BioENGINE Program Matches Bioengineering Students to Companies for Internships and Future Careers

Past Tides
February 9, 2018 By Wendy Wolfson

  The third annual cohort of the BioENGINE program at UCI Applied Innovation met with medical device, health care and digital health companies during “Evening with Industry,” an event co-organized by BioENGINE and CivicMinds Recruitment. In BioENGINE, students obtain hands-on experience in the technical and business development aspects of biomedical engineering as they work in teams to further develop UCI and/or company intellectual property into marketable products.
  BioENGINE partners with the UCI School of Medicine, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, the Beckman Laser Institute, UCI Athletics and UCI Applied Innovation, as well as representatives from local industries who comprise the BioENGINE Task Force. For more information, visit: innovation.uci.edu/programs/bioengine/
  According to Michelle Khine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and BioENGINE director, this year the program is open to all engineering students. Previously only biomedical engineering, chemical engineering and materials science students could participate. “We have strengthened ties with industry to get IP to create startup companies,” said Khine. “The first company out of BioENGINE got a $300,000 SBIR grant.” (Syntr Health Technologies received a phase I grant to develop a device for using stem cells to treat chronic diabetic foot ulcers). Event co-organizers included Gisela Lin, Ph.D., deputy director of the NSF Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM), as well as UCI Applied Innovation’s Sophia Lin, Ph.D, research translation specialist; Ron King, Ph.D., senior director, Research Translation Program; and Michael Artinger, Ph.D., managing director of the Research Translation Group.
  Nick Sachdeva, managing director at CivicMinds, a global recruitment company focusing on biomedical, healthcare and technology positions, and member of Orange County investing group Tech Coast Angels, introduced Gregory Washington, Ph.D., dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “You don’t have an event like this without vision,” said Washington. “Somebody had to predict years ago that you all are going to need this. The person primarily responsible is Michelle Khine. This program is unique, not just among UC programs, but programs across the country,” Washington quipped. “Nick is progressing in the leadership of Tech Coast Angels, so if you have great ideas, Nick is going to be able to fund them.”
  • Attendees recruiting students and post-docs included: Fiona Adair, Ph.D., VP of strategy and innovation at Beckman Coulter; Dirk Heckel, Ph.D., VP of R&D Innovation; and David Yang, Ph.D., principal innovation manager, Beckman Coulter, a $4.5 billion in-vitro diagnostics company. Adair described opportunities for graduating scientists and engineers, including the iDEAS program that selects six doctoral graduates who rotate through different parts of the company, as well as summer internships.
  • Shiva Sharareh, Ph.D., senior innovation leader, Halyard Health, described opportunities in the areas of preventing infection, reducing pain and speeding up recovery.
  • Chris Hoo, Ph.D., project engineer, and Marshall Meek, technical supervisor at 3M, are currently developing stronger and lighter soldier armor. 3M also has multiple divisions in Irvine including manufacturing and advanced materials.
  • Alex Garcia, senior R&D manager, described opportunities at Medtronic Neurovascular Division,which develops devices to aid recovery and mitigate the effects of stroke.
  • Vivian Khalil, director of regulatory and clinical affairs at Edwards Lifesciences, which creates heart valves and other cardiovascular devices.
  • Nathaniel Bischoff, advanced fellow in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIMed) at MI3 CHOC Children’s Hospital, was looking for interns for patient innovation projects.
  • Asad Abu-Tarif, Ph.D., VP of R&D at Midmark Corporation, a medical device company headquartered in Ohio, described opportunities in healthcare products, equipment and diagnostic software for medical, veterinary and dental markets.
  • Natasha Felsinger, engineering manager, simulation R&D at Applied Medical, brought a team of employees who were UCI alumni to the event to help recruit interns and more permanent employees.
  • Kirby Dotson, director of hardware engineering at Masimo Corporation, which develops pulse oxime-ters for blood oxygen monitoring, discussed opportunities at the company.
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