Department of Engineering Science

Ian Kim

Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Biomedical Engineering (BME) Class of 2008

Photograph of Ian Kim

Biomechanical Engineer (2010)
Heartflow, Silicon Valley, USA

For a long time in high school, I had wanted to become a surgeon, but I realised that I valued creating things that nobody had before. This, combined with my interests in maths and the physical sciences while growing up helped me make the decision to pursue Bachelor of Engineering degree specialising in Biomedical Engineering (BME) at The University of Auckland between 2005 and 2008.

In this newer field of engineering that interfaces with medicine, I believe that there is a huge opportunity for conventional engineering tools and methods to provide an innovative platform on which new and exciting technologies can be conceived and developed to positively impact 21st century society’s biggest health problems.

My BME specialisation educated me in the fundamentals including engineering design, instrumentation, mathematical modelling and computational techniques. It was also flexible, as I got to choose topics ranging from cellular and molecular biology to neuroscience and cardiovascular biology. Summer studentships and the fourth year research project were great learning experiences, giving me a good idea of what the research environment is like.

I received a Fulbright award to study for a Master’s degree in Bioengineering at Stanford University starting late 2009. In addition to taking engaging classes and seminars specialising in the areas of medical devices and computation, there were plenty of opportunities to network with medtech entrepreneurs. I also tried my hand as a teaching assistant, which was a valuable experience.

I am currently working fulltime as a biomechanical engineer at Heartflow, a medical device start-up in Silicon Valley. I am involved in constructing patient-specific models of the heart and using methods that employ computational fluid dynamics to predict the effects of heart disease on blood flow through the heart. This technology is currently entering clinical trials and promises to significantly improve outcomes and reduce costs in cardiovascular medicine.