"My success at UGA is solely possible due to the engineering faculty and students who I had the privilege of interacting with."
Doctoral student Arnab Mondal's research focuses on developing infection-resistant medical device surfaces which mimic the way our bodies fight infection. He believes the interdisciplinary training he's received in the UGA College of Engineering has equipped him fwith the tools and experience to solve some of the biggest challenges in healthcare.
Hem Sheela Model School, Durgapur, India
Ph.D. in Engineering
What is your favorite thing about being a student at UGA?
My favorite thing about being a student at UGA is the people here. In general, there is a positive atmosphere at UGA where everyone helps each other grow. Somehow, everyone here seems to be invested in your success.
Why did you choose engineering?
As a kid, I was fascinated by nature and its inherent ability to function efficiently. I remember reading about how bullet train design was influenced by the hummingbird. Ever since, I wanted to study and work on bio-inspired engineering.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced while at UGA, and how did you overcome it?
When I first came to UGA, I experienced some culture shock, especially since I was working with people from different backgrounds and countries. Over time, I had to re-learn how to communicate with people from different cultures.
What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference for you?
There are two things that I have learned and am still learning – 1) continuous improvement through small gradual steps; and 2) creative solutions might exist, as Seth Godin says – ‘at the edge of the box’ as opposed to outside the box.
What/Who has helped you become a successful student here at UGA?
My success at UGA is solely possible due to the engineering faculty and students who I had the privilege of interacting with, including the wonderful people at Handa Lab, Brisbois Lab as well as Dr. Hitesh Handa, Dr. Elizabeth Brisbois, and Ms. Margaret Sapp!
Can you describe your research in a nutshell?
My research aims to develop infection-resistant medical device surfaces which mimic the way our bodies fight infection. More specifically, I design surfaces that mimic the way blood vessels produce nitric oxide, a gas molecule that can prevent blood clotting and help ward off infection.
Why did you choose your research area?
In hospital settings, infections are a huge problem - many hospitalized patients are affected by secondary infections. Antibiotic treatments can complicate things by promoting the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The real-life implications of preventative measures and biomaterial-based therapy are huge. My main motivation was to work at the forefront of translational technologies that can reduce patient morbidities.
What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
I would say North Campus. Walking through north campus is like walking through living history.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
Maepole is my go-to restaurant in Athens.
What has been your favorite class at UGA?
I took a Tech Transfer class with Dr. K. C. Das. It was a wholesome experience. I learned a lot about how technology can move from benchtop to bedside and not get lost along the way.
What's your best memory at UGA so far?
Recently, I went to the engineering grad student picnic at Flinchum Phoenix and met many other engineering grad students. After a year of pandemic-induced social isolation, the picnic was a welcome change. In addition, the potlucks at Dr. Handa’s house have been enjoyable as well.
What advice do you have for younger students who wish to pursue engineering?
Talk to engineers and professors about their experiences. If you are apprehensive about approaching people, here is a little secret – engineers love talking about their work and experiences. Secondly, I remember losing my bearings over ‘what if’ questions when deciding whether to pursue engineering. At the end of the day, I kept telling myself that I am doing what I love and there is nothing I would rather do.
How do you hope to impact society with your engineering degree?
An engineering degree will have a central role in my pursuit of biomedical innovation and translational technologies to improve healthcare and patient safety. The interdisciplinary training during my Engineering PhD at UGA is equipping me with the tools and experiences needed to solve modern day healthcare challenges.