Cutchis Gives Senior Capstone Lecture

University of Maryland alumnus Dr. Protagoras Cutchis (ECE and Physics '79, M.D. '83, and M.S. Physics '90) was the Senior Capstone invited guest lecturer November 28. Cutchis currently serves as the Principal Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. His lecture was titled "Medical Device Projects at JHU/APL: A Historical Perspective of Lessons Learned." Cutchis, who was recently selected as a 2006 Research Leader by Scientific American for his work with prosthetic limbs, shared his valuable experiences in engineering designs of medical devices with a full house of over 50 undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Previous lecturers this semester included representatives from Medtronic, Inc., one of the world's premier biomedical device companies. Jessica Pribik (a bioengineer specializing in business), Edward M. Sullivan (manager and company representative), Julia Russell (an engineer and personnel manager), and Terry Vithoulkas (an engineer specializing in cardiac devices ) presented "Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Technology (with Live Demonstration)", in which they described defibrillators, their design, efficacy, and benefit to people with heart disease.

The Department also hosted Mr. Thomas Brown, Esq., a senior lawyer from the WHDA Intellectual Property Law Firm in Washington, D.C. Brown's lecture, titled "Patent Process in Bioengineering," included activities, questions, and discussions. "I was very impressed with the students' enthusiasm, their insightful questions and their design projects," he wrote of the event.

Invited speakers have routinely been engaged with students above and beyond the scheduled lecture time, and have praised the quality of our bioengineering majors. Medtronic is interested in providing internship opportunities as a result.

The Senior Capstone Design class is a one year program in which students learn the design process by engaging in student-conceived engineering projects from concept to product. Each capstone design group receives individual mentorship from faculty, along with strong support from the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. The Senior Capstone experience is part of the Department's efforts to provide students with a comprehensive education in which they are exposed to invention, entrepreneurism, and commercial enterprises, with an emphasis on biomedical devices. "The lectures are really integrated with the course," Professor Yang Tao, who runs the Senior Capstone Design class, told us. "They mesh very well."

Related Story: Scientific American Names ECE Alumnus Cutchis Research Leader »

Published December 4, 2006