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Bioengineer shares her study experience

Verity Allum

The biology and materials knowledge I gained on this course has prepared me for my job

Verity, Alumni

Bioengineer, FitzBionics Limited at Fitzpatrick Referrals Limited

Biomedical, Biomechanics and Bioelectronics Engineering MSc - 2017

From UK

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated…

I am now a Bioengineer working for FitzBionics Limited at Fitzpatrick Referrals Limited.My job role involves designing custom and standard orthopaedic implants for a variety of different animals.

How would you say Brunel helped you to get where you are today?

My Master’s degree helped me obtain the position I now currently hold as it provided me with the biomedical knowledge that I did not get from my undergraduate degree. It helped me understand the materials, processes, technology and mathematics that are associated with biomedical engineering.

The biology and materials knowledge I gained on this course has prepared me for my new job, with information I would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. It also reinforced research skills, presentation skills and the ability to undertake and complete multiple tasks in short spaces of time.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I chose Brunel because it had a good reputation for engineering courses and it was close to home for me, meaning I would not have to move for a one year postgraduate course.

The course looked appropriate for my future career aspirations of medical device design and was a logical progression from my undergraduate degree in Product Design Engineering (from Loughborough University) to specialise in the biomedical sector.

How was your study experience?

I had a good study experience - there were a lot of contact hours during the week with small class numbers, meaning there was plenty of opportunity to interact with the lecturers.

I found the study very self-motivated, meaning if you wanted further assistance you would need to ask for it; if so, I am sure most of the lecturers would be willing to provide as much help as they could. Also, as the number of students taking the Biomedical Engineering course was relatively small, it was easy to get along with my peers and help each other throughout the course. We also consisted of a diverse number of nationalities, which was great to interact with people from all around the world whilst learning.

The course covered a wide range of information relevant to Biomedical Engineering from basic design principles, to an overview of human anatomy and physiology in the first semester. The second semester was extremely busy compared to the first, but this did allow everyone to adjust to the new subjects in the first semester and bring everyone up to the same level of knowledge. The second semester went deeper into my chosen areas of biomedical engineering and needed a lot of hard work and dedication to complete successfully - but everything I learnt was interesting and I could see how it would help me in my career aspirations.

I especially liked that the dissertation project was undertaken in semester three, after all the modules had been completed, allowing for a complete focus on the project. I had my own desk in the biomedical engineering department to complete this and a much quieter University overall as all the undergraduate students are away for the summer break. Therefore, concentration on the project was very easy and the biomedical engineering lecturers were never too far away if I needed a question answered. I prefer to work independently, so being left to get on with my project without too much direction was alright, and I also felt it further prepared me for working in industry as I will, at times, need to work on projects independently.

The lecturers were extremely knowledgeable in the subjects that they were teaching, and the enthusiasm for their subjects was clear to see and helped with the learning process. Most of the lecturers were very interactive during lectures due to the small class sizes, therefore if I had any questions they were easily addressed in the lectures and any further questions could be answered via email.

Tell us a little more about your dissertation project

My dissertation project involved working with medical professionals from Hillingdon Hospital. It was a project proposed to Brunel by the Obstetrics Department, so it was offered to all the students with all the other potential projects to take on. I applied for the project by contacting and visiting Hillingdon Hospital and was successful in obtaining the project. It was great working with real medical professionals (only 5 minutes from Brunel) as it gave real meaning and worth to the project. There was a mutual respect between the disciplines and it was a good feeling knowing the results of my project could potentially help in the future of their department.

The project was about the improvement of Cardiotocography machines. It was based around developing a new concept for monitoring foetal heart rates and wellbeing during labour, with the intention of reducing the number of still births and neurological damage in newborn babies. I chose this project specifically because it was more design based than research based, therefore it suited my product design engineering background and my future aspirations of medical device design. It also had tangible meaning behind it backed by real medical professionals, with the hands-on opportunity of developing and testing my own prototype. This project also had the potential to develop into a PhD study, however I chose to progress into employment rather than undertake the PhD. I do hope however that the project will at some point be continued to a PhD or further development by someone else, to make the concept and suggestions I made into a reality.

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

If you are hardworking and keen to progress in biomedical engineering, be it into industry or academic research, this course would be a great option to assist you in achieving your dream.