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Kwame Atsina: A young man at the intersection of engineering and biomedical research

If you were to hear about the already-extensive research background of Lehigh University student Kwame Atsina, you probably wouldn’t believe that he is just now embarking upon his junior year. This engaging engineering student is deeply involved in advanced biomedical research, and has made a mark with award-winning work on the pathogen Klebsiella, a leading cause of many illnesses such as pneumonia and tracheal infections.

Originally from Ghana, Kwame decided upon Lehigh University because of its renowned engineering reputation. “I’ve always considered medicine as a possible career path,” says Kwame. “Back home, students interested in science go into medicine or electrical engineering. My interests crossed disciplinary boundaries, so I wanted to find a place where this type of thinking was encouraged.” Lehigh offered the options Kwame was looking for in science and engineering, and he was immediately intrigued by the cross-disciplinary programs -- especially Biopharmaceutical engineering, where he has found his home.

Attending Lehigh University has cultivated opportunities for this young international student’s dreams of performing award-winning research with renowned scientists at top ranked institutions and exploring a new country and a new culture. The unique, interdisciplinary Bioengineering program at Lehigh is providing Kwame with the engineering education he seeks while preparing him to make an impact in a field not typically associated with an engineering education, namely, medicine. According to Kwame, the program is providing a strong educational foundation and opportunities that will help him achieve his goals of attending medical school and advancing his career in the field of biomedical research.

But Kwame’s not the type of student to wait for success to happen on its own – already his work has resulted in invitations to present at conferences across the country. Recently, he won the Acres of Diamonds Award from the Minority Trainee Research Forum (MTRF), a scientific conference consisting of invited scientific presentations by minority biomedical trainees from academic, industry, and government laboratories. The Acres of Diamonds Award was presented to Kwame as a winner in the National Abstract Competition and for distinction in the Oral Presentations and Poster Session.

This was not, however, Kwame’s first experience presenting his research at a national conference. In the summer of 2004, Kwame participated in the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) program at Yale University, which resulted in presenting at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Dallas, Texas. This fall he will add to his already growing biomedical research experience by joining the laboratory of Neal Simon, professor and chair of biological sciences, here at Lehigh University.


Posted on Saturday, October 01, 2005

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