ECE undergraduate student researching laparoscopic camera images alongside faculty experts

DETROIT (Feb. 7, 2013) – Jessica Young’s research goal involves the creation of a camera that would give surgeons more autonomy in the operating room. She’s part of a team of researchers hoping to help eliminate unnecessary communication between a surgeon and a camera assistant during laparoscopic surgery.


Young is a senior in Wayne State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Like many undergraduate students at Wayne State, she works directly alongside internationally renowned researchers and scholars. This particular project, under the leadership of professors Abhilash Pandya and Brady King and in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, could have significant ramifications in operating rooms around the world.

“Laparoscopic surgery today requires the use of a camera assistant, which burdens the surgeon with unnecessary communication as well as adds an additional person to an already crowded operating room,” Young said. “Our camera would give the surgeon more autonomy, but will not burden the surgeon with additional workload.”

Young, who expects to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in May 2013, also works extensively with Pandya in the College of Engineering’s Computer Assisted Robot Enhanced Systems Lab.

“I was interested in the work Dr. Pandya does with medical robotics and in expanding my programming skills,” she said. “I have learned a great deal from participating in research with him and am very grateful for the opportunity.”

According to Young, the ability to conduct research as an undergraduate student was one of the major reasons she enrolled at Wayne State.

“I wanted to go into electrical engineering because I enjoy critical thinking and consistently being challenged. The applications are constantly changing, which keeps it exciting,” she said. “I believed Wayne State’s role as a research university would allow me to learn, experiment and grow.”

Wayne State has exceeded her expectations. In addition to her research efforts, Young has held multiple co-op placements and internships, and is the current president of Wayne State’s student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

“Wayne State provides a collaborative and supportive environment. Professors really encourage students to get involved. Many of my extracurricular experiences have reinforced the things I’ve learned in school and helped me understand the practical applications of what I am learning. I believe they also have made me more appealing to potential employers.”

Young has accepted a position in American Axle and Manufacturing Inc.’s College Graduate in Training program. She soon will begin her master’s degree in computer systems and applications at Wayne State, where she will continue to conduct research in an effort to positively impact the greater good.

“I look forward to starting the next chapter and investigating new theories, ideas and projects,” she said.

Undergraduate research is one of the five pillars to a Wayne State engineering and computer science education. Visit to learn more.

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students. For more information about engineering at Wayne State University, visit

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