Biomedical engineering major Omar Wyman ‘14 is one of sixteen Undergraduate Research Ambassadors for 2014-15. These students are selected for their early involvement in undergraduate research and a strong desire to share the benefits of research with other students and faculty. Omar is the subject of this summer research spotlight and shares how he got interested in research.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rangeet Dongaonkar
This past summer my team and I worked on mock circulation loops (MCL), which are mechanical representations of the cardiovascular system. The current standard MCLs lacked fundamental properties that made them accurate only when looking at the cardiovascular system as a whole. Our goal was to develop a MCL that was compartmentally specific, so we could measure data from the MCL that would be analogous to a vessel segment of the aorta. We are trying to accomplish this through 3D printing which will allow inexpensive reproduction of the design by other research departments.
- How did you first get interested in doing research?
I wanted to learn something unrelated to my normal classes which would allow me to deeply understand a topic which could potentially lead to new finding. Also, the idea of figuring out something before anyone is pretty cool as well.
- How did you find this opportunity?
I was attending the Honors Welcome ceremony for freshmen at the beginning of the year and fliers were handed out for the Debakey Undergraduate Research Program.
- What did you learn about yourself through this experience? About your discipline?
When you enter a research topic, it is usually very specific and much of the information you learn from normal classes barely apply. You can’t treat research like a normal class, it is very different approach – there is a basic understanding, but the understanding can be wrong, you always have to second guess yourself and the logic behind your reasoning. There is also no right answer, no one knows the answer that is why it is called research.
- What is your next step?
Over the summer we theoretically proved that our designed MCL will work, but these were all theoretical calculations. I will not be leading this project in the Fall, but whoever does will be doing experimental trials in the 3D printed mock circulation loop.
This fall my team and I will be working on mammalian cardiovascular similarity [under the direction of Dr. Christopher Quick]. We will be looking at the similarity in the mammalian systemic aorta among different species and from infantile to adult development.