New Faculty Spotlight: Melinda Lake-Speers

Melinda Lake-Speers

Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

After shadowing her father, a mechanical engineer, as part of a class in eighth grade, Melinda Lake-Speers was inspired to sign up for an introductory engineering and design course in high school.

“After that, I found out I liked the whole [engineering] process,” she said. “From brainstorming to making CAD drawings to building a final prototype.”

Her love for engineering continued to deepen and when she went on to study mechanical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, she discovered how she would put this engineering passion to use—solving healthcare challenges.

Now, Lake-Speers holds a master’s and PhD in mechanical engineering with a research focus on developing lab-on-a-chip solutions to solve critical health problems in cancer, global health and biological modeling. The development and manufacturing of such technology can be costly and Lake-Speers wants to ensure the people who need access to the technology can obtain it. So, in addition to developing novel microfluidic devices and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for point-of-care diagnostics and organ-on-a-chip, she is also focusing on how to cost effectively manufacture these systems in bulk so the technology can be translated to the people who need it. 

She brings all of this passion and knowledge to the classroom through her biomechanics course, and hopes in the future to teach classes focused on system dynamics and controls, and touch on special topics like EMS and microfluidic devices. 

“My main approach is to find ways to tie complicated concepts in class to real-world problems,” she said.

Learn more about Lake-Speers through the questions below.

What is your favorite thing about engineering?

Collaboration on diverse teams of researchers including engineers, clinicians, and biologists to solve problems. 

What are you most looking forward to at Case Western Reserve University?

The opportunities to collaborate with clinicians and medical researchers to work to improve their patients’ quality of life with engineering solutions. 

If you’re a Cleveland local, what is your favorite thing to do in Cleveland? If you’re new to Cleveland, what’re you most looking forward to exploring?

I am new to Cleveland. I’m excited about lake effect snow and interested in cross-country skiing. I also love running and am excited to hit the running trails at the Metro Parks. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When you’re at a crossroads, once you make a decision don’t look back just keep moving forward.