Kenneth Vieira studied the epidemiology of lung and colorectal cancers in Brazil and analyzed the national healthcare system’s ability to handle treatment of these diseases
Kenneth and his coworkers at Medtronic

Analyzing Brazil's healthcare system and disease treatment

This summer Kenneth Vieira, an MIT sophomore in Chemical-Biological Engineering, joined the São Paulo Research and Development team at Medtronic, one of the world’s leaders in medical technology, to help find solutions to complex challenges facing healthcare in Brazil. “I studied the epidemiology of lung and colorectal cancers in the country and analyzed the national healthcare system’s ability to handle treatment of these diseases,” he says. “My coworkers and I also advanced pre-product development research on optimal material for a device designed to dissolve in the body after surgery.” In another project, Kenneth worked with the R&D team to better understand and address the needs of local doctors with the Medtronic medical technologies. “I had the opportunity to visit multiple hospitals in São Paulo and watch neurovascular and surgical trainings for doctors. They studied real-life aneurysm cases, discussed techniques to fix them and practiced these methods on pigs,” Kenneth explains. “I saw first-hand how the doctor-engineer relationship is an important part of any R&D team working to solve problems and promote health.”

Working on a global team

Kenneth’s mentor and coworkers were committed to helping him make the most of his experience in Brazil. “It was challenging at first because I had not worked in an immersive environment like this,” shares Kenneth. “By working on a global team like the São Paulo R&D group, I was able to interact with people from around the world and learn how to adapt to new situations. It also gave me the chance to meet great new people and experience all the wonderful things the culture has to offer.”

My MIT-Brazil experience was truly unforgettable. I got to explore the great impact that I can have on health care as an engineer, and I got the chance to explore many of the wonders that make up the beautiful culture of Brazil.

An engineer's impact on healthcare

Now back on MIT’s campus, Kenneth plans to continue his hands-on education of chemical and biological engineering. “Seeing for myself what kind of impact engineers can have on healthcare was very enlightening for me,” Kenneth says. “I still have a lot to learn and discover at MIT, but this experience has shown me an international path I am excited to explore further.”  

  • Brazil
  • Internship
  • BioE/ChemE