Andrew Behrens

Andrew Behrens, Undergraduate student, biomedical engineering

Optimizes orthopedic surgery corrections

“Andrew is one of those people who just thinks like a researcher. He is pulling ridiculously good grades in a very difficult major. The lab that he works in is incredibly complex. It requires a high level of understand of programming, data, and engineering. Andrew is one of very few undergrads who have been successful in a lab like this.” -Melinda Licht, program coordinator, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates

Faculty mentor/advisor: Cesar de Cesar Netto, MD, PhD, assistant professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation, Carver College of Medicine

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) in biomedical engineering, expected graduation May 2023.

Please describe your research: My research focuses on the identification, correction, and the optimization of said correction of orthopedic deformities. Our lab strives to understand the mechanisms behind common lower extremity deformities (such as flatfoot and bunions) to help optimize current surgical techniques and develop new ones. We also assist with the development of new medical devices through our work with the orthopedics industry.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Our research matters simply because it improves the quality of life of patients with these orthopedic deformities. Many of the patients that our lab enrolls in studies are unable to participate in activities they enjoy or cannot even walk. Our research into the mechanisms and corrections surrounding these deformities helps patients around the world to live healthier, longer, and more enjoyable lives.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started working in this research group in the fall of my first year (December 2019).

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Working in research has given me skills that I would not have acquired in other activities. Specifically, it has strengthened my project and team management skills in a way that no coursework ever could. I have also been able to develop stronger communication skills and the ability to work in diverse teams whose members come from different educational and national backgrounds.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I intend to attend medical school and currently am pursuing a career in orthopedics. I would also like to help develop new medical devices as a physician-engineer.

Banner location: Downtown—Clinton St., in front of Wells Fargo