By Connie Jeske Crane
Fresh from an exciting internship at the Institut Langevin in Paris, Joseph Sebastian, Ryerson biomedical engineering undergraduate student, says, “I cannot emphasize enough the impact of this experience on my research career.” For 12 weeks, thanks to Mitacs Globalink Research Award, Joseph worked in a lab he calls “arguably, one of the best ultrasound-focused imaging groups in the world.”
While Joseph was working as a research assistant with physicist Dr. Michael Kolios in ultrasound imaging, he was made aware of the internship program, and the opportunity to work aboard with the world-renowned French ultrasound physicist Dr. Mickaël Tanter. It was simply “too incredible to pass up.”
At Ryerson, there’s strong support of international internships like Joseph’s, all stemming from a belief that, in an increasingly globalized economy, great benefits flow to students and potential employers alike. Or, in Joseph’s words, “As a student who had never lived away from home for a significant period of time before, I can say that I learned more about myself professionally and personally during my internship in Paris.”
Evaluating his experience, Joseph cites numerous benefits. “My work was focused in the field of cardiology, specifically a technique that would enable early detection of diastolic heart failure. Dr. Tanter’s lab recently developed a new method for the quantitative and non-invasive assessment of heart muscle elasticity during the cardiac cycle based on ultrafast ultrasound imaging and shear wave elastography.”
It’s clear that the Mitacs internship was well-conceived. Supervised by Dr. Clément Papadacci, a research associate; Dr. Mathieu Pernot, research director; and Dr. Tanter, deputy director, Joseph says, “I had weekly meetings with them and Dr. Kolios to discuss my work and progress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to interact with these individuals and the depth of their knowledge was astounding. I was also able to learn many new techniques in ultrasound imaging and experimental design.”
Cross-culturally, beyond applying his French skills, Joseph gained new insights. While Joseph admits exchanges involve adjustment too – “I did feel homesick at times or even lonely” – he says pushing himself to meet new people helped him more than he can explain. “Not to mention I was in France when they won the World Cup!”
While Joseph’s international experience proved as valuable as he’d hoped, good results don’t spring out of thin air. In looking back, Joseph also credits incredible faculty commitment at Ryerson that got him there. “This award would not be possible without Dr. Kolios. He is a huge advocate for his students exploring and expanding their research interests and collaborative networks.” He’s also grateful to Dr. Leslie Bone of Ryerson’s Mitacs Office who helped him during the application and review process.