Hi, my name is Ritu Raman, and I’m the proud daughter of two amazing engineers. My firstmemories are of growing up in Kenya, watching my parents build communication towers in rural villages. We would travel to these villages every weekend and I would play with the local children while watching my parents connect the villages to the rest of the world. These experiences with my family taught me that innovation can be used to solve many of the problems we face, and this inspired me to become a scientist. Growing up, I attended ten schools with instruction in five languages across three continents. I grew up with a lot of different kinds of people, and a lot of them wanted to be scientists too, but they didn’t have the education and resources needed to achieve their dreams. This is why my goal is to give the next generation of diverse inventors the tools they need to build solutions to the problems we face as a shared global community. Together, I believe we can build a better world.
Dr. Ritu Raman is an engineer, and in the same way that people build machines with wood, metal,or plastics — she builds machines out of living cells! Growing up in 10 schools with instruction in 5 languages across 3 continents taught Ritu that adapting to your surroundings is the key to surviving and thriving in diverse dynamic environments. Continual adaptation is something Ritu learned from nature. She is fascinated by how biological materials adapt their form and function in response to their environment, and this inspires her research at MIT. Ritu’s PhD focused on using skeletal muscle to make robots walk. These “biohybrid” robots can do things that synthetic robots cannot, like get stronger when exercised, or heal when damaged. She now studies how we can build biohybrid implantable devices that sense and respond to individualized patient needs. Ritu is the proud daughter of two engineers who taught her that, with a good education, every individual can drive positive social change.