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Three-year graduate achieves biomedical engineer dream

Tanvi Patel Headshot

With a newly earned degree in bioengineering, Tanvi Patel finished her undergraduate degree in three years — and she doesn’t plan on stopping there.

Now, Patel has even bigger goals, one of which includes a return to the classroom. “My plan is to get my PhD in bioengineering by the end of spring 2023 to pursue my long-term goal of becoming a clinical professor at a four-year institution.”

During this next phase of her education, Patel plans on focusing on the long-term neurological effects of Alzheimer’s disease, specifically “due to buildup of amyloid-beta plaques resulting in disruption of the calcium ion homeostasis in the brain,” she said.

Patel, who was born in Gujarat, India, realized she had a passion for bioengineering when she was just 15 years old. Her dream was to become a biomedical engineer and help as many people as possible by creating innovative medical devices that can solve real-world clinical problems.

This passion led her through her undergraduate degree, including courses such as BIOE 250 Clinical Problems in Bioengineering. “One of the projects I worked on was to conceptually fabricate a wireless acoustic imaging capsule that would allow patients to avoid having a colonoscopy to detect ulcerative colitis in an early stage,” Patel said.

Projects like this one are what made it her favorite course. She said it taught her how to effectively use innovative technology by analyzing various medical conditions and instrumentation complications.

From the experiences she gained in undergraduate courses, Patel already has lots of advice to share with the next generation of bioengineering students. She encouraged students not to sprint toward graduation but to “make sure you gain as much experience and take your time to grow as both a student and a person while at school.” One great way to gain experience, Patel noted, is by doing research with professors in the department, all of whom are happy to have students working in their research labs.

Another key to success is surrounding yourself with a great support system to help you through the ups and downs of your first college experience. “I really have to thank my friends—Adam, Gianni, Haseeb, Lyla, Talia, and Rohith—and my family for supporting me throughout my three years at UIC,” she said.

Patel also thanks her advisors, Miiri Kotche and Anthony Felder, for helping her throughout the journey. “It has been a wonderful experience, and I am excited for the freshmen who are just starting their bioengineering degrees, since it is such an integrative environment for collaboration and problem-solving.”