BME student awarded the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Connaught Fund

Joseph Sebastian, a BME PhD student at Professor Craig Simmons’ lab, has recently been awarded the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award (UTSLA). 

The UTSLA continues the tradition of the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding student leadership and volunteer service at U of T. Recipients of the UTSLA join the esteemed community of past Cressy Award recipients in being recognized for their impactful leadership and volunteerism at the University of Toronto. 

Sebastian is one of the 18 Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE) awardees this year. A previous recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, a Massey College Junior Fellowship, and Connaught PhD for Public Impact Fellowship, Sebastian is an accomplished student recognized for his work in the field of biomedical engineering, imaging, and numerous volunteer opportunities within BME. 

Under the mentorship of Professor Craig Simmons, Scientific Lead at the Translational Biology and Engineering Program, Sebastian aims to bridge the gap between biomedical imaging and regenerative medicine, emphasizing ethical research practices. Sebastian’s research focuses on utilizing ultrasound imaging for the assessment of microstructure, contractile function, and stiffness in miniature heart models. 

One of Sebastian’s key contributions is developing techniques to assess how drug candidates affect heart cells. By leveraging new forms of ultrasound imaging, Sebastian is pioneering less invasive methods for measuring contractile function and stiffness in miniature heart models. This has the potential to revolutionize the screening of drug candidates. 

Sebastian was awarded the UTSLA for his work over the past four years spanning the undergraduate and graduate experience at UofT. At the undergraduate level, Sebastian is a Residence Life Intern (’22-23, ’23-24) and previous Senior Residence Don (’20-21, ’21-22) at the University of St. Michael’s College. Here, he supported and mentored 40+ residence dons and 400+ students. Moreover, he developed and organized multiple trainings for residence dons across UofT. At the graduate level, Sebastian is passionate about educating graduate students about non-academic careers. As Director of Professional Relations of the Graduate Management Consulting Association, he collaborated with prestigious management consulting firm representatives (>30 firms) to develop workshops, case competitions, and networking events for >2.3K members to guide the organization’s mission and strategic goals to teach and train high calibre students to land positions in top consulting firms. 

Beyond his contributions to cardiovascular research and the post-secondary experience, Sebastian demonstrates a commitment to making a positive impact on society, in line with the Connaught PhD for Public Impact Fellowship. His involvement as a mentor, teaching assistant, and lecturer, along with leadership roles in various organizations, highlights his dedication to fostering academic and professional growth. 

Joseph Sebastian’s multifaceted contributions reflect his dedication to making a lasting impact on society. We acknowledge his achievements and anticipate the continued success of his research in transforming cardiovascular health. Congratulations, Joseph Sebastian, on this well-deserved recognition!