Timothy Schisselbauer has wanted to be a physician ever since he spent a day while in high school shadowing his uncle, John W. Patterson, MD, the chief of emergency services for St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The member of the College of Engineering’s first four-year undergraduate bioengineering cohort will begin making that dream a reality this summer when he enters the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University as a recipient of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine Academic Merit Award. A Temple University Honors Program member and President’s Scholar with a 3.98 GPA, he scored in the 100th percentile on the MCAT entrance exam.
“I’ve always been interested in medicine, but my dad, Paul Schisselbauer, a mechanical engineer who graduated from Temple in 1985, sold me on learning engineering,” says Schisselbauer, who grew up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster. “Compared to just studying biology, I was interested in the problem-solving skills engineers have, which I thought would be useful in medical diagnosis.”
At Temple, the Diamond Peer Teacher has helped students succeed in their organic chemistry classes. He also volunteered during his junior year in both the cardiac intensive care unit and emergency department of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition, since spring 2014 he has spent more than 950 hours investigating tissue engineering—specifically early-state spinal cord healing research—in the laboratory of Peter I. Lelkes, professor and chair of the Bioengineering Department. “It’s different than being in the classroom, because there’s no textbook answer you can look up, so you have to figure out for yourself what the results mean,” says Schisselbauer. Last summer he also was a research associate at Jefferson University Hospital, where he screened and enrolled emergency room patients in various clinical trials.
Summing up his medical interest, he says. “I was really interested in the sciences, but after my first shadowing experience with my uncle I saw how medicine is really a way to apply science to help people, and that really appeals to me. And I feel Temple bioengineering has prepared me as well as any pre-med student.”