An interview with alumna Ritu Raman
What year did you graduate?
2016, PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
Where do you work now?
MIT as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Langer Lab.
What research did you participate in at Illinois?
I studied how we can make robots move and walk around using living skeletal muscle. We showed that integrating biological materials with robots made them more responsive to their environment. Our robots could, for example, get stronger when they exercised and heal completely from damage - behaviors that are not possible with traditional robots made out of synthetic materials.
How did your time at Illinois shape your work now?
My time at Illinois taught me to appreciate the dynamic responsive behaviors of biological materials. My work at MIT builds on this idea by thinking about how we can integrate part-biological part-synthetic "biohybrid" machines with the body in the form of therapeutic medical devices.
What advice do you have for current students?
Science is a team sport. Supplementing your expertise with that of an interdisciplinary set of teammates is the best and easiest way to do impactful research. Luckily, finding great collaborators is easy at HMNTL and Illinois!