Jordan’s graduate experience at WPI has strengthened his research and offered a new perspective of its purpose in the world. Within his biomedical engineering discipline, Jordan’s work with value creation and innovation has given him new insight to his innovative research on growing stem cells using plant leaves.
Jordan’s mentors have always extolled the importance of value creation—where innovation is directed toward solving problems, not for discovery alone. They have taught Jordan how to look at research through the lens of ensuring that it meets a need in society.
WPI’s size helped foster this kind of close collaboration between a student researcher and a faculty member, and Jordan believes it elevates what’s possible. These deeper connections and the project-based approach at WPI have helped him find academic avenues and collaborative partners that inspire and motivate him.
“Value creation has now become the driving force of my endeavors,” he says. Jordan’s innovative work uses decellularized spinach leaf scaffolds to grow stem cells that originate in living cows. His goal is to grow structured meats (cow muscle) in the lab using this method.
“As I got more involved with the lab's research, the value creation teachings turned into practice,” he says. “My research interests have shifted from revolving around the science itself to revolving around the practical application of the science.”
The approach to solving problems and creating meaningful work also has a personal impact, says Jordan. Looking at the needed application of research creates an empathy that ties into the work he does and how he communicates his plans to others.
This kind of broad consideration of research and knowledge application prepares students for the workforce, he says. When you fold value creation into the mix, the effect is amplified. “It encourages you to think about how your actions impact the lives of others,” he says, “and how you can assist them.”