Meet David Jamison, a Biomedical Engineer and Biomechanics Expert Witness at Robson Forensic. Learn how David found a unique career path in biomedical engineering and hear his advice for graduating biomedical engineering students.
Learn more about our PhD Program in Biomedical Engineering today.
My name is David Jamison. I'm a biomedical engineer and biomechanics expert with Robson Forensic.
What does a Biomechanics Expert do?
In my job, I do a lot of injury causation cases. So these are situations where you have a motor vehicle crash, slip and fall, or a fall from a height, or something where the cause of the injury is in dispute.
We look at the totality of the information that's given to try and figure out, knowing what the mechanism of the injury is, is it consistent with whatever happened in this particular instance?
How did you find your job?
I found out about the field while I was here at Drexel because of all the different outside collaborations in which Drexel participates. I kind of knew about the the field while I was here, and then really the the position itself kind of fell into my lap.
I was teaching at Villanova and I met with a student who needed assistance in the course she was taking. She was full-time employee of Robson and then getting her master's part-time.
When she emailed me I saw this Robson Forensic in her signature line and I was like, "Oh that's interesting, what do they do?".
I ended up talking to her boss. One thing turned into another, now she's my boss.
Why did you choose to study biomedical engineering?
Initially, I wanted to be a doctor, like a physician. I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, and I learned after going to a summer ten-day intensive camp for high school students about medicine that I didn't want to be a doctor anymore.
What can I do that's still kind of in that realm, but but doesn't involve me having to take MCATs and go to medical school? I always had a love of math and science so, I kind of put two and two together and biomedical engineering is what came out.
Do you have any advice for graduating students?
My advice for future BME grads is to keep your options open.
Being in an institution like this there are so many different opportunities to learn about what's out there. I attended several different career panels while I was here as a PhD student just to figure out what what are my options.
Not everyone wants to go the typical path of becoming a postdoc and an assistant professor after they get their PhD. There's so many different things that you can get into that you may not even know exist right now.
Keep those options open and utilize what's around you here. There's a lot going on and if you tap into it you'll find something.
Do you participate in any professional societies?
I've been involved with National Society of Black Engineers for going on 15 years now as a member and in different board positions at different levels.
While I was an undergraduate student I was on the regional board for the Society. I've been involved as an undergraduate student as a graduate student and even now as a working professional.
Most recently, I was on the founding board for a special interest group for healthcare innovation. We actually do a lot of work trying to bridge that gap between folks who are in these biomedical and health care spaces and the actual companies that are doing work in those areas.
We are trying to really bring those two communities together especially when you talk about students and scholars of color who are underrepresented and you want to make sure that we have adequate representation.
What did you most enjoy about Drexel BIOMED?
There's a really good collaborative spirit and environment as a whole within Drexel and particularly within biomed students who are willing to work together and collaborate to get things done.
Obviously, Drexel has world-class researchers so that also helps when you're trying to learn best practices in research and understanding how to conduct studies, how to present your research, and what questions to even be asking.
The BIOMED School as a whole just had a wealth of different faculty to choose from and then even outside of the School, hence me working with Dr. Marcolongo.
Even though she's in a different department, again, there's that collaboration. It's that crosstalk between departments and ability to do research with somebody else but still getting that Biomedical Engineering degree.
What was the subject of your research?
I worked with Michele Marcolongo in the material science department and so the research that I did it was actually still more mechanically based. That's what my undergrad degree was in. I did mechanical characterization of the lumbar disc and the lumbar intervertebral discs under high impact loading.
We were actually working with the Department of Defense. There were high rates of injury amongst that naval boat operator population. The goal was to better understand how the disc behaves mechanically under those specific types of loads and then what the implications are for injury.
What do you teach at Drexel?
I'm currently teaching Biomechanics I. What I like about it is, for a lot of these students, it's really their first foray, getting a deep dive, into biomechanics.
Part of what we do in this course is we talk about what are different applications of biomechanics where do you see these things represented and how can you take what you're learning now and what kind of things might that apply to in the real world.