Learn more about the Experiential PhD.
Northeastern hosted the Experiential PhD Expo on May 2nd to showcase the breadth and depth of research PhD students and their faculty mentors are pursuing with external partners. The expo, held in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, aligned with the university’s focus on transforming doctoral education by integrating experiential learning throughout its PhD programs.
2018 Experiential PhD highlights.
Solomon Mensah, a doctoral student in bioengineering, is co-founder and CEO of Therapeutic Innovations, a startup focused on redesigning affordable and easy-to-use medical devices for people in developing countries. Its first device, Airbaby, is a facemask that delivers a combination of ambient air and oxygen to premature babies to help their lungs retain oxygen.
Mensah said Therapeutic Innovations has worked with numerous partners, including hospitals, health ministries, startup accelerator programs, and the National Science Foundation. This summer, he is traveling to Ghana—his home country—and India to test the product. He created the startup after seeing firsthand the high mortality rates of premature babies in Ghana. “We need to be able to reengineer these types of devices to make them more affordable,” he said.
Other presenters included Murphy Wonsick, a doctoral student in computer engineering who is working with Valkyrie, a 6-foot-2-inch, 275-pound humanoid robot developed by NASA.
Wonsick is part of a team led by Northeastern associate professor Taskin Padir, who NASA selected to perform advanced research and development work on Valkyrie. As part of a partnership with MassRobotics, she’s currently focused on using virtual reality to help humans communicate with Valkyrie once the robot is deployed to deep space.
Westley Tear, a chemistry student, is focused on treating neglected tropical diseases. In June, he will begin a experiential PhD co-op at GSK, which partnered with Northeastern’s Laboratory for Neglected Disease Drug Discovery to repurpose known human kinase inhibitors for human African sleeping sickness. “I can take a lot of the skills I’ve learned in the lab and apply them to a new project,” he said.