Student Q&A: Stevens Ph.D. Candidate Helps Develop Patented Medical Devices and Procedures with Diverse Healthcare Implications
Mohammad Mir ’23 and the team of researchers in Jinho Kim’s laboratory have developed and patented medical devices and technologies with healthcare applications.
Mohammad Mir is a fifth-year Ph.D. student studying biomedical engineering. A team member in the Lung Translation Bioengineering Laboratory of Assistant Professor Jinho Kim, Mohammad’s research focuses on developing bioengineering devices and methods meant to treat and diagnose lung disorders and disease. Many of these technologies have been patented and will be made available for wide use in clinics and hospitals. Mohammad joins Jeremiah Chinwendu 25', a second-year undergraduate student, to discuss his research and its implications for the future.
Chinwendu: Tell me about your background and what drew you to Stevens.
Mir: I started my Ph.D. at Stevens in 2018. My background and experience has been diversified over the years. I got my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and my master’s in polymer science. My Ph.D. focusses on bioengineering, regenerative medicine and tissue biomechanics. I have always had a passion for contributing to healthcare and biotechnology; and Stevens was the best place for me to do that.
C: What are the projects you and your teammates are working on?
M: The first project is focused on lung tissue-engineering. We replace damaged and diseased cells with stem cells that the body can then use to form new lung tissue. The second project focuses on developing a noninvasive quantification of lung tissue stiffness. Stiffness of lung tissue can be an indicator of a number of diseases and disorders. The third project is the development of a device that will help with the localization and treatment of pulmonary tissue air leakage. We use sound to locate air leaks and we use a sealant we developed to treat those leaks.
C: Where can the tools you developed be applied in the field of medicine?
M: Currently, respiratory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs) and other genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis are the third-leading cause of death in the world. Since it is likely that this trend will get worse in the future, it is important that we make innovations to treat and diagnose these such diseases efficiently. Lung transplantation is the only option to treat many disorders, but only 20 percent of donated lungs are usable. Our goal is to not only treat lung diseases, but also recondition and recover lungs that were rejected for transplantation. This could increase the pool of donor lungs for people who have no other options.
C: How has your experience at Stevens benefited you in this endeavor?
M: I have had the privilege to work with some of the best faculty members in the field of biomedical engineering. In particular, Dr. Kim has provided me with great mentorship and guidance throughout my undergraduate education. In addition, he has given me opportunities to participate in hands-on projects that have applications in the real world.
C: Where do you hope to go from here once you obtain your degree?
M: My long-term career goal is to improve patients’ treatment outcomes by commercializing some of the devices and technologies we developed in the lab in order to contribute to the field of healthcare.
C: Do you have any advice for someone hoping to follow a similar path to the one you followed?
M: Take advantage of all of the resources available to you and collaborate with both peers and professors. Seek out opportunities to participate in different research projects happening around the school.
Kim’s lab is a multidisciplinary lab where members work with other engineers, chemical biologists and surgeons to develop technologies that allow for accurate assessment and efficient treatment of lung disorders. This team also includes collaborators from universities like Vanderbilt and Columbia.