannes is currently working with senior psychology major Sascha Gruden to code and analyze data related to the comprehension of juror instructions.

“I think my students and I mutually benefit from our participation in the Summer Research Program,” said Mannes. “They help me stay on a timeline to complete my research, and they get opportunities to learn the research process and often present and publish our findings.”

Senior Shania Shaji and sophomore Gabrielle Gehron have already received invitations to present their research on a national stage.

Both engaged in biomedical engineering research in Assistant Professor Dr. Anita Singh’s lab over the summer. They will present their respective work in October at the National Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) annual meeting.

Shaji’s research was given the Best Undergraduate Design and Research Award by BMES. She will also be presenting her work at the Philadelphia Spine Research Symposium.