PhD Spotlight: Morris Vanegas, PhD’21 – Bioengineering

I finished my PhD in bioengineering with a concentration in medical imaging. For my dissertation, I designed, built, and characterized three diffuse optical imaging systems—a smartphone-based oxygen saturation sensor, a modular brain imaging system, and a diffuse optical mammography instrument. Somehow, I managed to complete my thesis and successfully defend despite being distracted by the World Cup for the last month =)

After 12 years in Boston, in the summer of 2022 I moved to Miami to be closer to family (and closer to the sun).

I’ve started working at LeadingAgile, a boutique consulting firm that helps organizations transform into agile businesses. I am a managing consultant product specialist, providing management and technical coaching to individuals and teams as they adopt agile practices during their transformation.

This is a picture of me and my dog going out on a celebratory walk after a successful thesis defense =)

Advised by Associate Professor Qianqian Fang, Bioengineering

Morris Vanegas obtained his BS and MS degrees from MIT before joining the Computational Optics and Translational Imaging Lab (COTI Lab) in the Department of Bioengineering as a PhD student in the Fall of 2016. Since then, he has been the driving force for a number of research projects. In a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Morris applied his extensive skills in digital fabrication to develop mobile phone oximeters prototypes for use in low-income countries. He also contributed to a successful NIH BRAIN Initiative R01 grant submission to develop a wearable optical brain imaging system that has since led to a patent application. Morris has been leading the hardware and software design, fabrication, and testing of the probe, resulting in exciting progress toward building a one-of-a-kind modular, non-invasive brain imaging probe for monitoring stroke recovery. Outside of academia, Morris co-founded The Second L, which provides new professionals and those seeking transitions in careers and personal life with exposure to growth and wellness tools through experience-based mentorship models. He is also the acting director of TDC Makerspace, MIT’s first residential-based fabrication shop. Morris is a 2019 Latino 30 Under 30 recipient, a 2018 MIT Impact Fellow, and a 2017 Dent the Future Scholar.

Related Faculty: Qianqian Fang

Related Departments:Bioengineering