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NE alumna wins prestigious award for her PhD research at University of Cambridge

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Nanotechnology Engineering alumna Nicole Weckman (BASc ’11) is making her mark in England, where she conducted her PhD research to develop innovative new biosensors based on micro fabricated silicon MEMS at the University of Cambridge. She was recently honoured by the BrightSparks 2018, Design Engineers of Tomorrow program, which is run in partnership by Electronics Weekly and RS Components, with support from Harting and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

The awards presentation, held at EIT’s Maxwell Library in London, celebrated the achievements of thirty of the UK’s brightest and most talented engineers under the age of 30. The BrightSparks program aims to inspire engineers and encourage more people to get involved in STEM and engineering-related studies by celebrating the achievements of the most talented young people in the electronics world.

Talking about the importance of the awards, Lindsley Ruth, a judge on the EW BrightSparks selection panel, explained: “We need to show (engineering) is about collaboration, creativity and problem solving, as much as maths and physics.”

Since graduating from Waterloo’s Nanotechnology Engineering program, Nicole earned her MEng in Chemical Engineering at McGill University before pursuing her PhD research. She is developing a way to conduct affordable, real-time bedside medical tests, so patients can get diagnosed and treated faster. Her MEMS acoustic wave biosensors can detect proteins in small samples of complex human fluids such as sweat and saliva. When integrated with electronics, her sensors could form small, portable diagnostic systems that improve and reduce the cost of patient care in hospitals. Nicole is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Keyser group at University of Cambridge and is also involved in events that encourage girls to consider careers in STEM subjects.

Read more about Nicole’s research and outreach efforts in this article posted by the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.

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