APSC Rising Stars 2017: Ali Shademani, PhD ’17, Biomedical Engineering

Applied Science Class of 2017

No matter how many times you fail, you are going to eventually accomplish provided that you are ambitious and determined.

I joined UBC in September 2014 as a Master of Applied Science (MASc) student in the Mechanical Engineering program and graduated in August 2016. Since then, I have started my PhD in the Biomedical Engineering – Mechanical Engineering department. My MASc program was concerned with tackling the issues of cancer treatment from the engineering perspective. This effort, in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team from the Mechanical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Science department, has led to a miniaturized implantable drug delivery device whose promising performance has raised hopes to enhance cancer therapy. This tiny implant is able to release the drug locally to the tumor site and thus improve the treatment by considerably reducing the severe side effects of the medications. Further investigation is in progress to obtain the required standards.

Why did you choose engineering?

In my opinion, engineering is where theories are put into practice. I have found engineering as a creative approach to the solution of problems. In particular, I have chosen Biomedical Engineering because I believe this will give me the best opportunity to serve my society by improving health care.

What has made your time at UBC most memorable?

In a nutshell, a passionate research atmosphere and active support have made my time at UBC the most memorable. During my master’s program, I’ve had the great opportunity to meet and work alongside experienced and knowledgeable researchers. Their enthusiasm towards their research inspired me to stand and overcome the challenges I encountered during the project. Additionally, UBC supports promising ideas by providing entrepreneurship courses and programs such as e@ubc.

What have you learned that is most valuable?

Team work in an interdisciplinary research group. I have been involved in a team of researchers with different backgrounds. Not only did this allow for me to gain invaluable experiences in various fields, but also taught me how to interact and progress in a project as a part of a research group. Another crucial factor is responsibility. It is critical for an engineer to be accountable and to take the responsibility of their duties. The ultimate goal of an engineer is to facilitate and promote human life without posing a threat to any individual.

What has been your most memorable or valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?

I have been one of the executive members of Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association (MEGA). This community is dedicated to the graduate students in the Mechanical Engineering department and acts as a medium between students and the department. Organizing various events such as panel discussions, coffee socials, and so forth, in a team with a friendly vibe, has been invaluable to my non-academic experience. These types of associations provide the best environment and opportunity for students to develop their soft skills.

What advice would you give a student considering a graduate degree in engineering?

Pursuing studies in a graduate program means you would like to know more in details about a specific field. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure you are choosing a field that you like and are interested in. Being passionate plays a vital role in keeping one on the track of success. No matter how many times you fail, you are going to eventually accomplish provided that you are ambitious and determined.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Biomedical Engineering enhances patients’ wellbeing. Whenever I picture the future and the outcome of my project, I envision despondent patients who would be extremely hopeful if they are offered a promising treatment. This hope encourages me to move forward and never give up.

Original Article: APSC News