Phani Gaddipati has always been extremely curious about how things work and what can be done to improve them. Born in New Mexico, and raised in Colorado Springs, Phani grew up with parents and siblings who were inspired by what’s possible in the fields of technology and science. His father, who had a successful IT career as an engineer, was influential in his children’s career paths–Phani and the rest of his siblings are now in medical school.

Phani spent many hours learning by reading his father’s collection of science and technology books. Phani’s curiosity was piqued and he pursued a path at the intersection of technology and medicine by participating in science fairs, and through consistent dedication to advancing his education. Phani’s hard work paid off when, upon graduating high school, he was accepted to Johns Hopkins University.

Learning Fundamentals at Johns Hopkins and Extracurricular Projects

Phani was not only successful at Johns Hopkins, he thrived in experiences that guided him toward his future in engineering-infused medical training. As a biomedical engineering major, Phani learned a great deal about the technology that enhances and assists a doctor’s work. For the first time, Phani began to think more deeply about what could be possible by focusing on engineering and medicine together.

During his junior year in the undergraduate program, Phani worked on projects that showed him what he could accomplish by gaining medical knowledge in addition to his engineering experience, one of which was HemoGlobe. During his sophomore year, Phani played an important role as the sole developer for the Android version of the HemoGlobe app–an app that monitors hemoglobin and promises extraordinary impact through broader diagnostic and medical care in developing countries throughout the world.

HemoGlobe, Phani Gaddipati, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
An early revision of the HemoGlobe system.

Following his undergraduate education, Phani worked toward his master’s degree at Johns Hopkins where he and a group of his classmates shadowed a physician performing a colorectal surgery. Complications arose after the surgery, revealing the high-mortality rates which can emerge from anastomotic leaks. In response, Phani and his team sought to minimize complications like these through their new initiative, RemovAL.

From brainstorming, to prototyping, to working with clinicians, Phani and his classmates pursued the process of designing and developing a device to respond to the devastating complications they observed. They worked with the FDA to ensure regulatory compliance, developed a business plan, performed initial swine trials, and passed this project off to their clinical sponsor for further implementation.

“It was kind of an accumulation of experiences,” Phani explained. “Seeing all the different aspects to being on the research side, but then being on the clinical side, and having the opportunity to see across that entire breadth as a physician.”

RemovAL, Phani Gaddipati, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phani and his teammates implanting the removAL device during an in-vivo swine study.

Post-Graduation Experiences and Going to Medical School

After graduating from Johns Hopkins with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s degree in bioengineering innovation and design, Phani worked as a software developer at Tissue Analytics, a start-up company focused on developing software to digitally analyze wounds. Phani spent a year in the position and found the experience fulfilling as he appreciated the fresh environment of a start-up company. There, he dove into his work in an environment that allowed him to focus more closely on finding the most innovative ways to go about his work and the impact it created. Phani enjoyed the benefits of a young company with their priorities set on innovating solutions.

Driven by Curiosity

After being a part of many groundbreaking projects, Phani knew that he was still striving to attend medical school and began researching what might be a good fit. He discovered Carle Illinois College of Medicine and realized he wanted to continue his education at the intersection of medicine and engineering. Coming from his undergraduate and graduate studies in biomedical engineering, he felt that the college’s curriculum added a new layer of medical education that could expand his career path. Looking at what Carle Illinois offers students, he was especially glad he would not have to compromise his desire to explore engineering and medicine together.

Current Accomplishments and the Future

As Phani pursues his medical degree at Carle Illinois, his educational training has expanded to include a focus on humanistic care, tactically applied by interacting with patients in the clinic and practicing his new skills on simulated patients. Phani feels that with each patient he meets, he is not only learning about each individual, but also gaining knowledge about what the Champaign-Urbana area offers.

“Before coming to medical school, people always said it’s a lot of work,” said Phani. “What’s kind of surprising is that I am doing a lot of work but it doesn’t feel like work, because I’m learning about things I’m interested in.”

Phani is currently immersed in an educational environment that facilitates his lifelong interest in finding solutions. His classes at Carle Illinois provide him with opportunities to use engineering practices to tackle challenges within health care. Phani’s experience is unique because the curriculum provides a foundational medical education, while also preparing him to explore how to apply engineering principles to make health care better. Phani plans to practice medicine after medical school and eventually move into the medical technology industry where he can develop innovative solutions to the challenges of today’s medical field.

“I think progress is what motivates me,” Phani explained. “I want to make some kind of contribution to push the technology forward but to also use that in clinical practice to create better clinical outcomes.”

“I think progress is what motivates me,” Phani explained. “I want to make some kind of contribution to push the technology forward but to also use that in clinical practice to create better clinical outcomes.”

The generosity of people like you made it possible for Phani and his classmates to attend Carle Illinois with scholarships.