A turn of events

A simple search online gave Siddharth an opportunity to work and learn at Harvard University, MIT, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

March 09, 2019 12:17 pm | Updated 12:19 pm IST

Since my third year of college, I was inclined towards doing a research-based internship. So, I did what anyone would do in this situation — Google search! During my search, I came across an internship portal. After my initial search, I found an internship at IIT Bombay in the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering. They were working on Lab-on-Chip and had collaborations with a few research labs overseas. This piqued my interest. After months of research, I finally came across a topic which resonated with my interest in mechanical design and my knowledge of CAD, 3D printing, and bioinks.

For the entire semester, I learnt more about the domain and kept looking for internship opportunities simultaneously. I applied to more than 100 labs and got around 10 confirmations. Out of all these confirmations, the internship at Khademhosseini Lab, a joint lab of Harvard University, MIT, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was the most exciting. The selection procedure for an internship at the lab was quite tedious. I submitted a statement of purpose followed by two interview rounds and a few written rounds. I was asked a lot of questions during the interview related to mechanical engineering and design. I was given a problem statement wherein I had to devise a mechanism for figuring out the stalling torque of a DC and stepper motor at any given RPM within a minute.


Walking into MIT, admiring the view and finally reaching the lab, for a moment I had to assure myself that it was actually happening. The day started with a brief introduction to Dr. Ali Khademhosseini and the teams. I was given a week’s time to choose which subgroup I wanted to be associated with. After speaking to all the employees, I took an informed decision to join Dr. Shrike’s subgroup as it best suited my interests. I was responsible for mechanical design and rapid prototyping and developed four different projects which were, an inexpensive handheld 3D Bioprinter for treating spinal injuries; a Rapid Multi-Material Bio 3D printer device (RMB), using scanning projection stereolithography DMD; a compressed sensing-based image reconstruction in 3D micro-imaging tool; and a 3D printed Expansion Mini Microscopy (ExMM) platform for a low-cost diagnostic kit for detecting Malaria. Dr. Shrike was a great leader and guided me throughout my internship. I learnt the etiquette and protocol of research there. During my internship, I also participated in several hackathons at Harvard Medical School, Boston University, Northeastern University, and MIT.

The lab was famous for its diversity; there were people from all across the world. When I look back, I know my career got a real boost there, and I even improved as a person. The journey that started with a simple search ended with me experiencing the work and fun at MIT.

Siddharth Kumar Sah, a student of BITS Pilani KK Birla, Goa, is now working as a Research Assistant at SUTD-MIT Design Centre in Singapore.

Courtesy: Internshala.com

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