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Lab testimonials

Lucy DengI’ve been working as a research engineer in the Focused Ultrasound Lab since 2013, after I completed my master’s degree in materials science and engineering. As a member of this world-leading research group, I have had the unique opportunity to witness the advancement of therapeutic ultrasound research and its potential in the treatment of diseases like brain tumours, essential tremor, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

I’ve participated in several projects including transducer fabrication and characterization, construction of clinical prototyped hemispherical phased arrays for transcranial applications (e.g. blood-brain barrier opening and monitoring, super-resolution imaging and ultrasound-based skull registration) and the investigation of the feasibility of using an ultrasound-based resonance method for dynamic skull phase aberration correction and adaptive focusing during trans-skull treatment. These projects have exposed me to the full breadth of focused ultrasound research, from the basic and foundational, to the newest and most advanced topics in the field. There is also a high degree of collaboration with colleagues from various backgrounds due to the interdisciplinary nature of the projects, which has kept me learning new techniques.

—Lucy Deng, biomedical engineer

Pablo GonzalazMy experience as a high school research student in the Focused Ultrasound Lab has benefited me in so many different ways. It not only gave me a deeper understanding of what real scientific research looks like, but it also helped develop my critical thinking, analysis, and networking skills. Assisting my supervisor with scientific experiments and learning to code MATLAB enabled me to develop skills that will be useful for the rest of my career. Furthermore, the weekly seminars, taught by renowned scientific researchers at Sunnybrook Research Institute were a great place to network—leading to my placement at another lab the following summer. I am very thankful for the team for organizing the high school internship program and inspiring so many young minds to pursue careers in STEM.

Pablo Gonzalez, high school intern

ElektraInterning at Sunnybrook's focused ultrasound lab was really life-changing for me. I got hands-on experience in research, and really saw how the world of research works—from lab meetings, to experiments, to taking notes, to learning from others and more. This experience refined many of my science and math skills, as well as my professionalism, time management, teamwork and many other skills. The lab community is so welcoming and friendly. All of my supervisors and co-supervisors were amazing and patient, despite my entering with only a fraction of the knowledge they have. The other students were brilliant and inspiring, and I am so happy to have met them. I was amazed at how Dr. Kullervo Hynynen and the lab manager, Kristina Mikloska, manage to keep things running, yet care about us interns as well. While this is a huge commitment, it will stick with one forever and is so valuable. I am currently studying at the University of British Columbia, something I never thought would happen. I hope to continue in the STEM fields in the future and will never forget my summers at the focused ultrasound lab.

— Elektra Lindquist-Dakogiannis

SimonAfter two summers working with the focused ultrasound lab, I feel that my experiences have better prepared me for the workplace and have influenced my serious consideration of a career in research over industry. I worked on software development during both terms, contributing to one of the major projects in the lab involving acoustic confirmation of blood-brain barrier opening. From my first day to my last, the work continually challenged me and provided invaluable learning opportunities to build technical and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, seminars offered to our student cohort exposed me to Sunnybrook Research Institute’s cutting-edge advances in medicine every week. The research environment and hands-on experience offered by the focused ultrasound lab is unparalleled by any summer high-school research programs, and I hope it continues to impact aspiring students across the Greater Toronto Area.

— Simon Liu

Marc SantosStudying under the guidance of Drs. Kullervo Hynynen, David Goertz and Meaghan O’Reilly has opened my eyes to the tremendous therapeutic potential of focused ultrasound and it is truly amazing.

Without the need for surgery or anesthesia, ultrasound energy can be focused deep inside the body and can elevate the temperature of diseased tissues high enough to permanently destroy malfunctioning cells.

Alternatively, through harmless mild temperature elevations, the local delivery of chemotherapy from temperature-sensitive drug carriers can be achieved in tumours. My own PhD research has investigated the potential of this mode of therapy to improve chemotherapy treatments while reducing their harmful side effects.

Indeed, it is a very exciting time to be working in the field of therapeutic focused ultrasound.

At Sunnybrook, I am incredibly fortunate to work everyday with such thoughtful experts who are excellent mentors for aspiring researchers, and who are currently evaluating their therapeutic focused ultrasound treatments in clinical trials right here in the hospital.

There’s truly no place I’d rather be doing my PhD!

Marc Santos, PhD candidate