Priya Nair — Convocation Speaker
Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering
M.S. in Biomedical Engineering
B.E. in Biomedical Engineering (Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering, India)
Graduated from VanaVani Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai, India
Biomedical engineering doctoral student Priya Nair always knew she wanted a career related to the human body rather than a more conventional engineering field. When she began her undergraduate studies in India she discovered biomedical engineering — a relatively new major offered at Indian universities at the time — and found her calling.
“More research on biomedical engineering led me to realize that applying engineering concepts to the medical field to improve healthcare and quality of life was exactly what I wanted to do,” Nair says. “The prospect of developing techniques to fix diseases excited me, and I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school to learn more about this amazing engineering field.”
Nair was drawn to Arizona State University for her graduate studies because of the excellent faculty and quality of research. She also has been impressed by the opportunity to solve real-world problems with industry collaborators.
“The learning experience at ASU has been incredible,” Nair says. “The biomedical engineering graduate program is structured such that it includes theoretical as well as laboratory experience. Furthermore, the collaborations with leading hospitals and research centers such as the Mayo Clinic and Barrow Neurological Institute encourage students to apply engineering and problem solving skills to the real world.”
In 2015 Nair won the Student Paper Competition in the biofluids session of the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference in Snowbird Utah. For her last year of her doctorate studies Nair was awarded the Graduate Dissertation Fellowship for her post-candidacy doctoral work.
After she completes her doctorate this semester she plans to stay at the Fulton Schools as a post-doctoral fellow in Associate Professor David Frakes’ lab to continue her work on cardiovascular biofluid research.
“He was the first professor I met to ask about volunteering opportunities and it just clicked,” Nair says of Frakes.
Nair is inspired by Frakes’ vision of applying engineering principles to medical problems, for example using 3D printing to create heart models for presurgical planning or investigating blood flow in the brain to understand how that flow affects disease progression and treatment outcomes.
“The various collaborations he has established as a professor at ASU have given me the freedom to explore what I enjoy and has provided me with plenty of opportunities.” Nair says.
Nair also enjoys playing badminton and played on her college team at SSN College of Engineering in India, and continues to play at least a couple of times a week. In addition to a passion for sports, she also trained in Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, for seven years.
Eventually she’d like to work in academia as a professor since she’s enjoyed her opportunities as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate biomedical engineering course. She’d also research techniques to better understand causes and treatment solutions to cardiovascular diseases.