After a number of years of researching and working on fabricating coil antennas for cochlear implants, IPRI and University of Wollongong (UOW) PhD candidate Grishmi Rajbhandari has submitted her thesis and has now moved on to work on the Mend the Gap project, which looks at regenerative treatment for spinal cord injuries.
We caught up with Grishmi to find out more about the PhD journey, her accomplishments along the way, favourite memories and more.
You recently submitted your PhD and have now finished up. Congratulations! How was the journey?
I came to Australia in 2018 for my PhD at UOW. For me, it began with an exciting new project in an entirely new country – it was a huge transition. My PhD project was on developing wireless antennas for cochlear implants under the ARC-Industrial Transformation Hub collaborating with Cochlear Limited. As such, during my PhD, I had the opportunity to work with experts both in academia and industry. I developed my skills as a researcher working my way through the lab as I did my experiments. Overall, I would say it was a good learning experience.
Did your PhD come together how you had first imagined, or did it take some turns along the way?
Well, I started with one concept in mind at the beginning. Along the way, though, I had many different ideas – ideas to do the same project several ways. I guess you could say, like having many roads to reach the same goal. I explored all my ideas, and some worked and others didn’t. The ones that worked later became chapters of my thesis.
You achieved great accomplishments during your PhD, such as winning the 2020 Bill Wheeler Award. What do you think your biggest achievement was throughout?
Yes, winning the 2020 Bill Wheeler Award was one of my treasured moments. It helped me connect my research with the community. But the biggest achievement was crossing the finish line and getting my PhD done. Something that I imagined and played over repeatedly in my head, while seeing my seniors graduate. It motivated me throughout the years until I got there myself.
What’s next for you now that you’ve submitted your PhD?
I am currently working under my PhD supervisors Prof Gordon Wallace and Dr Xiao Liu on the Mend the Gap project, which originated from the University of British Columbia. Within this project, we have 12 institutions across the globe – with us in Australia – working on a regenerative treatment for spinal cord injuries. At present, our group is focused on the preparation of drug-loaded microspheres using a microfluidic channel for targeted drug delivery.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time?
As an affiliated student to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), I have had the opportunity to participate in many programs. This included workshops and symposiums organised by ACES. My favourite among them would have to be the 2019 ACES Symposium, held in Wollongong at our campus. It was my first time meeting ACES researchers from all around Australia in person, and I was able to talk to them about all their exciting projects as well as discuss my own. It helped me see the capability housed within the ACES community.
Any final words?
I would like to thank my supervisors Prof Gordon Wallace, A/Prof Stephen Beirne and Dr Xiao Liu for giving me this opportunity to do a PhD. As well as our industry collaborators Patrick and Sophie from Cochlear, and my lab supervisors Adam, Ali and Kalani. Also, thank you to all my friends and colleagues at IPRI. You have been a big part of my journey.
Thanks for your time, Grishmi.
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