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Healing Broken Hearts

March 07, 2013
Sunipa Saha ’04, a former Cater Fellow, is a research scientist with Boston Scientific, helping to engineer medical devices that save lives.

What does your job entail?

I work in the Cardiac Rhythm Division of Boston Scientific, and I focus on medical products and therapies for patients with heart disease. Those products include implantable pacemaker pulse generators, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), and electrical leads for pacing the heart. As a research scientist, I design and test novel methods to quickly diagnose and effectively treat patients, conduct feasibility studies to develop and demonstrate new technologies, and work on intellectual property rights to protect our innovative ideas.

What led you to this career path?

I realized that by combining my two majors [biology and computer science] I could apply the principles of engineering and design to medical therapies. I then pursued a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, where I conducted research on medical robotics and robotic surgical assistants. I have always been drawn to cutting-edge technologies, and the field of biomedical engineering requires that I draw on my creativity and my problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions to various medical issues.

Today’s medical devices are yesterday’s science fiction.  What does the future hold for biomedical engineering?

Pick up the latest issue of a biomedical engineering magazine and you’ll find yourself thinking you’re on the Star Trek Enterprise. From implantable cerebellar stimulators, prosthetic arms that can be controlled by the brain, and replacement heart valves, the possibilities for advancement in this field seem endless. I imagine that in the near future  we will be able to accomplish more automated implanted medical devices that require minimal attention or monitoring from a physician or nurse, fully-functional tissue-engineered organs, and robot-assisted surgical techniques that assist a surgeon in performing procedures that would otherwise not be possible.

What greatest satisfaction do you find in your work?

I am excited to work in a field that is both challenging and constantly changing. As biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field, I have the privilege of working with and learning from people with different backgrounds, such as physiology, applied math, and electrical engineering. Ultimately, I find the greatest satisfaction knowing that the work I do helps save patient lives, improves the quality of life for patients and their families, and makes our medical devices safer and more effective.

Were you the beneficiary of scholarship aid?

I had the privilege of receiving the Colin Ferguson Merit Scholarship and an academic merit scholarship. While my family is from India, I was born and raised in Nigeria and attended an international school there. Few US colleges and universities provide assistance to international students, and I am very grateful for the scholarships I received, as I would not have been able to attend college without this financial assistance.

Why is it important to give back to Washington College? With its emphasis on personalized education and its engaging atmosphere for learning, the institution is grooming the future leaders and executives of the world. Assistance from donors makes it possible for students like me to not only attend college, but also realize their full potential.

Last modified on Mar. 11th, 2013 at 11:05am by Marcia Landskroener.