Faces of BME – Doris Adao

PhD candidate from Craig Simmons Lab

My father worked as an industrial engineer in the Philippines, and my brother is a U of T mechanical engineering alum. Growing up, I was fascinated by their incredible work and abilities. Biomedical engineering gives me the opportunity to continue my passion for biology while learning from and collaborating with the people I’ve always admired.

As an undergraduate student, I was heavily involved in the Filipino McMaster Student Association (FMSA), where we organized fundraisers to support students pursuing higher education in impoverished areas like the Philippines. Currently, I volunteer with various outreach and mentorship groups within Filipino-Canadian communities, such as FAMS and POP. I am also a founding member of FiCARs, a community of support for researchers and scholars throughout various sectors across Canada.

Photos courtesy of Doris Adao.

I was born and raised in Taft, Eastern Samar, a very small town in the Philippines. My father was the first-ever in his family to attend college. Pursuing higher education, a graduate degree, or being a scientist, was something I could never have imagined. I’m extremely fortunate to have this opportunity now, but I also acknowledge the barriers in pursuing a career in the sciences: a lack of resources, educational opportunities, and mentorship. Advocating for underrepresented groups is more important than ever.

My favourite meal to cook is Green Thai Chicken Coconut Curry. It’s the best comfort food and has an amazing blend of flavours. For family gatherings, my go-to dish is lumpia, a Filipino-style spring roll. It’s simple, delicious, and perfect for any occasion. Bonus: it reminds me of home!

Cooking is a science, and the process is a lot like conducting an experiment. First, you find a trusted protocol/recipe and familiarize yourself with it. Next, you gather your materials/ingredients, and follow the recipe/protocol to the best of your ability. Results are analyzed/eaten, and we discuss the outcomes to draw conclusions. There is always room to optimize your experiment/dish!