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MEMP Alum Profile: Fearless Flyer

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fearless Flyer

Alisa Morss Clyne, ‘06, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University

Before enrolling in HST’s Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) program, Alisa Morss Clyne was working as a mechanical engineer at General Electric and pursuing a Master’s Degree. In the midst of classes and writing her thesis — on the subject of aircraft engine maintenance — she attended a lecture about the biomechanics of the heart.

“It was fascinating,” she says. “I decided that I wanted to apply my work to helping people.”

She immediately started looking for joint programs in engineering and medicine. There was one small obstacle, however. Clyne hadn’t taken a biology class since high school. But she was undeterred, and also determined to leverage her strength in mechanical engineering to make up for the gap. “In reality, the concepts and process of studying aircraft engines and the heart or blood vessels are not that different,” she says in hindsight. Clyne is now an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Drexel University, specializing in how fluid flow and biochemical factors affect blood vessels and cardiovascular health.

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