Alumni Profiles

Alumni Profile: Kristin Ko, MASc 2018

Graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering wasn’t always on Kristin Ko’s radar as a potential option. With a background in neuroscience her original plan was to continue in that field or potentially go to medical school.  However, a small series of events led her to pursue her Masters degree in biomedical engineering and she graduated with a MASc in 2018.  She now holds the position of Senior Associate with a pharmaceutical company in the US.

What led you to pursue graduate studies in biomedical engineering?

I had been working in the lab environment since I was a 17-year-old high school student and throughout my undergraduate degree in neuroscience.  I envisioned a future continuing to do the same type of research.  However, I developed an allergy to rats and I needed to limit my exposure!  I realized I had to find a way to translate my background in research to something more applied.  While researching potential graduate programs online I came across biomedical engineering and learned you didn’t need an engineering background to pursue a masters in the field.  Then as chance would have it, Dr. John Frampton moved his lab next door to the one I was working in.  After talking to Dr. Frampton about the exciting research he was doing with tissue engineering and learning he also had a neuroscience background, I became very interested in pursuing a Masters degree with him as my supervisor.

What is one of your fondest experiences you had in the program?

The best part of my program was definitely being part of the Frampton Lab.  Dr. Frampton was supportive of me creating my own path and gave me a lot of independence which really helped with my growth.  Our lab was made up of students with very diverse backgrounds- biochemistry, neuroscience and physics.  Collaborating on projects and skill sharing gave me the opportunity to teach skills to my colleagues and to learn new skills from them.  This added up to very useful credentials on my resume which really helped when applying for jobs after graduation. 

Who should pursue a degree in biomedical engineering?

Someone who likes a challenge, enjoys being exposed to different fields and learning to communicate to people with different backgrounds.  Biomedical engineering is an applied science so you have the ability to make something- to actually troubleshoot and design something that can improve health whether it be a device or a new therapy.  It truly provides you with an opportunity to improve the world.

Alumni Profile: Brett Dickey, PhD 2017

What led you to pursue graduate studies in biomedical engineering?

I was introduced to biomedical engineering through co-ops I completed during my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering.  When I researched the option further, the work Dr. Danny Boyd was doing really interested me.  He agreed to be my supervisor so I started my Masters program.  My ambitions quickly grew so I transferred to the PhD program after two years of study.

What is one of your fondest experiences you had in the program?

As part of the BioMedic certificate I earned while completing my PhD, I had the opportunity to observe how clinicians work in the clinic environment.  This led to the most interesting educational experience I have ever had- watching a knee replacement surgery. It really left an impression on me and I still get excited thinking about it.

What are you up to now?

I am currently the President and Chief Technology Officer of Covina Biomedical, alongside our CEO, Dr. Caitlin Pierlot, who is also a Dalhousie alumnus.  We produce injectable glass ionomer cement which can offer a minimally invasive orthopaedic solution that enhances quality of life for patients.  Our key focus right now is on prolonging the life of knee implants and we are passionate about how our product can improve the lives of so many people by reducing the need for further intervention after a knee replacement surgery.

Who should pursue a degree in biomedical engineering?

Biomedical engineering is a field for people who want to solve problems and help people.  If you are intrigued by applying the scientific method to investigate and interested in creating technologies that can be used in the diagnosis or treatment of diseases, it’s definitely a path you should consider.