After successfully defending her dissertation, Archana Bhat will become the first graduate of UT’s joint doctoral program between the colleges of Engineering and Medicine.
Originally discussed by the Medical University of Ohio and UT prior to 2006, the Biomedical Engineering Program is an example of one of the many positive academic progressions made by the University following the merger of the two institutions.
The doctor of philosophy in biomedical engineering is designed for students with either master’s degrees in engineering or in science fields and centers on several core course requirements in mathematics, engineering and the biomedical sciences. The curriculum also contains an entrepreneurship component. Students take two courses on intellectual property and strategic planning from the College of Business Administration and develop a business plan to commercialize ideas born from their dissertation research.
The curriculum also offers a PhD program for MD students that are interested in pursuing a dual degree and careers as physician scientists.
The University’s goal for the program is to recruit at least six students per year — a goal that UT is more than likely going to surpass, considering 18 students have enrolled over the program’s three-year history.
For her PhD, Bhat elected to follow the entrepreneurial option, completing two business courses and developing a business plan to commercialize her research on developing artificial bones.
In her business plan, Bhat outlined the steps involved to develop a commercial artificial bone product, which includes development and testing, U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensing, and manufacturing and funding.
“It gives me great pride to be the first graduate of the Biomedical Engineering Program,” Bhat said. “Coming from an engineering background would have made grasping the biological techniques difficult. However, the faculty and staff on the medical campus made learning easier.”
Bhat has accepted employment as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California and will begin her research there this month.
“Archana Bhat’s exceptional abilities point to great success in her new role and bright future as a biomedical engineering researcher,” said Dr. Nagi G. Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering. “It is worth noting that Bhat’s research on artificial bone development will be continued by another gifted student, Hoangha Dao, who joined the Biomedical Engineering PhD Program this fall. Dao has just been awarded a National Science Foundation doctoral fellowship for carrying out this research.”