Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Summer Immersion Term

The Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Summer Immersion Term, a unique partnership between Cornell Engineering and the WCM Department of Radiology, was founded in 2005. Scheduled between students’ first and second year of graduate training, the program, which is partially funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) T35 grant, brings 20 biomedical engineering (BME) Ph.D. students from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., to WCM’s Manhattan campus for eight weeks of hands-on clinical exposure, fostering the ever-evolving relationship between engineering and medicine.

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity for these Ithaca-based biomedical engineering students to see what practicing medicine is really like,” says Dr. Martin Prince, WCM professor of radiology and co-principal investigator (PI) on the Summer Immersion Term T35 grant. “Many of them made major discoveries and developed new and useful gadgets during their two months at Weill Cornell Medicine.”

The Summer Immersion Term, an initiative designed to pique BME students’ interests in medicine, allows participants to attend grand rounds, shadow clinical practitioners, and, under the direction of a clinician mentor, participate in clinical-related research. In the end, the program also directly informs their Ph.D. thesis research, sparking a lifelong interest in biomedicine.

“Most—88 percent—of our alumni from this program are fruitfully engaging in biomedical-related scientific research, product development, and management,” says Dr. Yi Wang, WCM professor of physics in radiology, director of WCM MRI Research Institute, professor of BME at Cornell University, and PI on the Summer Immersion Term T35 grant. “Some have gone to medical school and started clinical care.”

Since 2005, Dr. Wang has watched as Cornell Engineering Ph.D. students witness the very real benefits of linking BME to medicine—for patients, for clinicians, and for the future of medicine. But what’s next?

Recently, the Summer Immersion Term T35 grant was renewed. “The grant renewal is critical in training engineering students to connect their laboratory work with healthcare,” says Dr. Wang. “To give their discoveries the best chance to benefit clinical medicine.”

Immersion Term Blog:

Since the Immersion Term started in 2005, students have shared their experiences through the Immersion Term Blog. Read past blog posts below. 

For More Information:

Yi Wang, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics in Radiology
Director, MRI Research Institute
Professor, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering 

Kelly Gillen, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology in Radiology
Director of Research Strategy

Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Radiology
525 East 68th Street New York, NY 10065