Engineering student conquers Ivy League summer school

Avinash Upadhya
Friday 25 September 2015

With an MIT dorm room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston city skyline; it’s not hard to see why engineering student Avinash Upadhya has returned from the recent  Harvard/MIT Health Sciences and Technology Summer program with a clear vision for his future research career.

Avinash is currently in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Engineering (R&D)/Bachelor of Science degree at the ANU, with a research focus on electronics, communications and optics.

Avinash attended the HST-Wellman Summer Institute for Biomedical Optics in June-August, a joint initiative of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wellman Centre for Photomedicine.

“There is a great lab culture, all the resources you could ever want and the opportunity to be independent and contribute to cutting each research.” As an undergraduate student in engineering at ANU, global opportunities like this are once in a lifetime.

“The program runs for nine weeks and involves lectures, research seminars and workshops. The main component of the program is the opportunity to pursue full-time research in a world-class laboratory at one of the participating institutions.” In the final week, Avinash presented his research on ‘Cell Barcodes - Tagging and identification of cells in a microfluidic device by using intracellular Whispering Gallery Modes’ winning him the Yao Su Student Research Award.

Avinash first became interested in a research career in Optics through a research project with Dr. Steve Lee. The project involved quantifying the properties of elastomeric lenses for use in portable Smartphone microscope attachments.  “I had to learn and apply a wide variety of skills such as programming, mathematics as well as direct engineering skills such as soldering and 3D printing.”

Engineering has a vital role in the pursuit of medical advances, “This multidisciplinary nature of Optics research and development is the ultimate reason that I chose it.”

Dr. Lee and the ANU Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering are currently taking applications for the 2016 summer program, “The program is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I am thankful for the financial support from the ANU Engineering Department that has made this trip possible.”

Applications close 15 November 2015 and a high academic standard (D/HD average) is required for this opportunity. Please visit the HST-ANU Summer School WATTLE site for more information and application details, or email Steve Lee.

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