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Meet the JDRF Interns: Blesson John

July 14, 2011

Meet Blesson John! Blesson is one of our summer interns here at JDRF Dallas and will be a senior in the fall at Texas A&M University where he is a Biomedical Engineering major.

Blesson John

[Meet our other Interns: Caitlin Waters and Haley Cole]

The JDRF Greater Dallas Chapter is excited to have Blesson on board with us this summer. He will be assisting in many areas around the office including helping us with collecting and entering donations for the Walk to Cure Diabetes, providing support for our audit and helping around the office, putting his technical skills to work.  Read on to learn more about Blesson.

Q: What exactly is Biomedical Engineering for those of us who failed science?

Biomedical Engineering is basically a field that applies general principles of science and engineering to medicine, in order to help save lives and improve quality of life overall.

Q: What brought you to JDRF?

As a biomedical engineering student, I have spent some of my time in school doing diabetes research. The lab I work for was fortunate to receive some research funding from JDRF, so when I came home to Dallas for the summer and saw the opportunity to work at JDRF, I applied, because of my interest in diabetes research as well as the chance to look at my field from a unique angle.

Q: What do you want to do after graduating from Texas A&M?

After I finish my undergraduate degree, I would like to attend graduate school in biomedical engineering or materials science so that I can be better prepared to do research in the future.

Outside of this, my main passion is music production, which I am still not that great at, but am learning.  Someday, I’d like to have my own legitimate recording studio, so that I can work on my own projects as well as working part time as an independent music producer and audio engineer for other people.

Q: Tell us about your family?

My parents both came to the United States as immigrants in the mid 1980s and have worked hard to get our family to where we are today. I owe them a lot for the sacrifices they have made, and the values and faith they have instilled in me. My sister is going to be a freshman at UT-Dallas next year, and has been the target of my banter and corny sense of humor for the past 18 years, but has been a good sport about it. In summary, my family is awesome.

Q: Where have you traveled?

My family is originally from India (though I was born in Dallas), so I’ve been to India several times. India is a great place to visit, whether you are originally from India or just a tourist. I’ve enjoyed visiting big cities such as New Delhi and Bangalore as well as the smaller villages and towns where my relatives live, as they all offer different experiences.

Blesson on his trip to the U.K. (back row, far right) and receiving his Aggie Ring last year.

I haven’t been to India since I started college, but I did recently visit London for a week as part of my scholarship program at Texas A&M. I have fallen in love with so many aspects of the United Kingdom and would love to work there for some time after grad school.

Q: What is your connection to diabetes?

As I said before, I have been fortunate to be involved in diabetes research through the biomedical engineering department at Texas A&M. Last summer, I was in a research program in College Station, working under Dr. Mike McShane. After the summer, I liked what I was doing enough to work in the lab part time during the school year, during both the spring and fall semesters.

To give you a brief summary of what I’m involved in, my lab is working on fluorescence based glucose sensors that you can implant under the skin with a syringe, which allow you to monitor your glucose levels whenever you want simply by shining fluorescent light of a certain wavelength on the sensors. When fluorescent materials in the sensors are exposed to certain wavelengths of fluorescent light, they respond by emitting their own light of some other specific wavelength. The glucose level in the body can be determined based on the intensity of emitted fluorescence signal from the sensors.

We hope that one day we can even use smart-phones incorporated with these sensors as an easy monitoring tool (see picture below).  For diabetics, the best part about this new method is that it will require no more finger pricking!  I’ve read that a lot of diabetics get tired of the inconvenience of pricking their fingers over the years so they stop monitoring. This is potentially harmful because neglect can lead to other complications such as heart disease and eye problems, so this simple diagnostic tool could potentially prevent a lot of other bad things from happening. For more information on this stuff, feel free to email me or visit this website.

”]Q: What has been the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

I’m passionate about my school, Texas A&M, and love to watch the Aggies play sports. One of the coolest things that I did this past school year was to attend the Texas A&M vs. Nebraska game this season in College Station. If you think your school has school spirit that can match the 12th Man of Texas A&M, you’re probably wrong. I’ve been to about a dozen other A&M football games, but this one was definitely special.

The school was trying to set a world record for number of students at a football game (and they did), so they crammed as many people as possible into Kyle Field. I woke up at 6:00 am on a school day to get in line for tickets, and I barely got them in time for my 9:45 class later that morning (and they were sold out about 20 minutes later).

The atmosphere was so rowdy and electric that my ears were ringing when it finally stopped. Meanwhile, Nebraska kept committing penalties because they weren’t used to the sheer volume in the stadium. In fact, I was actually sitting next to a guy from Nebraska and he told me that he’d never seen anything like this before. It was a very defensive game as no team scored a touchdown, and we ended up winning 9-6. I ended up losing my voice for about a week from all the yelling. The whole experience is kind of hard to put into words, but this video helps to sum it up.

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To learn more about the JDRF Dallas chapter, visit our JDRF Dallas website!

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