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MIT-CIMIT winner will research ways to assess neuromuscular disease

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Olumuyiwa Ogunnika
Olumuyiwa Ogunnika

The Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) and the MIT School of Engineering have recently announced the award of the first MIT-CIMIT Medical Engineering Fellowship. Olumuyiwa Ogunnika, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, will use the $50,000 award to support research toward a device for assessing neuromuscular disease.

Thomas L. Magnanti, dean of the MIT School of Engineering, said of the new joint award, "Since medicine and health care are among the most critical issues that we all face, we are delighted to partner with CIMIT in offering the new MIT-CIMIT Medical Engineering Fellowship. It not only provides support for one of our outstanding students to pursue advancements in this arena, but it also sends the message that medical engineering is important to all of us."

The award was announced at the CIMIT Innovation Congress held in Boston in November.

According to Dr. John A. Parrish, director of CIMIT, a key goal of the fellowship program is to enable promising graduate students to continue their research in areas that are sometimes underfunded. These include medical device development, software for use in clinical practices and the engineering of medical environments.

"We are pleased to award this fellowship to such a deserving student whose objectives for graduate study are closely aligned with the intent of the award," said Parrish.

Magnanti added that MIT, and particularly its School of Engineering, has an obligation to contribute to developing solutions to society's most pressing issues.

Ogunnika's current project involves the development of an integrated circuit for a handheld electrical impedance probe for the assessment of neuromuscular disease. His other interests are in the application of analog and mixed-signal circuit design techniques to solving biomedical instrumentation and diagnostic problems.

"I see tremendous opportunity for fruitful collaboration between engineers and clinicians, leading to significant advances in diagnostic technology for a wide variety of diseases," Ogunnika said.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Ogunnika, known as Muyiwa, grew up in Nigeria. After returning to the United States, he earned a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York in 2001 as valedictorian of his class. He held positions at Intel, IBM and the Los Alamos National Laboratory before coming to MIT.

CIMIT is a Boston-based organization that provides financial and mentoring support for promising medical initiatives as part of its mission to improve patient care.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 2006 (download PDF).

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