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A dance major, theater major and electrical engineering major walk into a classroom together. While that may sound like the start of a bad joke in the DukEngineer, it actually happens three days a week in Duke’s Hull Dance Studio.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recently released a list of 14 "Grand Challenges for Engineering" that must be addressed in order to achieve a sustainable, economically robust, and politically stable future for our children and our children's children.
As a Grand Challenges Scholar, I am uniting my penchant for physics and engineering with my passion for neuroscience and psychology toward the goal of Reverse-Engineering the Brain. I work in the laboratory of Marc Sommer, professor of biomedical engineering, studying the effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on single neurons in non-human primates. TMS is a safe, noninvasive way of stimulating the brain that has proven effective in treating depression and shows promise for both...
A brain-to-brain interface connects one organism's brain to another to allow direct communication of neural data. Scary, right? But while words, vocal inflections and facial expressions are often misinterpreted, in a brain-to-brain interface, direct transmission of thoughts prevents any miscommunication. Not only is it faster, but it opens up a world of innovations for humanity. Imagine a military tactic where sensory information is received from a sparrow perched outside a terrorist compound.
My Grand Challenge Scholar research centers on the challenge of engineering the tools of scientific discovery. Although it is one of the less mentioned of the fourteen NAE grand challenges, I believe that it holds a crucial role in designing a better future.
As a member of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, I am integrating all of my experience in technical research, interdisciplinary learning, service, entrepreneurship and global perspective to expand my knowledge and focus my capabilities to help solve the Grand Challenge of Engineering Better Medicines and Medical Technology. This is yet another building block through which I hope to use my double major in mechanical and biomedical engineering to make life better for someone.
As part of the NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program, I am focusing on the challenge of providing clean drinking water access to all. My research project focuses specifically on the impact of using ceramic water filters (CWF) to treat contaminated drinking water in Uganda.
My research centers around the theme of "Engineering Better Medicines,” and combines my interests in engineering and global health to improve the health care of women in low-resource settings. Besides taking global health courses, traveling to Nicaragua to repair medical equipment in hospitals and attending global conferences, I am working with Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam in the newly formed Global Women's Health Technology (GWHT) Center on a project that has taken two forms.
When Danielle Lester was invited by a friend to attend a campus PRATTically Speaking Toastmasters meeting, she felt a little intimidated. The club, which meets in the Pratt School of Engineering and helps individuals develop public speaking and leadership skills, has its members give speeches and then the group critiques their form. Soon after, Lester became a member, giving her first speech over the summer about growing up in an immigrant home, where her family speaks Italian and Sundays are...
It’s not every day that a researcher has to worry about securing pieces of equipment to keep them from floating off during an experiment. But for a group of Duke undergraduate students this summer, it was a major concern. “During one of our trials I saw a washer from another team’s experiment float past me,” said Deepak Sathyanarayan, a rising senior in biomedical engineering at Duke University. “It was a surreal experience.”

In the Media

Oct 20, 2014
The White House Blog
Oct 8, 2014
BBC Future
Oct 7, 2014
Engineering.com