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Featured Interview – Pierre E. DuPont

Pierre DuPont, PhD, is Staff Scientist, Cardiovascular Surgery; and Chief, Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering, at Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA USA. From his own experience, he points out the importance of bringing together experts in biology and technology.

Is there a need for collaboration between engineering and life science?

Pierre E. DuPont, PhD
Chief, Pediatric Cardiac Engineering
Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School:

I spent many years at Boston University in the college of engineering. And like many engineering schools, BU has a medical school, but there is a separation between the two communities. And as I became more involved in surgical/medical applications of engineering, I found that that separation impacted the originality and innovation that I could bring to my work. So I moved to Children’s Hospital Harvard Medical School, and what that has allowed me to do is apply my work to very relevant clinical problems. And the other wonderful aspect of it is that I’m surrounded now, by experts in biology and biotechnology as great collaborators; to bring our skill sets together. The only way to make rapid progress is to integrate the two different communities.

What are some of the breakthroughs we’ll see in the next 10 to 20 years?

There’s a very broad diversity within engineering applied to life sciences, so I’m looking, in the future, to developing robots that are on the millimeter scale, on the nanometer scale and integrating biological systems with my robotic platforms. Just yesterday I sat down with an expert in drug delivery, and we were able to think about new, robotically motivated ways to deliver drugs in various parts of the body; and mechanisms for controlling the delivery of those drugs. It’s just a fascinating environment for an engineer to be in, and a very rewarding one.

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July 2012 Contributors

Pierre DuPontPierre DuPont is Staff Scientist, Cardiovascular Surgery; and Chief, Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering, at Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA USA. Read more

Rajeev BansalRajeev Bansal received his PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1981. Since then he has taught and conducted research in the area of applied electromagnetics at the University of Connecticut. Read more

Kevin MazurekKevin Mazurek is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, working on his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. Read more

Bradley J. HolinskiBradley J. Holinski is currently a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta. He obtained a BSc. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Albeta in 2007. Read more

Dirk G. EveraertDirk G. Everaert received his undergraduate degree in physical therapy from the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 1989. Read more

Richard B. SteinRichard B. Stein (DPhil, Physiology, Oxford University, Oxford UK, 1966) is currently a Research Professor of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada and co-director of the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Group. Read more

Vivian K. MushahwarVivian K. Mushahwar received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, in 1991, and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 1996. Read more

Ralph Etienne-CummingsRalph Etienne-Cummings received a B.Sc. degree in physics from Lincoln University, Oxford, PA, in 1988, and M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Read more