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Mandakini Jain, MASc student, Biomedical Engineering

“Being from an engineering background gives me the skills to be able to contribute to the ever-changing world of healthcare through innovation and unique problem solving.” - Mandakini Jain

Research: Mandakini is improving clinical methods to detect traumatic brain injury. She is building a photoacoustics imaging platform that aims to detect blood under the skull in a non-invasive manner when a patient experiences a traumatic brain injury. “We are trying to detect a hematoma, which is clotted blood that could form under the skull as a result of brain injury. This is very dangerous and life threatening.”

Why her research matters: Currently, the only way to detect blood under the skull is through a CT scanner. “We want to create a more accessible hand-held device with lower risks of ionizing-radiation that can detect bleeds right away.”

Mentorship matters: “Receiving and providing mentorship is how we’re learning and thriving, and building a new generation of smart, hardworking individuals. Great mentorship has the ability to bring about change. It means working with a student one and one and bringing out the qualities in them that will help them succeed in the future.”

Female empowerment through mentorship: “I’ve been lucky to have female mentors in engineering and healthcare. When I worked at Ontario Power Generation, my mentor was the section manager on our plant design electrical team. She effectively managed a group of 10 senior engineers who were older than her. I watched her lead with excellence during multiple complex and stressful projects, and I was blown away. It empowered me to see something like that. Being mentored by a woman in engineering does a lot for you. It can change how you feel about future positions and opportunities.”

“Currently, I am being mentored by a female clinician at a fertility clinic. I watch her dedicate so much time to each patient and put all her heart into her work. That has been life changing for me because I see how she changes someone’s life and pulls them out of a dark place using her empathy and expertise. Patients leave the clinic feeling empowered and I get to experience that every day. I think it’s incredible.”

Improving women’s health in Hamilton: “I love Hamilton. It’s the waterfall city! There’s so much nature and character to explore, but there are also many areas that need our help. That’s why I have been delivering health education workshops at Native Women’s Centre in Hamilton, a shelter that helps impoverished and abused women get their lives back on track. I’m organizing a group of enthusiastic, bright volunteers who will join me at the shelter in expanding this effort over the school year.”

Why McMaster Engineering: “We have an amazing academic environment, students and faculty. The greatest thing about engineering students is their team spirit. It’s not a competitive world where people want to better than you. It’s a team. We do everything as a team and we grow better as a team by helping each other out.”

A clinician who thinks like an engineer: “Through a variety of mentors I’ve had, including nurses, scientists, engineers and doctors, I’ve realized what my true passion is – I want to provide direct healthcare. I want to interact with patients, deliver health education and increase their healthcare access. But I don’t want to be a purely practice-focused doctor. Being from an engineering background gives me the skills to be able to contribute to the ever-changing world of healthcare through innovation and unique problem solving. By contributing to healthcare technologies that help deliver care to patients more efficiently and practicing as a physician, my goal is to impact healthcare at a macro and micro level.”