Melanie Wallace is an alum of the Lammerding Lab, now improving health and quality of life through innovation at 23andMe. Read more about Making an impact through genetic health innovation and education
Shweta Modi, B.S. '19
Where are they now? - update May 2020: Since graduating, I have been working at Merck in West Point, Pennsylvania as an Associate Scientist. I am in drug product development and commercialization, involving product/process characterization and technology transfer of biologics, vaccines, and sterile small molecules. This past January, I had the opportunity to travel to one of our manufacturing sites in Ireland for process development activities, which was a great opportunity to learn more about filtration scale-up and tech transfer. My degree in BME has helped me have a better understanding of the analytical data my team looks at and has prepared me for writing technical protocols and reports to communicate with my drug product team, from both the manufacturing and R&D side. In terms of lab experience, my time working in the Lammerding Lab as well as my lab-based classes have given me a strong lab foundation. Through BME Design with Professor Antaki, I was better able to participate in a Process Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment that occurred on a piece of equipment that I am responsible for in one of our labs. As a user of this piece of equipment, I collaborated on making a Gantt chart for project management-related purposes, which I remember doing in BME Design my senior year! Overall, the skills I developed through my BME coursework and lab experience have helped me progress in my role at Merck.
Why did you choose to major in BME at Cornell?
I was excited to hear about the new BME program that was being created for undergrads at Cornell. I’ve always had an interest in both technology and medicine and was excited to get involved in Biomedical research labs.
Research topic/ Lab(s)/Adviser(s):
I joined the Lammerding Lab sophomore year and have gotten the opportunity to take part in research focusing on the driving mechanisms of Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy. Working in the lab has taught me fundamental BME techniques like cell culture, imaging, and analysis.
What opportunities has the major given you so far?
BME has given me the opportunity to be a part of the wider biomedical community. With my other friends in the Biomedical Engineering Society, I attended a Medical Hackathon at Johns Hopkins University. We were so passionate about our project that we carried on our project through our Senior Design project.
What was your favorite class or experience at Cornell BME and why?
My favorite BME moment was singing karaoke at the BME Holiday Party with the other seniors!
What clubs/organizations do you participate in at Cornell?
I am apart of Class Councils, where I’ve gotten to plan and hold events for the Class of 2019 and attend the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference for the past two years. I’m also in the Convocation Committee and am excited to meet Bill Nye in person during graduation! I was lucky to be apart of the first Biomedical Engineering Society for undergrads at Cornell and have seen it grow into a major organization on campus. I also served as a College of Engineering Peer Advisor for freshman since my sophomore year.
While at Cornell/BME, what did you do for fun?
I love catching up with friends over coffee and checking out the gorges over the weekends. I also loved going to Purity at night and playing tennis with friends.
What’s the next step for you?
I will be working at Merck as an Associate Scientist for developing vaccines starting in August.