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Global Pathways: Adrian Curtin
Dual PhD Drexelโ€”SJTU

Watch Dr. Adrian Curtin’s talk about his dual PhD degree experience with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Dr. Curtin is the recipient of Drexel’s 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Awards. He is a research engineer with demonstrated history of working in biomedical engineering research and data analysis. He has dual PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering with Drexel University and with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Learn more about our Global Dual MS / PhD Program in Biomedical Engineering today.


Hi, my name is Adrian Curtin. I'm a recent graduate of the Drexel University in Shanghai Jiao Tong University Dual PhD program in biomedical engineering.

I first learned about the dual degree program through Dr. Banu Onaral as I started my PhD at Drexel. The dual PhD program really felt like a unique experience that would not only enable my research goals but give me a broader international and collaborative experience.

This happened at exactly the time I was preparing to decide where I wanted to pursue my phd and what research areas I hope to contribute to.

I felt strongly that it would help me develop my research and put myself in new directions by having access to the combination of their resources.

In addition to rounding out your professional understanding there are also many great opportunities to travel, make friends, and immerse yourself in a different culture.

Having two PhDs from distinguished universities seemed to be something that could give my career a boost in a manner that sets myself apart from other researchers and academics.

Simply having such a broad research network, developed by building these partnerships with researchers and labs around the world, gives you a way to bootstrap future projects, and makes even your most ambitious goals more attainable.

I worked on developing a neuroimaging-guided cognitive battery, which employed functional near-infrared spectroscopy to assess the treatment of schizophrenia.

While I was doing this, I developed an interest in how neurostimulation approaches could aid in the treatment of diseases like schizophrenia, and how neuroimaging could be used as a set of biomarkers to guide this application.

This eventually developed into a new aspect of my dissertation work in which I explored transcranial magnetic stimulation and its use together with fNIRS together.

The project ended up focusing on the intersection of neurostimulation neuroimaging and cognition as cornerstone elements for mental health treatment.

Participating in research across the globe is something that can really put you ahead of the pack. Collaborative research in international context is unique because you're unable to pursue things that you might not be able to in either research environment alone.

Expertise, equipment, subject recruitment, and other resources can be pooled to achieve rather remarkable things.

But, those benefits are not really limited to the products of your work. The experience and relationships you build during that process are equally important. Although it's not possible to quantify that value, it's definitely enormous.

Pursuing a dual phd can teach you a lot about other cultures and how to collaborate, learn, and grow. It's much more than simply an international experience.

It's an opportunity to feel at home in new circumstances, to build bridges between people labs universities and nations.

They can give you an impressive edge on your resume, but the real confidence will come from the skills independence and adaptability you acquire as you go.

It may not always obvious, but even leadership is a form of collaboration, and the things that you achieve will give you practical real world skills that are even more important in today's world.

So, if you have the chance to do something like this, it's absolutely something you should do.

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