Alumnus Davi da Silva ‘09 is a second-year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Davi recently spoke with Ethan Kuhn, Associate Director of Development and Alumnae/i, about his program and the impact White Mountain had on his academic trajectory.
How did you become interested in Biomedical Engineering and the Harvard-MIT program?
The program is very interdisciplinary, but in a way that delves deep into each discipline. I think there are some people who very quickly realize that they want to focus on this one specific thing but I have always been more interested in a lot of stuff. That’s one excellent thing about White Mountain, my teachers always encouraged me to pursue different interests – academic and otherwise.
At the University of Chicago, where I went for my undergraduate degree, I was very interested in math but was also interested in pre-med, especially after taking Anatomy & Physiology/Wilderness First Responder (WFR) at White Mountain. I didn’t want to pick between the two so I majored in both Mathematics and Chemistry, and also took some biology classes and did some biomedical research.
After college I got a job working in a bioengineering lab at the National Institutes of Health for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. It allowed me to pursue two different academic interests and not choose between my two passions. When looking at graduate programs, the MIT and Harvard program fit the bill.
Now that you’re in the program, what does your day to day look like?
I take a mix of traditional engineering classes and medical classes while my lab’s research focuses on creating miniature devices to study cancer cells. One day I’ll be in engineering courses with MIT Ph.D. students and the next day I’ll take medical courses with M.D. students at Harvard Medical School. I even go on medical rotations. Both sides of the program are essential to making the research work. We need the engineering to create our devices and medical knowledge to understand what those devices should do and how they can be useful to clinicians.
Davi is just one of many White Mountain Alumnae/i who have entered the field of Biomedical Engineering. Read more about the work of Sol Diamond ‘93, Associate Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, here.
Know of other alumnae/i in the news? Feel free to email us at email@example.com.