dcsimg

Career Story: Senior Biomedical Engineer For A Medical Equipment Maker

Senior Biomedical Engineer For A Medical Equipment Maker

Job Title: Senior Engineer

Type of Company: My company is developing and now marketing a system to map the location of plaque in the coronary arteries. This is a new diagnostic tool for cardiologists that gives them an unprecedented view of the disease that is the number one cause of death.

Education: BA Physics/Astronomy Boston University •• MS Biomedical Engineering Boston University

Previous Experience: After my BA, I worked as a technician for a laser manufacturer. I then worked in laser research at BU in cardiology applications. I then worked for a medical center on lasers in cardiology. I then returned to grad school and simultaneously worked for a start up company on various applications of lasers and spectroscopy. I then worked for a large commercial spectrometer company. Finally I moved to a startup making a cardiology product that maps plaque in the coronary arteries via fiber optics and a laser based spectrometer. And that has been my career over the last 25 years or so.

Job Tasks: My background includes experience in a wide variety of science and engineering applications. My day to day work calls on a variety of skills to solve problems in our research and development of a relatively complex system for mapping plaque in the coronary arteries. This system is based on a custom laser delivering light through a custom fiber optic catheter. This allows us to direct laser light at the inside wall of the coronary arteries and to measure the intensity of light that is reflected off of that surface. Analysis of this light lets us distinguish healthy artery tissue from arterial plaque and to map the location of those types of tissue.

My work includes a lot of hands-on building of these systems with various new experimental features to be evaluated. I also do a lot of repairs on existing experimental systems. I also do repairs on systems that are already in use at various hospitals. I also design and perform experiments using this equipment to gain insight into various problems reported by users or to develop new features. This work involves a lot of work with electronics, such as building new electronic boards for testing, diagnosing and repairing existing electronics that have failed, and optimizing the performance of new equipment designs.

Because this is a heavily regulated industry, there is always an element of documenting what work is done, which takes various forms from making notes in an official lab notebook, to developing, performing, and recording the results of all kinds of tests meant to verify the safety and efficacy of every aspect of our systems.

I also get to work with cutting edge developments in several areas of optics, including tunable lasers and fiber optics. So, this job is very enjoyable to me because it makes use of my broad experience to create a new and very useful medical device and to continue to develop new features for it.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is that I get to use my experience and skills to develop a new medical diagnostic that we expect to be very important in improving the outcome of patients with heart disease. It is a fun job because of the variety of tasks and the variety of skills needed to complete them.

The down side of this job is that medical device development requires an enormous amount of documentation in order to comply with the various regulatory bodies, such as the FDA. This is a mountain of paperwork and keeping up with it can be a real drag.

Job Tips:
1. This kind of work needs good computer skills. I use Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc) every day. We also make a lot of use of Matlab and Solid Works.

2. I would strongly advise any engineering student to become familiar with Matlab as it is the premier data manipulation package in use. Solid Works is used to actually design our mechanical parts and is one of the standard tools of the industry.

3. Beyond those, real hands on experience with making, troubleshooting, and repairing electronics is central to my job, so anyone interested in this work needs to develop those skills. This work assumes expertise in the use of standard test equipment like volt ohm meters, oscilloscopes, function generators, and digital data acquisition systems, so learning to use those is a must. Labview is another piece of software that we have used frequently, allowing rapid development of prototype systems.

Additional Thoughts: I have worked in startup companies for a long time, but it was not until my most recent job that I ever got to develop a real product that made it to market. It has been a real surprise to me what the burden of documentation has turned out to be. I would suggest that anyone interested in biomedical engineering should seek contact with real biomedical engineers to see what this burden is like. It can be very offputting for someone more interested in the science and research aspects of the job to suddenly be saddled with writing endless test reports.

I am also surprised over and over by how important communication is and how often people overlook that in science and engineering jobs. I have repeatedly found myself making very small efforts toward improving openness and communications among my co-workers which then lead to very big benefits in terms of shared information and skills that lead to very fast resolution of problems. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with co-workers has been a surprisingly important skill in my career.

Popular Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

The University of California, Riverside
Transforming Engineers into Leaders

If you’re seeking to elevate your technical expertise and take on leadership roles in today’s global workplace, the UC Riverside online Master of Science in Engineering can deliver the highly calibrated balance of scientific and business knowledge to help you reach your goals.

  • Programs: M.S. in Engineering, Bio-engineering Specialization, M.S. in Engineering, Data Science Specialization
  • Degrees: Master

The College of Engineering at Villanova University offers flexible, part-time, online and on campus graduate program options to meet your demanding schedule.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
  • Degrees: Master
San Joaquin Valley College
Bakersfield, Ontario, Salida, Visalia

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

  • Programs: Certificate - Industrial Maintenance Technician, Degree - Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate

Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

  • Programs: Master of Civil Engineering Online
  • Degrees: Master
Milan Institute
Bakersfield

Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

  • Programs: Electrician, Oil and Gas Instrumentation Technician
  • Degrees: Diploma
Brightwood College
Riverside

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

  • Programs: Electrical Technician
  • Degrees: Diploma

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: BS in Aeronautics
  • Degrees: Bachelor

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

  • Programs: Industrial Maintenance and Automated Technology
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Biomedical Engineers

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Biomedical Engineers, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104