Dan Keefe

Dan Keefe, PhD student, electrical and computer engineering

Advances laser medical treatments

“Since Dan has joined our team, he has impressed me with his exceptional intellectual curiosity, eagerness to excel, and diligence in completing assigned tasks.  I have no hesitation in stating that Dan will be a highly productive and successful graduate student at UI and will continue to make meaningful contributions to the scientific community beyond his graduate work.” – Fatima Toor, Lowell G. Battershell Endowed Chair and associate professor

Hometown: Mundelein, Illinois

Faculty mentor/advisor: Fatima Toor, PhD, Lowell G. Battershell Endowed Chair, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering, College of Engineering

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, electrical and computer engineering, spring 2024

Please describe your research: From printers to laser pointers and even thermometers, lasers are widely used today in many different industries. My research develops laser technologies for medical applications such as destroying tumors, treating heart disease, and stimulating the nervous system.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Recent advances in laser technology have resulted in ultra-compact infrared lasers. These lasers have benefits over other tumor treatment technologies but are largely unexplored. Similarly, they may have benefits in treating heart and neurological diseases, and so these possibilities are worth exploring.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Immediately

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? They say that half of the learning you do at college is outside the classroom. It’s true, not just for social situations, but for research too. The research environment provides much more freedom for intelligence and creativity than the classroom. It makes one much more mentally flexible and resourceful. As an engineering student, most of my education has focused on problem-solving, and research has provided an environment where I can hone my problem-solving skills to the utmost.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I want to devote my career to research and development of novel bioelectronics technologies. After completing my PhD, I plan to remain in R&D. Eventually, I’d like to become a professor in a similar field teaching, researching, and helping students to do the same.

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