Leading researcher discusses brain injuries


Samantha Hickey

Susan Margulies gives keynote address at the fall biomedical engineering seminar.

By Samantha Hickey, News Editor

Susan Margulies, a leading researcher in traumatic brain injuries and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at UA on Friday, Nov. 6 as part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Fall 2015 Seminar Series.

Over 100 students, staff, and professionals congregated in the Student Union Ballroom to listen to Margulies speak about the research being conducted in her lab and her advice for aspiring biomedical engineers.

Margulies specializes in research dealing with mechanical ventilators associated with injury of the lung tissue and traumatic brain injuries in children.

Margulies and her team use pigs in their lab to conduct the most lifelike traumatic injury scenarios.

Through her studies, Margulies has created an accelerometer, a Fitbit-like device to measure the pigs’ activities such at all times. The accelerometers are worn in small jackets on the pigs’ backs. Margulies also hopes to create a treadmill for her pigs one day to better conduct symptom measurements.

Understanding her research may be complicated for less experienced attendees, Margulies said that students may not necessarily understand the studies, but she hopes they learn to appreciate the breadth of the technique.

Jillian Savage and Bailei Hoyng were two first-year UA students at the seminar looking to explore their options in the biomedical engineering field.

“I knew I wanted to study biomedical engineering, however at some point you have to decide on a track at The University of Akron on what you want to specialize in and I was uncertain about that,” Savage said. “I came here to find out what I was passionate about and what I really want to dig into in detail.”

Hoyng agreed with Savage and added that prosthetics really interest her. “I thought it would be a good networking opportunity and thought it would be great to learn more about the biomedical engineering path, because I didn’t know a lot about it, I just knew I wanted to do it,” she said.

In her parting advice, Margulies encouraged aspiring biomedical engineers to look into interdisciplinary research, to take risks, and to step outside of their comfort zones.