Biomedical engineering graduate student experiences life outside of US through summer programs

Durkee6.JPGA graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University has recently been able to travel the world, thanks to her successes here at Texas A&M. Madeleine Durkee, research assistant and doctoral candidate, was selected to participate in multiple events over the summer.

Durkee began her doctoral program at Texas A&M in the fall of 2013. Currently, she works under the direction of Dr. Kristen Maitland, associate professor in the biomedical engineering department at Texas A&M. Within Maitland’s Biomedical Optics lab, Durkee is working to understand and detect harmful bacteria within live animals through the use of an optical imaging system. She uses simulations of the system and physiology to improve the optical system to detect bacteria.

As a graduate teaching fellow, Durkee had funding that afforded her the opportunity to teach biomedical engineering courses in Germany. Durkee notes that her teaching experience was very important because she had not taught on such a personal basis prior to her studies abroad. Durkee taught to a small group of students, which is quite the opposite of the 130 students that are enrolled in a standard introduction level course.

In addition to teaching in Germany, Durkee also worked for a startup company called enmodes GmbH based out of Aachen, Germany. The company was an industry partner for a design project associated with one of the courses Durkee was teaching.

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“Working with enmodes was my first experience working with a company. All of my experience before that point was strictly in research and it was great to see the inner workings of a company,” said Durkee. “That kind of exposure will absolutely make me a better professor. It helped shaped my understanding of the field and market for biomedical devices.”

In addition to teaching in Germany, Durkee travelled to the island of Ven in Sweden to attend a graduate summer school on biophotonics and gave an oral presentation at the European Conference for Biomedical Optics (ECBO) in Munich, Germany.

“The biophotonics summer school was one of the best technical and best networking events I have ever attended,” said Durkee. “The top names in the field were presenting on both fundamental and cutting edge research.”

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