University of Maryland

Fischell Bioengineering Department

3135 Kim Engineering Building

College Park, MD 20742

P: (301) 405 8250

F: (301) 314 6868




Janina Vaitkus                       




I am junior here at the University of

Maryland, majoring in Bioengineering

with a Pre-Medicine track and minoring in

Spanish Language.  My inspiration to go

into the field of bioengineering initially

stemmed from my experiences being on

my high school’s F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team. 

Dean Kamen, the founder of the program,

showed us his new model of a prosthetic arm – and I knew that I wanted to have a career that involved helping others through the fusion of engineering and the life sciences. 


As I took classes in the Bioengineering department and was introduced to the wide range of its applications, I found that I was innately drawn to those pertaining to medicine and human health.  As part of the Gemstone program, I proposed a research topic to our cohort that successfully made it through as a team project.  As a group of 12, we are investigating a potential drug delivery mechanism through the blood brain barrier.  The research process really fascinated me, and it was at that point that I talked to Helim, our team mentor, about pursuing individual research with him in the Cell Biophysics Lab.  Seeing with my own eyes that our tiny cells have so much going on, through my early stages of research, is absolutely incredible, and I know without a doubt that research will be a huge part of what I continue doing even after my undergraduate years are over.


My career goal now is to become physician-scientist, where I can perform incredibly impactful research, teach others, and put my research to use in medical context.  I have fulfilled Pre-Medicine requirements because I hope to attain this goal by earning dual MD/PhD degrees in Medical School.


Outside of academic classes and research, I have no problem staying busy.  I am

co-captain of the University of Maryland’s  Women Club Lacrosse Team, which I have

been a member of since I came to UMD.  I also work part time at Anne Arundel Medical Center working as an Emergency Department Scribe, and I volunteer at a local Children’s Clinic during my school breaks.  I love spending my time with my sister, boyfriend, and family and friends, and I also enjoy painting/drawing, camping, and traveling, whenever I get the chance.