Introducing the Movers and Shakers of the Biomedical Engineering Students’ Association (BESA)! Meet the visionary leaders steering the Biomedical Engineering Students’ Association towards a brighter, healthier future in 2023.
I am Aleksandra Fomina, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the McGuigan lab working on 3D models of the tumor microenvironment of pancreatic cancer to study mechanisms of chemoresistance. This year I am BESA President and very happy to lead the amazing BESA executive team while it continues contributing to the life of the BME student community. It is my third year with BESA, I previously held the positions of VP Operations and Finance (2021/22; 2022/23) and ToBE Co-Chair (2021/22). When I am not busy doing science or managing BESA, I enjoy biking around Toronto and cooking dishes from around the world.
I am excited to join the BESA team as VP of Events to bring you an exciting array of social events this year. I just finished my Master’s of Science in Applied Computing here at U of T, where I worked on mobile medical devices for seizure detection and mitigation. As an incoming first-year PhD student in BME, I am thrilled to continue developing therapeutic interventions using brain-computer interfaces for a variety of neurophysiological disorders. In my spare time, I love to sing (you can find me at karaoke at least once a week), swing dance, and restore vintage electronics. Looking forward to getting to know the BME student body and build community together!
I am a second-year PhD student in Prof. Molly Shoichet’s group. My research focuses on developing biomaterials to deliver stem cells and therapeutic proteins to the brain for stroke therapy. This is also my second year on the BESA team. In my free time, I love to read and play sports like volleyball and badminton.
VP Finance & Operations
As a third-year PhD student in the Franklin Lab, a start-up co-founder, and head of finance for a few fundraising events, I’m excited to help serve the graduate population as the VP of Finance & Operations. My research involves developing wearables for remotely monitoring and assessing tissue oxygenation for vascular dysfunction. I love to cook and am a bit of a foodie, so if you see me around, don’t be afraid to say hello (or suggest a nice place to eat)!
The Biomedical Engineering Students’ Association (BESA) is the official student government for BME students at the University of Toronto. All BME and collaborative program graduate students are automatic members. BESA represents student interests, facilitates communication with BME administration, and organizes various events. This includes social gatherings, professional development opportunities, and special activities like ski trips and live performances. BESA also supports charity donations, community projects, and serves as a professional communication platform. Additionally, BESA plays a key role in planning Scientific Day, a showcase of graduate student work.