October 2022 - BME Blaze: Christian Aurup

Oct 01 2022

In this monthly spotlight, get to know the alumni, students, and scientists of Columbia's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Read what our BME folks are up to, from our labs' latest research to our students' plans for the future, to our teams' innovations, start-ups, and other career successes.

We loved catching up with Columbia BME M.S. ('15), M.Phil ('19), and current Ph.D. candidate Christian Aurup as he told us about his experience at Columbia BME and his exciting plans to change the world.⁣ Read below to get to know Christian!


Christian Aurup


  • B.S. Biomedical Engineering (2014), University of Delaware
  • M.S. Biomedical Engineering (2015), Columbia University
  • M.Phil. Biomedical Engineering (2019), Columbia University
  • Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering (2022*), Columbia University

*Defending October 28th, 2022


Where are you from?

I was born in Denmark but moved to the U.K. at 18 months old and then to New Jersey at 6 years old.


What drew you to the field of Biomedical Engineering?

My starting major as an undergraduate student was Quantitative Biology but it was mostly theoretical and not very hands-on. My older brother was a Biomedical Engineer and it was exactly the hands-on application of mathematics and biology that I enjoyed learning.


What is your current role?

I am currently writing my dissertation and preparing to defend my Ph.D. thesis work in less than a month. I have spearheaded my lab's research into using focused ultrasound as a noninvasive means of modulation of the central nervous system. We have also further developed an ultrasound-based technique for noninvasive functional imaging of hemodynamic responses in the brain to focused ultrasound neuromodulation. I began experiments with mice near the start of my research career but have graduated to working with nonhuman primates, a link in the chain towards conducting research on human subjects where we hope to treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.


Why did you choose Columbia BME?

Two major factors led me to Columbia BME: the school's great reputation and its fantastic location right here in New York City. Being associated with a hospital, Columbia BME also has great resources for interdisciplinary research and no shortage of funding opportunities.


What are some of your favorite projects/memories from the program so far?

My favorite memories from the program involve attending and presenting at conferences around the world. I have been fortunate to share my research in many countries across multiple continents. By far my favorite such trip was to Kobe, Japan. I look forward to visiting again soon.


What was your proudest moment at Columbia so far?

My proudest moment at Columbia is getting the green light to schedule my defense date. I look forward to wrapping up my research and moving forward with the next undetermined phase of my life.


How has your experience with Columbia BME contributed to your goals?

Working at the UEIL has given me a great set of tools I can use in many different professions. I appreciate the most the wide range of opportunities that I have ahead of me.


Any words of wisdom or tips for prospective BME students?

Pursuing a Ph.D. will test the limits of your tenacity. It is typically a path full of failure and disappointment but that is the nature of living on the frontier of science. You go through waves of motivation so you should take advantage of every highly motivated period you have. Lastly, planning your dissertation should inform every step you take in your research. Taking on projects tangential to your primary goals can end up delaying your degree a great deal.


What are you excited about?

I am excited about finishing my degree and exploring all the options available to me regarding what comes next in life professionally. I am excited to sit at a different desk looking at a different screen with a different job title and have more disposable income.


Working at the UEIL has given me a great set of tools I can use in many different professions.

Christian Aurup

From left to right: Me in Iceland recently with a waterfall in the background

My colleague Erica Mccune testing a new EEG cap for her study.

Me walking out of a polling place. I've voted in every primary and general election since becoming a citizen in 2016.

Columbia BME Academics