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Biomedical engineering alumnus secures international research studentship

Gamalendira Shivapatham

Brunel provided a great opportunity to work together with leading academics and students from all different backgrounds in a very inspiring environment.

Gamalendira, Alumni, Postgraduate

PhD Candidate, Queen Mary University of London

Biomedical Biomechanics and Bioelectronics Engineering MSc - 2015

From Sri Lanka

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated…

I studied MSc in Biomedical Biomechanics and Bioelectronics Engineering at Brunel and graduated in 2015. After graduating from Brunel I decided to work for a medical device company. Before returning to London to start my PhD in Medical Engineering at Queen Mary University of London I worked as a Biomedical Engineer in Malaysia so I lived there for a year; prior to this I worked as a Biomedical Engineer at one of the leading private medical device distributors in Sri Lanka.

What does an average day at work involve for you?

I am a full-time PhD candidate - my project is investigating the biomechanics of human tendons, so being a researcher, there is no typical day other than having a regular research group meeting in every week. An average day is often performing experiments, analysing the data and reading relevant research papers.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

After graduating from Brunel my passion for biomedical engineering has been heightened. I realised that having a degree from Brunel opened several opportunities, so I do not want to stop - I started to apply for PhD studentships within my area of research interest and I secured one. However, I would say that every opportunity that I have had so far is a highlight in my career.

How would you say Brunel helped you to get where you are today?

I really wanted to be a researcher and wanted to pursue a PhD at a world-class institution. I graduated from Brunel with an overall Merit in my MSc and Distinction pass in my dissertation. I was also a recipient of the Anson Fund Prize awarded for second best dissertation in Biomedical Engineering. These all incredibly supported me and led to my PhD application being successful - I have been awarded a Queen Mary International Research Studentship to pursue a PhD at the Queen Mary University of London.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I am an international student and I developed an interest in biomedical engineering during my undergraduate studies, so I checked the prospectus when I started to apply and was attracted by the modules and high-quality research facilities. Finally, the location is very close to everything which is suitable for international students like me. It was a great opportunity to work together with leading academics and students from all different backgrounds in a very inspiring environment, especially in the multidisciplinary field like biomedical engineering.

What is your best memory of studying here?

There are many. Remarkably I was fortunate to meet Prof Heinz Wolf, who coined the term "bioengineering". I did my dissertation under Prof Tony Anson and conducted the experiment at the Experimental Techniques Centre - he is one of the greatest Professors and mentors I have ever met. I learned many things and enjoyed myself - it was the greatest memory of my life.

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

There are experts in everything, meaning you can always find someone to help you with the answers that you need. There is also a great system in place which really boosts the student experience inside and outside of the campus. I am sure having a degree from Brunel is like a wearing badge of honour.

What would be your top tip or advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey?

Brunel also provides a lot of internal training courses and a public lecture series to shape your skills, so try to take in part as much as you can. Brunel is one of the leading institutes which focuses on collaboration with leading industries and institutions which would enable you to work in many disciplines, allowing you to expand your knowledge of scientific research to translate into a career.