Changing lives with Biomedical Engineering

Zoe chose to study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Bradford. She shares her experience of the course so far and how she hopes to change people’s lives through the knowledge and experience she gains from her degree.

Biomedical Engineering isn’t a discipline many people are familiar with, when I tell people what I’m studying, they normally reply with ‘Oh that sounds interesting, but what does it involve?’. I like to think of it as a compilation of things that can be merged together to create one discipline.

Medicine, engineering, materials and biology combined; graduates with this degree move on to design medical devices like CT machines, catheters, prosthetics, creating cell grown organs, rehabilitation equipment and much more.

Anything you can think of that is related to saving or improving lives, has likely had input from a Biomedical Engineer.

My journey to Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering wasn’t my first career aspiration, when completing my GCSE’s I wanted to be a Gastroenterology Specialist, I didn’t even know that Biomedical Engineering was an option. However, after completing my GCSE’s I realised I didn’t want to be a doctor.

I thought deeper into what subjects I liked and what I was good at, discovering that I enjoyed being creative, and I also wanted a job that could help people or save lives. That is when I came across Biomedical Engineering.

So, I went to college and studied BTEC Engineering alongside maths and biology, and then applied to the University of Bradford and obtained an offer to study Biomedical Engineering as an undergraduate.

I chose Bradford to study Biomedical Engineering simply because I preferred the modules available, compared to other universities. This University introduces the mixture of Medical and Engineering in the first year, whereas other universities tend to start with Mechanical Engineering courses and slowly incorporate the Medical side.

Starting my degree

During my first year the module ‘Computer-Aided Engineering’ really brought out my creativity, I learnt how to use SolidWorks by running through a variety of in-class tutorials, drawing various objects such as syringes, inhalers, crutches, stethoscopes and then applied it to a project which used the software to draw a prosthetic leg in 3D.

In second year I really enjoyed the mixture of modules, I loved learning about cell and tissue biology and the tiny things that make us work. Alongside that, I was involved with the Healthcare Technology Project, where a group of us made a device to improve people’s lives who have Drop-Foot by stimulating the nerves in their legs.

This utilised electronics, development and design procedures to make a real-working prototype- with the help of my personal tutor Professor Whiteside, who devoted time to our group to make our project function amazingly, impressing lecturers and students alike in the showcase.

Our group achieved the best prototype award that year, which we were all very pleased with! But my personal tutor is just one of many amazing members of staff at the university. All the staff here are outstanding; if the student makes the effort to ask for help, the lecturers and support teams will go out of their way to give it to you, some lecturers even go to the extreme of replying to late night queries!

My career prospects

After second year I decided I wanted to complete a summer placement to get an idea of what it’s like to work in the real world. I emailed an amazing medical solutions company in Leeds and I got called in for an interview and offered the internship.

The University of Bradford helped me to build my CV, with all the valuable skills I gained over just two years and the high grades they helped me achieve. I believe this enabled me to get this placement and I am delighted I got the opportunity to work in the industry and gain experience in product development.

One of the directors of the company is keen to have me return for my year placement and potentially offer me a job after I graduate, that is not something I expected to find at this stage!

At the moment, I am unsure what path I want to take with my career, with the variety of modules and growing Biomedical Engineering industry sectors, I want to take the time to decide whether product development is for me or whether I would prefer to research tissue engineering subjects further and potentially gain a PhD.

There are so many paths with this course, the possibilities are limitless, I’m extremely happy I made the choice to study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Bradford.

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