Rion Wendland, Ph.D. student, Biomedical Engineering
Creates biomaterials to restore vision
• Hometown: Madison Lake, MN
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Kristan Worthington, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, May 2024
• Please describe your research: I investigate how the mechanical properties (stiffnesses) of cell scaffolds affect different aspects of surgical eye procedures. Mainly, I work to identify a range of stiffnesses (not too soft, but not too hard) for these scaffolds, based on both favorable cellular response as well as performance during surgical handling.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? My work is focused on supporting a treatment for retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration. Overall, we are looking to restore the lost vision of those afflicted, improving their health and quality of life.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was able to participate in research starting my 3rd year of undergrad and have continued through my current studies.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Research has enabled me to apply concepts learned in the classroom to solve real-world problems. I’ve also been able to develop skills such as experimental design, research collaboration, and scientific communication.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation I hope to continue being involved in research, working as a biomedical engineer in industry or continuing with academic research
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