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adutta_200w.jpgI am a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case Western Reserve University, USA. I study the biomechanics of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)-assisted gait in spinal cord injured individuals. FES is electrical stimulation of nerves to activate muscles and produce functional movement of the limbs. Currently, FES can produce cyclic movement of lower limbs and assist walker-supported ambulation after spinal cord injury (SCI). I am investigating better ways to coordinate FES with the voluntary movement to enhance balance and coordination during over-ground ambulation.

I got the opportunity to do my academic studies in two different countries, India and USA. In an economically developing country like India, the resources in academia for research are limited. Access to international journals is rarely available and most of the conferences are local. They do not provide students with the required exposure. Many a times, dissertation becomes a re-work of research that has already been done. ISB was founded to promote the study of biomechanics at the international level. Biomch-L list-server and Biomch-W knowledge repository are really helpful in providing students with the information they need. I wonder if it is possible for ISB to provide students with a mentor who can guide them during their research work. An industry-university partnership for research is possibly the solution when major monetary and technological investments are required, like for setting up a gait laboratory. This gives ISB an opportunity to provide expertise, foster this industry-university relationship, and make a difference.

I want to be elected the new student representative to connect ISB to the students in developing countries, who probably need its support the most. I see a big opportunity for student participation in these countries. I want to bring the idea of mentorship, where senior students and researchers can guide their juniors. Travel-grants can be provided to leading researchers to serve as guest speaker in ISB-sponsored workshops in developing nations. Workshops can be conducted in collaboration with the industry to demonstrate the state-of-art technologies.

A student needs to conduct independent research for a meaningful dissertation but s/he will need guidance from time to time. Conferences are becoming bigger in size and less interactive with increasing number of presentations being packed in shortest possible duration. The greatest contribution that ISB can make through its services is by providing mentorship at an international level. If a student sees an opportunity then there will be an interest and ISB can grow globally with increased student participation.