Tillikum Bridge stretching over the Willamette River

Biomedical Engineering at OHSU

The Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program serves as the center of innovation for the School of Medicine. We train future innovators, entrepreneurs and scientific leaders.

BME Alumni Committee

The OHSU Biomedical Engineering Alumni Committee has a mission to maintain contact with our graduates from the BME department. We want to hear about how our graduates are doing, to learn more about your recent endeavors and successes, and to also provide a site that will allow you to maintain contact with other fellow graduates and BME faculty.

The BME Alumni Committee plans to begin exit interviews with graduating students to learn more about their experiences in BME and to determine if there are things that they would like to see done differently. These interviews will allow the directors of the BME Alumni Committee to meet with graduating students and to allow for a formal connection to be made so that we can maintain contact with BME Alumni. One other purpose of the exit interviews will be to provide feedback to faculty and administrators on how we can improve the graduate school experience in BME. 

Joining the BME Alumni Group

We have created a LinkedIn BME Alumni group, to which we plan to have regular postings detailing what some of our BME alumni are currently up to. If you are a BME Alumnus and are not already a member of this LinkedIn group, we invite you join!

We’d love for you to be an active participant in the BME Alumni group, and also to hear from you if you have any updates for us!

BME Alumni group

Image of Mt. Hood

Contact us

For more information about the BME Alumni Committee get in contact with co-directors:

Dr. James Korkola
Dr. Kyle Ellrott

Where do our graduates go?

One of the missions of the BME Alumni Committee is to provide a resource to our incoming, current and former students, providing information about what types of work our graduates are now doing. Some of our graduates continue in academia, others go into industry, while others enter government work. A breakdown of the types of positions our recent graduates is shown here:

Pie graph of Biomedical Engineering graduates next position

Spotlight on BME graduates

Read about recent graduates and what they've been up to. More to come!

Headshot of Connor Barth

Connor Barth graduated with a PhD in 2018 from the BME department after completion of his doctoral work in Dr. Summer Gibb’s lab. Dr. Barth worked on testing and optimizing fluorescent dyes that bind preferentially to nerves. These dyes have great potential for use clinically, where it is often difficult for surgeons to distinguish nerves intraoperatively, often resulting in complications due to nerve damage.

Since graduating, Dr. Barth has continued to work in Dr. Gibb’s lab, where he is currently a research associate. However, Dr. Barth also serves as the CEO and co-founder (with Dr. Gibbs) of a new company called Inherent Targeting. The company, which was founded in the Spring of 2019, aims to translate their nerve-specific dyes to clinical use. Inherent Targeting is still in its infancy, but Dr. Barth and Dr. Gibbs have been busy applying for SBIR grants to get the company up and running.

The company hopes to make nerve specific dyes common in surgeries where nerve sparing and nerve damage are important clinical issues that can impact patient’s quality of life, such as in prostatectomies for prostate cancer. “Our fluorescent contrast agents will help guide surgeons to avoid nerve damage during surgery. Fluorescent imaging capabilities, either through surgical robots or the use of special goggles, are already in place, so no new imaging technologies will be needed. What we bring is a unique set of nerve-specific dyes, which are some of the only ones currently in development for clinical use,” Barth said.

“The initial phase for Inherent Targeting will be to obtain funding for a lot of the pre-clinical trials that will be necessary prior to testing in humans,” Barth said. “We estimate that the pre-clinical testing will cost around $2.5 million, and we felt that going after non-dilutive, federal funding through the SBIR mechanism was the best way to go initially.”

When asked about how his time in BME prepared him to start a company, Barth had this to say: “My graduate work in BME really prepared me to think independently and gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to solve problems. Even though I didn’t have any experience in starting a company, the skills I developed during my doctoral work will allow me to be successful.” When asked about if there was something else that BME could have done to prepare him for his current role, Barth said, “My only wish is there would have been more opportunities in BME to learn about the business and entrepreneurial side of starting a biotech company.”

Barth is optimistic about the chances that their SBIR application will be funded. “We hope to hear soon about the status of our funding,” he said, adding “Once we get funding, things will start to move forward quickly, and we’ll begin some of the pre-clinical toxicity testing that will be necessary prior to starting human trials.” The work that he and Dr. Gibbs are doing holds great promise to change surgical practices. “We’re excited about the prospects for Inherent Targeting and the promise that our technology holds to improve the quality of life for patients,” said Barth. If successful, Inherent Targeting may revolutionize surgery and make intraoperative nerve damage a thing of the past.

Congratulations recent graduates!

John Butler, PhD
Eran Brown, MS
Matthew Hagen, PhD
Yerim Lee, PhD
Kenneth Weekes, PhD
Gwen Hryciw, PhD