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Senior Research and Development Engineer

Jay West
Senior Research and Development Engineer, Accuray Inc., USA

How do you spend a typical day?
Generally, there will be several "threads" going through the day, and I''ll be switching between them. There is some research, some product development, lots of collaboration with the clinical applications, customer training, and marketing groups, and the ever-present meetings. I''m most effective if I set some milestones every day, and hope I''ve achieved them by the end of the day.

What do you love about your job?
The company I work for produces a system enabling whole-body, image-guided radiosurgery. For me, the attractive part of a job such as this is the fusion of basic science with a clinical application where thousands of cancer patients are treated every year.

What have you learned through experience that you wish you had known before starting your career in optics?
In order to make a medical device company successful, it''s important that a lot of the product design input comes from people that have real clinical experience. In our case, this would come from the physicians and physicists who use our system, and be focused through our clinical applications group. It''s sometimes amazing to see the difference between the engineers and the clinicians in how they see the usefulness of various features of the product. I spend much of my "free" time trying to get a better clinical feel for how our product is used - this is what makes an effective scientist or engineer.

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