Lela Bones, Ph.D. Student

Ph.D. student Lela Bones


Hometown: Georgetown, DE
BME Degree Program: Ph.D.
Lab affiliation/Adviser:Karl Lewis

Why Cornell?
I chose to study for my Ph.D. at Cornell University because of the community. The BME Department at Cornell is extremely welcoming, friendly, and down to earth. Other factors in my decision included the wide variety of research labs in the BME Department, and the technology and resources offered on campus. 

Why biomedical engineering?
I was fascinated by the applications of math and computer science in biomedical engineering. My undergraduate research was focused on brain computer interfacing between an EEG headset and a robotic prosthetic hand. This research along with my experience in the Amgen Scholars Program fueled my passion for biomedical engineering.

What is your research concentration/area of focus and why is it important?
My research is focused at the intersection of bone biomechanics, multi-photon imaging, and computational biology. I use multi-photon imaging to study the effects of mechanical load on bone at a cellular level. My hope is to investigate the causes of osteoporosis and look for a potential treatment method or cure. 

What do you find most rewarding about your research? 
I find the ability to help people the most rewarding thing about my research. As an individual, I love to volunteer, but there is only so much that a single person can do. When I conduct research, it feels like I am working on something bigger than myself, with capabilities to help thousands, maybe millions of people.

Any interests outside of or in relationship to your scholarship?
When I am not working on research, I serve as co-chair of community engagement for the graduate student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), professional lunch series coordinator for the Biomedical Engineering Women’s group (BMEW), and director of everything for the Lewis Lab. Outside of school, I go on hikes with my dog, renovate my recently bought house, and socialize with my friends. 

What advice might you give other students considering Cornell or BME?
My advice to other students considering BME, is to be prepared to not know things. Due to the interdisciplinary aspects of BME, there will be a lot of new information. The entire point of coming to Cornell is to learn and grow as an individual and scientist. 

What’s the next step for you?
After completing my Ph.D. degree, I plan to apply for post-doc positions abroad. I want to focus on multi-photon imaging techniques that will further my investigation of bone biomechanics. Ideally, I will open my own, “Bones Lab”, where I can help train the future scientist of tomorrow. 

What stands out to you about your Cornell BME experience so far and why?
I have enjoyed my graduate classes at Cornell BME and how they helped me in my research. Specifically, I really liked my optics class where we read current literature on new optical techniques and designed our own optical experiment. This class increased my appreciation, knowledge, and interest in multi-photon imaging.

Favorite quote that helps inspire you in your work/life?
“You need a little bit of insanity to do great things” – Henry Rollins

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