A collaborative team challenge yields magnificent results

Rajdeep Banerjee

Rajdeep Banerjee, Undergraduate Student

Hometown: Boxborough, MA
Degree Program: B.S. in biomedical engineering '24, concentrating in biomedical imaging and instrumentation (BMII)
Advisor/lab affiliation: Steven Adie Lab

Why Cornell biomedical engineering?

Cornell biomedical engineering program’s greatest strength is its collaborative spirit. From the BME 4080-4090 capstone design project to the ease in which undergrads can join labs as underclassmen, the program is geared towards developing academic and professional readiness in students from the beginning. I liked that students can design a schedule best suited to their goals and interests and that the school also offers concentrations that cover the broad and emerging fields within biomedical engineering--biomaterials & drug delivery (BMDD), biomechanics and mechanobiology (BMMB), biomedical imaging and instrumentation (BMII), and molecular, cellular, and systems engineering (MCSE). BMII was a natural fit for me because of my interest in the applications of physics and devices in medicine, and especially because I am a biophotonics aficionado. The opportunities to study imaging modalities, machine learning and electromechanical systems in medicine were a perfect match for me.

Highlights of your time at Cornell?

Rajdeep Banerjee in the Adie lab
Rajdeep Banerjee (right) happy in the Adie lab.

My favorite BME class is probably BME 4010, biomedical engineering analysis of metabolic and structural systems, with professors Jonathan Butcher and Shivaun Archer. This challenging course taught fluidic, mechanical, electrical and chemical analysis of systemic pathophysiology. The class incorporated tools from previous courses to predict variations in properties at a tissue level toward significant implications for appropriate treatment modalities. Additionally, the class covered a variety of devices and applications to emphasize the unique role biomedical engineers play in integrating different perspectives in the holistic problem-solving process required in medical engineering.

The defining moment for me was when my team (huge shoutout to Theralink and my teammates, Anjie, AJ, and Antonio!) was getting our automated syringe and DIY luminometer working for our portable cortisol assay in our design project. After months of research and design struggles, I finally saw how a “wobble” approach to biomedical design--where trial and error grounded in robust engineering and market analysis--can yield magnificent results.

In addition to these academic highlights, I had opportunities to assume leadership roles as a residential advisor and be TA for two classes. Other highlights included working on beam propagation simulations and ARF-OCE  for biomechanical characterization as a student researcher in professor Steven Adie’s lab, being a member of the undergraduate group working with the BME Advisory Council, and co-founder of Cornell RISEUP, a recently founded organization aiming to support refugees in their transition to life in Ithaca and Tompkins County by providing them with critical resources related to healthcare, food security, and employment and education opportunities. 

A funny story: 

Cali Brady organized BME Senior Superlatives, and one of the questions was: “Who in our class would be most likely to make a bionic arm that also makes a really good espresso?” My best friend in our senior BME class, Luke Silva, and I won. Neither of us could believe it. I’m not even sure if something like that is possible, but now I just want to make it happen!

What’s next?

I will go on for the M.Eng. in BME here at Cornell, and then hopefully on to an M.D./Ph.D. 

If you could talk to your freshman-year self now, what would you say?

Go with the flow, try new things, stay positive, stay connected to everyone. Ask questions!

Anything else?

I’d like to thank my classmates, who made this challenging experience collaborative, enjoyable, and accessible; my project supervisor, Steve Adie ; and my undergraduate peers, graduate colleagues, and postdoc mentors in the Adie lab. I want to give them all a huge thank you for showing me how valuable and rewarding the challenging process and incremental gains of BME research can be. 

I’d also like to thank my family.  I’m ever grateful for your support and guidance.

And, I hope my story inspires my little sister, Riana, to keep aiming high. She is my greatest source of motivation and inspiration. 

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