The Biomedical Engineering Master’s program at the TU/e offers an attractive curriculum and the opportunity to do an internship either in academia or industry.Gabriela Belsley, student
Student Biomedical Engineering with the specialization Medical Image Analysis.
Why did you choose this Master?
The Biomedical Engineering Master’s program at the TU/e offers an attractive curriculum and the opportunity to do an internship either in academia or industry. After analyzing other Master’s programs in Europe, I came to the conclusion that the TU/e’s BME Master’s program was the best fit for my academic interests. The fact that the TU/e is one of the few places which has a department of Biomedical Engineering was also a big factor in making my choice.
During my Bachelor studies, I did a small project in collaboration with the School of Medicine where I had to analyze a specific region of interest in fluorescent microscopic images. Moreover, I had already been exposed to medical images by acquiring and analyzing fluorescent microscopic images of cerebellar granule neurons from mice during my summer internship at Karolinska Institutet (Medical University of Sweden). Both these experiences motivated me to specialize in Medical Image Analysis, because I can apply the knowledge I have gained to help solve important health problems that physicians encounter daily, such as improving the prognosis for patients or in helping to develop a novel therapy.
Which courses and projects did you choose?
Together with my mentor prof. dr. Josien Pluim I have chosen the specialization electives which are taught by professors who belong to the Medical Image Analysis group. Among others, these include Medical Image Analysis, Front-End Vision and Multiscale Image Analysis, Radiation Physics and Mathematical techniques for image analysis. We are also given the opportunity to choose courses offered by other departments of the TU/e. This encourages us to broaden our view as an engineer by learning about other fields of research as well as giving us the possibility to deepen our understanding of a particular subject which will be useful for our graduation project.
What do you like about Biomedical Engineering?
I appreciate the opportunity students are given to compose their own study program according to their academic interests. You are given the responsibility to come up with a program that will suit you best, giving you the background that will allow you to come up with innovative solutions when working on your graduation project. Moreover, I find that the internship is a valuable asset of the BME program because it allows one to evaluate how well you might be prepared to enter the job market. From my point of view it smoothens the transition between the more familiar classroom teaching environment and the actual process of applying all the tools you have learnt to come up with cutting-edge solutions to problems that you will face during your career.
What will be your graduation project?
My graduation project will certainly be focused on Biomedical Image Analysis in the group of prof. dr. Josien Pluim. However, I have not yet specifically defined what particular challenge in this research area I am going to tackle as part of my graduation project. The department has strong links with the healthcare industry and a possibility I have in mind is to do my Master thesis in collaboration with the industry.
Would you like to continue your research career with a PhD or PDEng?
Regarding my future career plans I would like to continue my studies beyond my Master’s degree. There are two different career paths that I have outlined so far. The first is to do a PhD in the area of Medical Imaging, providing a strong base which would enable me to become an expert in this field. My alternative career choice is to apply to medical school in the United States and do a MD/PhD degree there.
Where would you like to work in the future?
If I opt for becoming a physician scientist, I would enjoy working at a university hospital where I could work at the intersection of medicine and science. I would deeply enjoy blending a research career in the area of biomedical imaging together with pursuing clinical medicine and caring for my patient’s needs. Alternatively, working in an environment where I could develop technology and make new discoveries in the area of medical image analysis such as Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare or NIH would also be a rewarding and fulfilling career path.
What did you do next to your study?
In my free time I enjoy practicing sports, so I usually go swimming and running at the Student Sports Centre Eindhoven. As I am an international student, skyping with friends and family is also one of the activities which has become part of my daily routine. I am also an Honors student which allows me to undertake a very interesting workshop in Personal Leadership as well as to participate in other personal enrichment activities developed by the Honors Academy. I also try to attend career development workshops that TU/e has to offer such as the Career Center workshops, Graduate school week, Skill sessions (part of the Wervingsdagen) and some lectures of Studium Generale related to the area of Biomedical Engineering.