Outreach

 

 Do you Love Nano?

The Gaborski Lab is proud to be a regular presenter at Annual NanoDays weekend event at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. This year we demonstrated everything from liquid crystal displays to hydrophobic sand and even invisibility.

P1040361NanoDays-2014-6NanoDays-2014-3NanoDays-2014-8
P1040338 P1040344 P1040351I also receive many emails from high school students asking what it is like to work as a biomedical engineer. Work and life as a professor is different from working in industry, but many of the scientific principles are similar. I have pasted my responses to typical questions below.

 

1.)   What exactly do you do? What are the duties, functions, and responsibilities of your job?

I am a professor of biomedical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. I have three primary responsibilities. First, I teach courses in biomechanics and biomaterials to biomedical engineering undergraduates. Second, I run a research lab focusing on nano bio devices. We develop novel materials to help understand how cells and biomolecules interact in both healthy and disease states. I also participate in a variety of scientific outreach activities ranging from technical presentations to school science projects and museum demonstrations.

 

2.)   Do you find your job interesting, or boring? Why?

I find my job very interesting. I have many responsibilities and the opportunities to make both personal and scientific impacts.

 

3.)   What is most challenging about your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job is scheduling my time and balancing my responsibilities. There is always more work that can be done and priorities must dictate what gets done first.

 

4.)   In what type of setting do you work? What are other places in which a biomedical engineer can work?

I work in both an office and laboratory environment. Most biomedical engineers work in either of these two environments. Some biomedical engineers work in a clinical or hospital environment.

5.) What do these people do?

Biomedical engineers that work in a hospital setting are typically working on medical devices or large instrumentation. They might be responsible for teaching clinicians how to use the equipment.

 

6.) What kind of experience or training is required for this job?

For a job as a professor, it is helpful to have teaching and independent research experience.

7.) What level of education is required for this job?

PhD

 

8.) What abilities or personal qualities create most success in this career?

The abilities to manage time, think creatively and interact with people are very beneficial.

 

9.) What are some important skills to have for this career?

Beyond specific technical knowledge and skills for a particular type of research, writing and oral communication skills are very important.

 

10.) What is a typical workday like?

I typically arrive at work at 7:30am to make final preparations for my 8am lecture. From 9-10am I meet with students who need extra help. From 10am-noon I work on grant writing, research reports, reply to email and/or attend department meetings. Half of the time I have a lunch meeting with a colleague on campus or a potential collaborator off campus. Some days I spend my afternoons helping run a lab section for my class. Otherwise I work in my research lab with my students. In the late afternoon I spend time preparing for lectures or writing homework or exam questions. In evening when I am at home, I often reply to email and finish lecture preparations after putting my kids to bed.

 

11.) What kinds of problems do you deal with on the job? Do you typically work with others to solve these problems?

I have two primary types of problems or challenges at my job. The first is helping students learn my course material and navigate their way through college. I work with my teaching assistants and our department college advisor to help students who are struggling. In my research lab we are continually overcoming technical challenges. I work with students in my lab as well as professors and students in labs at RIT and other universities to help achieve our goals.

 

12.)  Would you say that you are always occupied with something to do while working?

Absolutely.

 

13.) What is your typical work schedule like? How many hours do you work in a week?

I work about 40-50 hours per week at the university and about 10-15 hours from home in the evenings and on weekends.

 

14.) How has this job affected your lifestyle? Are you still able to spend time with your family?

I typically get to work by 7:30am and leave by 5-5:30pm so that I can have dinner with my wife and children. Since my wife is also a biomedical engineer, we trade dropping off and picking up our kids up from daycare and after-school programs. I will often continue to work from home after my kids are in bed and occasionally while they are playing on the weekends.

 

15.)  If you could start your career over, would you change your path at all? Why?

No. My job allows me a certain level of flexibility in schedule and stress that matches my personality.

 

16.) Do you have any advice for someone, like me, who is interested in this field?

In addition to studying science and engineering, you should work on your writing and communication skills. If you cannot communicate your research results orally or in writing, then no one will know what you accomplished.

 

17.) What do you think would best help me learn more about this field?

I would explore some of the biomedical engineering society websites. They have a lot of information and sometimes discussion forums for students.

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) – www.bmes.org

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) – www.embs.org

There are also a number of discussion groups on LinkedIn

 

18.) Do you think that this field has a lot of potential for the future?

Yes.  There are very few faculty positions are universities, but there are growing number of industry positions at medical device and instrumentation companies. A large number of biomedical engineering students also go on to medical school as well as business and patent law.