ST. LOUIS – Former Saint Louis University pitcher Kallen Loveless was part of a group that captured the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology Most Outstanding Senior Project award in biomedical engineering for the 2018-19 academic year.
Throughout the year, seniors majoring in Parks College’s various engineering disciplines work on projects for their design capstone course. Loveless, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, recently discussed her group’s winning project as well as her motivation for pursuing a career in the medical field.
Describe your group’s senior design project.
Kallen Loveless: Our project was to create a dynamic device that simulates the physiological environment of the stomach so that Cardinal Health Inc. can test their feeding tubes in this application, gathering insight into the device’s performance and identifying potential improvements that can be made on their products. We accomplished this by using a silicone stomach model that is the shape and size of a human stomach, making a mechanical roller system to mimic the physical contractions of a human stomach, and writing software to monitor and adjust pH and volume in the system to mimic these fluctuations in a human stomach.
How will this device be utilized in your new job?
KL: My team at Cardinal Health is the R&D enteral access team; we do research and development on the feeding tube products produced by Cardinal Health. The device that my senior design group created will be used to help our team identify the physiological performance of our feeding tubes and improvements we can make in their design. As a small part of my role here, I will be leading the effort to improve the stomach device and eventually implement it for testing.
Talk about the senior design competition.
KL: All the engineering senior design teams do a poster presentation at the Senior Design Symposium. From this symposium, one group from each engineering type at SLU receives the Most Outstanding Senior Project award. In addition to receiving the award for biomedical engineering, my group was chosen to be a part of the Senior Legacy Symposium, which includes senior projects from across the entire University to showcase the contributions of the seniors at SLU. Projects are selected for the symposium by faculty in their degree program. Each department/academic unit may select up to three projects to present during the event.
Why did you choose biomedical engineering, and what are your career plans?
KL: I have always had an interest in the medical field and a curiosity for how and why things work, and this is what pushed me to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. I also love the idea that engineers in this industry have a behind-the-scenes, yet monumental, impact on innovation and improvement of medical devices that can improve the health and safety of many people. With my degree, I want to continue working in the medical device industry to help advance medical devices for improving the health and safety of patients. I love working in the research and development area and hope to continue moving up in this field.