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Featured Alumni

Nicholas Huang, B.S., 2010

Nicholas Huang

You might think biomedical engineering research and symphonic music have nothing in common. You would be wrong; they have Nicholas Huang in common. Nicholas, a former biomedical engineering and music major is currrently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University.

I originally came to Rochester to study at the Eastman School of Music, says Nicholas, a native Montanan. But the University offered so much more than music; I'm interested in a wide scope of disciplines – I want to know how the mind works, how the brain functions. That′s what I like about BME– it combines everything I love learning about– neuroscience, audiology, and even music.

Nicholas' time at UR was spent working in Dr. Laurel Carney's lab on signal processing to help people with hearing loss, working on an auditory nerve model and processing strategy.

Erin Harner, M.S., 2008


Erin Harner recently received her master's degree from the UR BME program, and launched a new career as a health counselor focusing on nutrition. Although her training in cutting edge biomedical engineering may seem worlds away from her new business, Second Nature Wellness, she thinks her UR experience has helped her in many ways–both directly and indirectly.

During my time at the University of Rochester, I learned many life lessons that serve me everyday in my new career as a health and nutrition coach. There is so much confusion and misinformation in the field of health and nutrition, and I feel that my education in biomedical engineering and immense background in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and a systems-approach to the body help me to look beyond the new idea of the day and back to the science. I constantly ask myself, with everything I know, does this make sense? Being an independent thinker is extremely important, and I credit the UR with helping to cultivate that in me, says Erin.

Erin's story has been featured in the October 2010 issue of the Rochester Business Journal.

Laura (Katzenberger) Klebanow, B.S., 2005

Laura Klebanow

In September 2010, speaking to a standing-room only crowd, Laura Klebanow told students, faculty, and staff members about her education at the UR and her journey since receiving her undergraduate degree in BME in 2005.

While at the UR, Laura did an internship with Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates during summer breaks. Her research Project was Osseointegration –the direct structural and functional connection between ordered living bone and the surface of a load-carrying implant, and her senior design project was to design an Ergometer for individuals with various disabilities. The project won first place in the National Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center Competition for design of Accessible Medical Instrumentation. Laura than did a Take 5 by studying The Language of the Body Through Art in Florence, Italy.

In 2009 she became a Clinical Consultant for Touch Bionics and Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, and in 2010 she was promoted to Clinical Operations Director for Touch Bionics and Clinical Consultant for Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates. In this role, she manages seven North American Touch Life Centers (Columbus, New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Placerville) and a clinical team of ten including prosthetists and occupational therapists. She also participates in clinical grand rounds twice a month, treats patients in New York City and Palm Beach, and helps train orthopedic, hand and plastic surgeons; occupational and hand care therapists; and nurse case managers.

Christopher Kumar, B.S., 2003, M.S., 2008

Christopher Kumar

Christopher Kumar began his education with a B.S. in physics from a University in Burma. His journey to Rochester started at MCC, where he was one of the first to pursue the Two-and-Two program in conjunction with UR, receiving his B.S. in 2003 (advised by Dr. Amy Lerner). After he completed his B.S., he continued as a research technician in the Gdowski laboratory while he worked towards completing his M.S. in BME, which he received in 2008. Christopher has had a long standing interest in biomechanics, and during his graduate studies he also developed an interest in control theory.

Christopher is currently a science instructor at Monroe Community College, and has led his student design team to a first place finish at the American Society for Engineering Education's National Robotics Competition. Kumar′s student team, Tinkerballz, won the design title by creating a robot that could sort colored golf balls and deposit them in corresponding targets.

Says his former mentor and advisor, Greg Gdowski, One of the most rewarding aspects of being a faculty member is witnessing the success of a former student and colleague. Christopher is a hard-working individual with an engaging personality. Winning the ASEE National Robotics Competition is truly a remarkable accomplishment for Christopher. I couldn′t be more thrilled for him. When you see a student succeed who started without any of the usual advantages and had to earn everything, it is particularly rewarding because you know that it really came about from the heart. What makes this story special is that the students he trains are more or less following in his footsteps. I couldn′t think of a better role model.

Katie Bush, B.S., 2003

Katie Bush

In February 2011, former BME student Katie Bush visited Rochester to talk about her journey since graduating with a degree in BME with a concentration in chemical engineering. Katie completed her doctorate in February 2009 in Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA. Her thesis project entitled Designing Microfabricated Basal Lamina Analogs to Enhance Skin Regeneration at Worcester Polytechnic Institute was focused on developing a novel artificial skin substitute with enhanced tissue functionality by recapitulating features found in native skin into a collagenous biomaterial.

Currently, Katie is a Scientist at Connective Orthopaedics, Woburn, MA, leading biomaterial product development efforts in the advancement of soft tissue repair in the field of sports medicine. Her talk included a comprehensive review of her research and development activities there, as well as the rewards and difficulties of working as a biomedical engineer for an early stage medical device company that is in the process of transitioning a platform technology from an academic environment to the clinic.

Ian Schwartz, B.S., 2002, M.S., 2004

Ian Schwartz is currently a Process Development Engineer at ImmunoGen, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During my undergraduate experience I was able to do a lot of independent research, from freshman year patch clamping to junior year doing protein biochemistry to a senior year project in Jim McGrath's lab. This research lead to self-exploration, leading to my current career choice, says Ian.

David Levitz, B.S., 2002

David Levitz

After graduating from the UR in 2002, David received his Master's degree in 2004 from Lund University, Sweden in (atomic) physics, working in Peter Andersen's lab in the Optics and Plasma Research Department at Risø National Laboratory in Denmark. His thesis work involved developing a method to measure optical scattering properties from optical coherence tomography images of arterial tissues.

David continued his education at Oregon Health &apm; Science University from 2004-2010, obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical optics (BME), working in Steve Jacques' lab. His work here involved using the optical property measuring method developed during his Master's work to characterize matrix remodeling in engineered tissues.

Recently, David moved to Tel Aviv University (Funded by a Whitaker scholarship) where he is a postoctoral fellow in Israel Gannot's lab developing a dual optical-thermal imaging probe for studying inflammation in rabbit models of cardiovascular disease.

Shinikequa (Gibson) White, B.S., 2000

Shinikequa White

Shinikequa White is a 2000 graduate of our BME undergraduate program. While here in Rochester, she was the President of the National Society of Black Engineers, and Vice President of the Black Student Union, and concentrated in Biomechanics. After graduation, she worked as a product development engineer at Zimmer, Inc. before joining DePuy Spine in 2002. After several years designing spinal implants and instrumentation, she has transitioned to a role as Global Product Director at DePuy Mitek.

Throughout her career, she has continued her education, with several courses from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Suffolk University – Sawyer School of Management. In February 2012, Shinikequa returned to the university to discuss her professional journey beginning with her days as a UR BME student to her current role at DePuy.