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December 2012

Award Winner Interview: SayedMasoud Hashemi Amroabadi

Mitacs congratulates SayedMasoud Hashemi Amroabadi, a University of Toronto biomaterial and biomedical engineering graduate student who partnered with Toshiba Medical Systems to conduct research on a novel adaptation of the Total Variation minimization image de-noising approach through a Mitacs-Accelerate internship.

The research led to a 78% reduction in CT image noise which facilitates a corresponding decrease in the patient radiation exposure required for high quality CT images, saving patients from the potentially harmful effects of X-ray dose radiation.  Below is an exclusive interview with Mr. Hashemi, who won the Mitacs Award for Novelty in Application, as presented by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue at the 2nd Annual Mitacs Awards Reception, held November 28th in Ottawa.

What is the greatest advantage you feel you gained through your Mitacs-Accelerate internship?

Mitacs-Accelerate gave me the opportunity to work with Toshiba Medical Systems, which is recognized as a leader in its field. Apart from the financial support provided by Mitacs, I would say the greatest advantage of the program is getting the opportunity to work with Toshiba’s scientists and CT specialists.  With their guidance, I became more familiar with the CT hardware used in my research and collaborating with them also gave me a chance to find new answers and applications for my research.

Which skill do you think is most important for graduate students to learn before entering an industry environment?

During my internship, I discovered that the world of academia and the world of industry are often very different.  I would like to share the three most important differences I experienced:

The reports my supervisor at Toshiba requested often required very different information than my usual university reports.  This allowed me to frame my findings in a new way.

I realized that in order to efficiently do research in an industry setting, interns must have concrete technical skills such as programming language and circuit design.  My internship allowed me to further develop these skills and prepare me for the future.

The activities I participated in during my internship were very different than my university experiences.  Usually in university I would be challenged by situations like committee meetings, talks and paper submissions – but the tasks required in the industry were completely different, giving me an opportunity to communicate my results in a new environment.

What advice would you give other graduate students currently considering a Mitacs-Accelerate internship?

Mitacs-Accelerate gives students the opportunity to experience an industry environment.  This creates unique, potential job opportunities after graduation and therefore, if Mitacs is offering an internship in your research area, be sure to apply so you don’t miss this chance.

What are your future plans?  Where do you see yourself in five years?

My experiences with Mitacs-Accelerate have set me apart from my PhD student peers, as I now feel more comfortable in an industry environment – and even prefer it over an academic one.  Based on my specialties in image/signal processing and my interests, medical imaging would be my choice for future. Right now, I am developing novel mathematical tools for CT image reconstruction from ultra low dose scans. These methods can be used in future CT scanners developed by different vendors.

My short term goal is to further explore my field by engaging with one of the large medical imaging companies.  However, being in this field for three years and receiving the chance to work in an industry and hospital environment has given me a greater understanding of the future engineering needs in the healthcare system.  This has inspired me for my long-term goal, which is to be an entrepreneur and hopefully solve these healthcare challenges by creating my own innovative technologies.