Choi Named 2012 Fischell Fellow

news story image

BioE graduate student and 2012 Fischell Fellow Mina Choi.

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) is pleased to announce Mina Choi as the recipient of the 2012 Fischell Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering. The annual award supports talented and innovative graduate students interested in applied research and product design in the biomedical industry.

Fischell Fellows are among the Clark School's best and brightest students, who not only exemplify outstanding academic achievement, but also department namesake Dr. Robert E. Fischell's (M.S. '53, physics) entrepreneurial spirit and drive to put life-changing technology into the hands of clinicians and patients around the world. Previous Fischell Fellows have gone on to patent and license their inventions, launch companies, and work for venture capital firms.

"When I first heard of bioengineering, I did not have the slightest clue what it entailed, " Choi admits. "I chose [it] because I like a good challenge and was attracted to the idea of job security upon graduation…But upon completion of more specialized biomedical courses…I began to appreciate how various sciences and mathematics fit together. I learned that the importance of biomedical engineering is to bring together these otherwise isolated subjects to solve practical problems in medicine."

Choi earned her B.S. in biomedical engineering and her M.S. in electrical engineering from The George Washington University (GWU). Her previous research experience includes a project that visualized the effects of violent computer games on the brain using EEG at Iowa State University; the design of a neonatal seizure detection algorithm in collaboration with neurologist Dr. Taeun Chang at the Children’s National Medical Center; modeling traumatic brain injury using high intensity focused ultrasound under the guidance of Dr. Vesna Zderic (GWU) and Dr. Matthew Myers (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]); and her masters thesis under Dr. Aldo Badano (FDA), measuring veiling glare in high-dynamic-range displays and in the human eye. After completing her M.S., she continued her work with Badano as an ORISE Fellow for two years before returning to graduate school.

Choi chose the Clark School and the Fischell Department of Bioengineering for their strong reputations and location near biomedical companies and government agencies.

"UMD has had a long-standing research relationship with…the FDA, and I was attracted to the idea that I could continue my current work [there] while networking for future opportunities…I was impressed by the research collaborations the school has with various companies. This potential to apply my studies and research to real-life applications was particularly appealing, and I believe UMD will prepare me to succeed in a rapidly growing and competitive field."

At the Clark School, Mina is interested in pursuing research in medical imaging and simulations. After earning her Ph.D., she would like to spend time in industry and try to launch her own company before returning to academia. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing guitar, gaming, hiking and travel. Her past trips include missions to assist dentists in Gambia and to farm and teach in Kyrgyzstan.

Published November 1, 2012