Southeast 4.0 Grad Eyes Biomedical Device Start-up

atmaramani labBioengineering Doctoral Program Next Stop on Southeast Student’s Journey

Southeast Missouri State University senior Rahul Atmaramani dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, launching a biomedical devices start-up and revolutionizing the medical world.

A native of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mumbai, India, Atmaramani is graduating this weekend with a Bachelor of Science in biology, biomedical sciences option, with minors in chemistry and physics. He is also one of 12 students who will cross the stage at Southeast’s spring commencement ceremony May 14 with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Atmaramani’s next stop on his educational journey will be the University of Texas at Dallas, where he has been accepted into a prestigious doctoral program in bioengineering. He has been awarded a scholarship to conduct neuro-engineering research in the Department of Bioengineering in the Erik Johnson School of Engineering and Computer Science there and serve as a research assistant at the Neuronal Networks and Interfaces Laboratory, beginning in August. Atmaramani was also a nominee for the Eugene McDermott Graduate Fellowship.

“I have persistently worked to … be part of a prestigious and competitive doctoral program in neurosciences,” Atmaramani said. “Having achieved this dream seems nothing less than surreal. I feel humbled and at the same time energized with the strong academic and industrial venture that awaits me in the near future.”

Dr. James Champine, chair of Southeast’s Department of Biology, said, Atmaramani has distinguished himself academically at Southeast where he will graduate with honors from the Jane Stephens Honors Program after completing an honors project on cerebrovascular injuries.

“He is in the top 10 percent of the 1,000 students I have had in my general microbiology course, many of whom were pre-professional,” Champine said.

While at Southeast Atmaramani worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Nano-Bio-Engineering Lab under the supervision of Dr. Santaneel Ghosh, associate professor and director of this recently developed Interdisciplinary Research Platform.

atmaramani and ghsoh

Dr. Santaneel Ghosh, left, and Rahul Atmaramani

Atmaramani has played a key role among various student research groups, working under Ghosh’s supervision in Southeast’s Nano-Bio-Engineering Laboratory on numerous research projects, which have resulted in several journal publications and presentations at national and international conferences, in the areas of:

  • “Photo-magnetic treatment of neurons by multifunctional nanostructures;”
  • “Enhanced proliferation of the PC12 neural cells on untreated, Nano-textured glass coverslips;”
  • “Photo magnetic irradiation mediated multimodal therapy of neuroblastoma cells using clusters of synergistic nanostructures;” and
  • “Modulation of GAP -43 protein expression in the presence of Nano textured substrates and optical irradiation mediated neurite outgrowth from PC12 neural model cells.”

“Being an undergraduate researcher has tailored my character and mind to move seamlessly into a Ph.D. program,” Atmaramani said. “A doctoral degree will bolster my efforts as a researcher by maintaining the core principles of the pursuit of knowledge while offering a chance to become an expert and to possess cutting-edge skills that are required in a competitive market today.”

Champine says he and Atmaramani have discussed various career paths.

atmaramani“Rather than use his undergraduate education as a springboard to another profession, such as medicine, Rahul intends to pursue a research career as a principal investigator, perhaps in the private sector,” Champine said.

Ghosh says he is proud of all Atmaramani has accomplished.

“I am very glad for Rahul and wish him good luck and success in his graduate studies,” he said. “I feel extremely proud to say that the Southeast Nano-Bio-Engineering laboratory is producing outstanding graduates consistently for the past several years who possess excellent skill-sets, training and knowledge in this rapidly developing field to become successful not only in the field of academia and industry, but to remain in the forefront and lead future innovations.”

Atmaramani is well on his way.

“My future goal is to become an entrepreneur and step into the realm of start-ups in biomedical devices that will change the way we think about medicine in the coming decades,” he says. “I want to thank my advisor, Dr. Santaneel Ghosh. Without his efforts, guidance and sheer will to empower his students, this achievement would not have been possible.”

Ghosh says nano-bio-engineering is a growing discipline. Southeast’s Nano-Bio-Engineering Laboratory “has generated a great deal of interest among STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – students,” he said. “I believe we will see more Rahuls in the future.”