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Biomedical engineer works to increase understanding of biomechanical interfaces.

As a biomedical engineer, you can do cutting-edge research with a direct, positive impact on peoples’ lives. That fact, plus the collaborative and interdisciplinary environment of the University of Delaware’s biomedical engineering department, drew Shalini Sundar to the UD doctoral program in biomedical engineering. 

Sundar, who grew up in Newark, Delaware and attended high school at the Charter School of Wilmington, graduated from UD in 2020 with an honors degree and chemical engineering and a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in chemistry. For her graduate degree, she decided to switch gears to biomedical engineering. But it isn’t as much of a switch as you might think. As Sundar studies biomedical engineering and does research in biomaterials, she uses the skills she built in other engineering fields, including fluid mechanics, circuitry and more, every day. 

“I am interested in developing tools and platforms that allow us to understand and measure soft matter mechanics at a cellular or tissue level,” she said. “In the lab, we are creating devices that allow us to measure changes in mechanical properties of biological systems in-situ.”

She is one of the latest recipients of the Gore Engineering Fellowship in recognition of her work. 

Under the mentorship of Charles Dhong, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering, Sundar is doing work that matters with colleagues who care. 

“I find the atmosphere at UD to be welcoming and nurturing,” she said. “There are so many people (like my advisor, professors, labmates and peers) who motivate me as an engineer and as a person on a daily basis.” 

She hopes to eventually continue research either in industry or as a faculty member at a university. 

“I am also interested in pursuing mentorship roles so I can help individuals, especially from minority backgrounds, pursue research with similar interests as mine,” she said.