Navigating the Evolving, Interdisciplinary Field of BioEngineering

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SWE Speaks: Navigating the Evolving, Interdisciplinary Field of BioEngineering

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How are biomedical engineering and biotechnology evolving? What are the keys to being able to build a successful career in a changing industry? Which techniques contribute to research and innovation in academia and industry? What other backgrounds and skills are shaping the future of the biomedical industry? How do you navigate such an interdisciplinary field?

Join us on April 14, 2021 for a lively panel discussion with experts shaping the industry of biomedical engineering and biotechnology in a variety of ways. The 5 panellists will share their experiences in computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biochemistry and biomedical engineering.

About the panelists:

Kristi Brunner, PE, PMP | Senior R&D Engineering Manager at Stryker

Kristi Brunner is a Senior R&D Manager who leads teams in the development of medical devices at Stryker. She is a champion for driving a customer centered design approach to solving challenges of healthcare providers.

Kristi has held numerous roles in her career at Stryker in manufacturing, engineering, project management and R&D leadership. She believes in advocacy and strives to advocate for others through mentorships and her roles in employee resource groups.

Kristi holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Dakota (UND), a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Professional Engineer license (PE). Originally from North Dakota, she moved “south” to Michigan where she currently lives with her husband and three sons. Kristi is an avid runner, former UND cheerleader, and enjoys home family projects building a she-shed and suspension bridge last summer.

Naghmeh Ghafari, PhD | Director of Quality Engineering at Kardium

Naghmeh Ghafari (PhD ’09, MS ’03) is Director of Quality Engineering at Kardium, a Vancouver-based biomedical company developing a ground-breaking medical device, the Globe®, for diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation. The revolutionary device provides multiple critical functions that could change the lives of more than 34 million people worldwide affected by heart rhythm disorders. Naghmeh has an active leadership role in risk management, quality control, quality engineering, and commercialization of products.

Prior to joining Kardium in 2012, she worked at Critical Systems Labs, an engineering consultancy for analysis of safety-critical systems, where she worked on software verification and formalization projects related to several applications ranging from particle collider interlock systems (at CERN) to rail signalling control (at Thales) to automotive electronic control systems (at GM).

Saja Al-Dujaili, PhD | Scientific Affairs Team Lead at Baylis Medical

Saja Al-Dujaili did her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the University of Toronto, where she went on to do her PhD in biomedical engineering. Her research focused on cell and molecular biomechanics of bone, as well as using microfluidic systems to study cells under physiologic conditions. After completing her PhD in 2012, Saja did a post-doctoral fellowship in tissue engineering and bone regeneration at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

She also did a Medical Innovation Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where she worked within an entrepreneurial environment to solve a common problem with pediatric feeding tubes, build a business model and secure $200K in funding to support the project. In 2017, Saja started working in Scientific Affairs at Baylis Medical, a company specialized in cardiology catheters, where she currently manages a team responsible for generating real-world clinical evidence and engaging world-renowned cardiologists. Despite her travels and long workdays, Saja always makes sure to make time for working out – her other great passion!

Rashmi Prakash | Electrical Biomedical Engineering MEng Student at UBC

Rashmi Prakash is an Electrical Biomedical Engineer with a passion to sustainably integrate technology and biology to enhance the quality of life. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Option at UBC. She is currently wrapping up her Masters of Biomedical Engineering degree at UBC. She has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work at a wide range of companies within the biomedical industry, including a biomedical non-profit, a for profit medical device company, and most recently - as a clinical engineer at Vancouver's local health authorities. She is also working on a few biomedical start-ups on the side.

Nirali Rathwa | Biochemistry Doctoral Candidate at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda | Ontario Chapter Lead at SCWIST

Nirali Rathwa is a doctoral candidate (Biochemistry) and soon-to-be graduate from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. At the cusp of completing her doctoral degree, Nirali was responsible for executing and managing a pre-clinical R&D project (combination therapy of small-molecule/dietary pattern) for type 2 diabetes funded by Govt. of India. She has four first author and four co-authored publications in international peer-reviewed high impact factor journals including Nature Communications.

Nirali is a strong supporter of women in STEM and PhDs making the transition into alternative careers. She’s Ontario chapter lead at Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, a non-profit organization. She closely works with events and business development teams to collaborate and bring the partnership to the SCWIST.

Fun Fact: Loves Harry Potter and cooking Indian desserts, Avid Yoga practitioner.


6:00 pm - 6:05 pm: Opening addresses by SWE Toronto

6:05 pm - 6:10 pm: Panellists’ introductions

6:10 pm - 7:10 pm: Panel discussion

7:10 pm - 7:45 pm: Q&A session

7:45 pm - 8:00 pm: Final notes from panellists

All Engineers, EITs, P.Geo's, professionals in engineering-related fields (yes, that includes you technicians, software folks, GIS gurus, etc!), students, and new grads are welcome. We welcome people of all genders and supporters of women in engineering fields.

This is a virtual event hosted on Zoom. A link and instructions on how to join will be sent to the email address you use to register.

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