Interview by Michele Schevikhoven '21
Dr. Kristen Maitland is an associate professor in biomedical engineering and director of Texas A&M’s Microscopy & Imaging Center. Dr. Duncan Maitland is associate department head and holder of the Stewart & Stevenson Professorship in biomedical engineering.
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING?
Kristen: I started in electrical engineering, but I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing. I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee and looking at the video of my surgery, I got excited about the potential to use optical fibers to look inside the body and help solve medical problems using a technology I researched during my master’s. So, I decided to get my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, focusing on high-resolution microendoscopy to look at cells inside the body for early cancer detection.
Duncan: I also started in electrical engineering working at an aerospace company designing plane-based weapons. I didn’t have an intuition for that, so I spoke with my undergrad mentor. He directed me to the Cleveland Clinic, where I observed open heart surgery. The lead cardiologist said to me, “You haven’t passed out yet? This might be the field for you!” That’s when I decided to get my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.