Lucas Johnston: Preventing Injuries through Orthopaedic Biomechanics

NAE Grand Challenge Scholar Profile

  • Major:  Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
  • Grand Challenge:  Engineering Better Medicines
  • GC Advisor:  Dr. Lou Defrate
  • Project Title:  Applications of Orthopedic Biomechanics for Injury Prevention, Analysis, and Treatment

By Lucas Johnston

As a member of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, I am integrating all of my experience in technical research, interdisciplinary learning, service, entrepreneurship and global perspective to expand my knowledge and focus my capabilities to help solve the Grand Challenge of Engineering Better Medicines and Medical Technology. This is yet another building block through which I hope to use my double major in mechanical and biomedical engineering to make life better for someone.

"My experience as a Grand Challenge Scholar has helped me to discover and define a life purpose, find endless exciting applications and uncover a personal passion for my trade."

I have focused my research on analyzing the applications of orthopedic biomechanics for injury prevention, analysis and treatment. I have performed research in the Duke K-Lab with total joint replacement patients, studying their recovery process while analyzing the risk of ACL injury and different ACL reconstruction methods in the Duke Orthopedic Bioengineering Lab. Presently, I am working in a summer internship at GE Healthcare, where I have reinforced my knowledge from school with industry experience and the entrepreneurial process of taking a new technology from idea to a successful market outcome. To supplement my education and work experience, I have also traveled to El Salvador with Engineers without Borders to design, build and implement a pedestrian bridge in an underprivileged community.

My experience as a Grand Challenge Scholar has helped me to discover and define a life purpose, find endless exciting applications and uncover a personal passion for my trade. Through this program, I have expanded my education with interdisciplinary coursework that will enhance my understanding of medicine and disease. I have also learned the market practices that I need to master to achieve the practicality of the new technologies I plan to build or improve on to help prevent and/or treat disease and injury. Finally, the combination of my academic work, research, service, industry experience and global exposure have fueled my desire and forged my determination to use my talents and skills in a very practical manner to give something back and to make a real difference in the world.