BME Student Anibal Morales

FIU is an Opportunity Provider.

Anibal Morales, driven by his grandfather’s cardiovascular condition, felt enormously interested in heart transplants, artificial hearts, and all the world surrounding something so familiar to him. He knew Biomedical Engineering was the right path to take in his professional career. Additionally, Anibal was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia that inspired him to investigate and learn more about pacemakers. His interest in the electrical aspect of devices opened a whole range for him. Anibal decided to add Electrical Engineering in his studies and merged it with BME.

Now, Anibal is recognized as the BME Outstanding Bachelor’s Degree Graduate for his commitment and hard work for the Biomedical Engineering field.

I was truly humbled when I received notice of being the BME Outstanding Graduate. I realized that all of the sacrifices and efforts I put into my seven-year academic journey were worth it, including and emphasizing the stress that I had to go through during my last year while taking the senior design projects for both BME and EE. I still remember how our team consistently depended on Coladass. But all-in-all, I know that this is a push and motivation to keep working hard for what is next on my career, especially when my BME professors believe that I have the potential to carry on into the next level of my career.

Senior Design Project was one of the most challenging moments for Anibal during his studies. The juries selected his team project as one of the most outstanding pieces of research. Collaborating with TissueTech, Inc., they worked with a BioBot Basic bioprinter that could extrude thin and thick layers of gels; their goal was to prototype a bio-printed membrane for drug delivery.

I learned so many things through a trial-and-error method. On the one hand, there is the aspect of team dynamics. Inevitable, all teams go through Tuckman’s stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, and performing…. Dr. Joshua Hutcheson played an instrumental role in our success. His guidance and mentorship helped us self-reflect on our methodology and reasoning. Our team’s efforts, struggles, and achievements included Dr. Hutcheson.

Anibal has always been a research enthusiast. His desire for learning has taken him to travel the world and experience all types of adventures while studying. He worked at FIU’s Applied Research Center.

He coded strategies to merge robot autonomy and manual control for human-robot interactions at Argonne National Laboratory and supported the Commercial Crew Program to develop remotely operated robots in response to the SpaceX Crew Dragon engine failure at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Anibal was invited to Sweden to attend the Nobel Lectures and traveled to Iceland as part of the GREEN program.

I truly believe that FIU is an opportunity provider. While studying, I was able to network a lot that allowed me to try many aspects of life. When I got involved in research, it was the moment when my life changed. Science further opened my doors to opportunity.

Anibal will continue to fulfill his passion for robotics; one of his most significant interest is the use of exoskeletons that give humans the ability to perform tasks that require additional strength and endurance.

He is convinced that through Biomedical Engineering it is possible to form solutions to biomedical issues with both instruments and materials that surrounds us.

Exoskeletons are currently being used at NASA for space exploration and at the Department of Energy for nuclear-decommissioning activities. The use of exoskeletons can be translated to therapeutic rehabilitation in people that have suffered extremity injuries. They can help people walk again or lift objects that would have been unbearable. That is what I love about robotics: its flexibility and applicability to a wide range of real-life issues that improve living standards in the community.