The January 2012 explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan that cost a family member his legs sparked an interest in biomedical engineering in then-12-year-old Garrett Regan.

A 2018 graduate of Wilmington High School and currently majoring in biomedical engineering at Wright State University, Regan remembers being fascinated when his cousin – Josh Sams from Clinton County, who served in the US Marine Corps – was fitted with prosthetics.

“It was his adaptation to the use of prosthetics that introduced me to the field,” said Regan. “Prosthetics were my first passion in biomedical engineering. “

Sams told the News Journal on Tuesday: “Anytime my situation can be used for a positive outcome, it is a good thing.”

Sams added that Garrett and his sister Kelsi Regan are both passionate about their jobs, and he knows they will do great things and help others down the road. Kelsi, like Garrett, was moved by Sams’ situation.

The Regan siblings grew up near Wilmington on an Angus cattle farm. After graduating from WHS, Garrett enrolled at Wright State.

“Wright State had one of the few colleges in the area to offer a dedicated biomedical engineering program,” Regan said. Kelsi (WHS class of 2014) graduated from Wright State in 2018 with a degree in Biological Sciences.

Kelsi chose PTA (physical therapy assistant) as her career field based on the testimony of what Sams has had to face on a daily basis, said Kelsi and Garrett’s mother, Andrea Regan, a familiar face around the county courthouse. de Clinton where she works as deputy county treasurer.

Garrett Regan said the highlight of his time at the university was his participation in Wright’s State chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a student-led group that focuses on engineering services projects. based on needs. He is currently vice-president.

The group is working on a project in the Russ Nature Reserve in Beavercreek by designing an elevated viewing platform. The students are also involved in an international sanitation project in Uganda, working remotely until COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted by forwarding their designs to engineers across the African nation.

In 2020, Regan and the chapter oversaw the installation of a hand washing station at a secondary school in Uganda. Months after returning home, the students learned that the station had been replicated in another neighborhood near the school.

“This is one of the biggest projects I’ve been involved with not only in college but personally – seeing what you can do by giving someone something as simple as a car wash. hands, ”he said. “You give them something to wash their hands and then there’s a global pandemic. You don’t think about the impact you can have until something like this happens.

Focus internship

Regan is an intern at Miamisburg-based Riverain Technologies, which develops software tools to improve early disease detection.

Regan focused on the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. One of the diseases he works on is aortic aneurysm, a balloon-shaped bulge in the aorta that can lead to its rupture and a high death rate.

The goal is to give radiologists a more efficient and faster way to detect aneurysms on a computed tomography (CT) scan. With the large number of CT scans to review, the idea is to identify critical cases more quickly and get patients to the operating room quickly for what could be life-saving surgery.

Regan uses machine learning, the use of computer algorithms to identify specific characteristics of a target image to improve classification accuracy once the machine learning model is provided with numerous examples.

“What you’re trying to do is teach a computer what a disease looks like so it can identify it,” he said. “If you can spot something like that on a chance CT scan early on, you prevent patients from going back to the hospital with a ruptured aorta, where they have a 20% chance of survival.”

Regan, who started his internship in May and continues to work at the company one day a week, said the most rewarding part of his job is knowing it will save lives.

“When this work is done and marketed for different hospitals, it comes out somewhere to try to help people and prevent people from dying,” he said.

Upon graduation, Regan hopes to earn a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on machine learning.

Gary Huffenberger of the News Journal contributed to this article.

Clinton County veteran Josh Sams, left, receives the Wilmington FFA Veteran of the Year award from Wilmington FFA Vice President Mariah Knowles in 2019.

Kelsi regan

Garrett Regan’s interest in biomedical engineering began when he saw cousin Josh Sams’ adaptation to prosthetics.

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