Department of Engineering Science

Vignesh Kumar

Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Biomedical Engineering (BME) Class of 2009

Photograph of Vignesh Kumar

Product Development Engineer (2011)
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

During school I had often wondered what path I’d embark on after attending university; of all the available fields, engineering was the only one which stood out as something that could both interest me and provide a very fulfilling career path. Fast forward five odd years and I’ve completed my BE in Biomedical Engineering (between 2006 and 2009) and am now well entrenched as a Product Development Engineer, working in the Neonatal Resuscitation Development team of Fisher and Paykel Healthcare (FPH).

Since neonatal resuscitation is a focused market with very high risk patients, all engineers are expected to be proficient in adult physiology with an appreciation of neonatal respiratory anatomy and dynamics of lung function at birth. I can categorically say my degree in BME has helped in this regard. As part of my role, I work closely with many different engineering teams to help develop effective neonatal respiratory support and resuscitation devices, used primarily to treat premature babies who cannot initiate their own first breath after birth. The scope of my work is predominantly product development, with emphasis on part/tool design, plastics moulding, machining and prototyping, risk management & mitigation, performing clinical evaluation and trials in hospitals.

Some of the exciting projects I’m currently working on include new nasal interfaces for our BubbleCPAP range of products, and the redesign of our existing infant resuscitation device. I've also recently completed my first big project designing a new infant T-Piece resuscitation circuit, which has been received quite well by the international market.

I can’t stress enough that my BE in BME has placed me in good stead to further my career as an engineer, or as a researcher, both within New Zealand and on the global stage. Coincidentally, it’s also what got me placed in the developing field of neonatal care, allowing me to work on something that truly is unique.