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Welcome to MECH 598/698 - the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar course. This course is normally taken by students in Mechanical Engineering who are working with biomedical engineering professors or students in the MECH option of the Biomedical Engineering program. It is open to other students as well with instructor approval.

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar
MECH 598/698
Instructor: Lyndia Wu
Office Hours:
Class Schedule: Friday mornings 8-9 AM
Classroom: Normally in Blusson Lecture Theatre (BLT, First floor of ICORD)
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Philosophy and Learning Goals

As a graduate student, research communication is a key skill to acquire during your graduate training. This includes the ability to clearly and effectively present your research, as well as the ability to ask good questions and give constructive feedback on other people's research. Students are encouraged to treat this course as an opportunity to substantially improve your research communication skills, instead of simply a degree requirement. Presentation formats in the class are set up in a manner to mimic podium presentations at a conference, and you are expected to prepare high quality presentations just as you would for a conference or a defense. A few tips for success are: 1) prepare your presentation ahead of time, and practice with your lab mates/supervisor before presenting to the class, 2) pay attention to other students' presentations, and make note of effective strategies as well as any mistakes you won't want to make, 3) make note of questions as they come up during others' presentations, and don't be afraid to ask questions - people will remember both good presenters, as well as those who ask good questions.


2019-20 dates in process - please let Lyndia Wu know if there are any concerns (

Note: BLT = Blusson Lecture Theatre = default room (ICORD Seminar Room, ground floor). Other room details are shown below.

If two people are presenting, you will introduce one another (i.e., will serve as each other's respondent)

Seminar Date Room Speaker(s) Tentative Titles Respondent(s)/Chair(s)
Sep 6 no class
Sep 13 CEME 1215 Intro to class (Lyndia Wu)
Sep 20 TBD
Sep 27 TBD
Oct 4 TBD
Oct 11 BLT Maryam Mohtajeb (PhD) Quantification of femoro-acetabular impingement and its contribution to hip pain Loay Al-Salehi
Oct 18 TBD
Oct 25 TBD
Nov 1 BLT Houssam El-Hariri (MASc), Masashi Karasawa (MASc) Houssam: Reliable Measurement of Hip Dysplasia with 3D Ultrasound and Convolutional Neural Networks
Nov 8 BLT Loay Al-Salehi (PhD) Neck Muscle and Intervertebral Dynamics in Rollover Crashes Pranav Shrestha
Nov 15
Nov 22 BLT Pranav Shrestha (PhD) Development and testing of microneedle-based fluid extraction and point-of-care diagnostics device Maryam Mohtajeb
Nov 29 BLT Graham Fonseca (MASc), Oded Aminov (MASc) Graham: Development of a Functional Spinal Unit for Evaluation of Sports and Automotive Protective Equipment
Winter Break
Jan 10 BLT Hooman Esfandiari (PhD) An inoperative post-placement position assessment system for pedicle screw insertion surgeries Pan Deng
Jan 17 BLT Erik Lamoureux (MASc), Molly Stewart (MASc)
Jan 24 BLT Georgia Grzybowski (MASc), Ammarah Kaderdina (MASc)
Jan 31 BLT Claire Mundy (MASc), Luke Johnson (MASc)
Feb 7 BLT Calvin Qiao (PhD) Hooman Esfandiari
Feb 14 BLT Matt Hickey (PhD) Calvin Qiao
Feb 21 Reading Week
Feb 28 BLT Luke Maclean (PhD) Matt Hickey
Mar 6 BLT Emily Bliven (PhD) Development of a prophylactic implant to prevent hip fracture in a sideways fall scenario Luke Maclean
Mar 13 BLT Anoosha Pai (MASc), Farhad Omidvar (PhD) Farhad: Implementation of polymer-based capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducers (polyCMUTs) in ultrasound computed tomography (USCT) imaging
Mar 20 BLT Justin Yu (MASc), Robin Wu (MASc) Justin: Mechanical Properties of Spinal Cord Grey and White Matter - Relative Anisotropy in Confined Compression
Mar 27 BLT Masoud Malakoutian (PhD), Sarah Romani (MASc) Sarah: Development of a biofidelic craniovertebral junction for use in an omnidirectional surrogate neck
Apr 3 BLT Pan Deng (PhD) Emily Bliven
TBD MECH 439 Presentations; TBD

Additional notes:

  • Presenters need to pick up keys at ICORD - keys to the room (BLT) will be available from the ICORD office (receptionist or Cheryl Niamath or Lowell McPhail) on the third floor the day prior to the presentation up until 4:00 pm.

Course Expectations and Policies

  • PhD students present a proposal late in Term 2 of Year 1, no presentation in Year 2, then in Term 1 for all years thereafter
  • MASc students present a proposal early in Term 2 in Year 1 and later in Term 2 in Year 2, unless they expect to defend in the fall of Year 3, in which case they can request a deferral of their Year 2 presentation (note: if you defend before presenting a second time, you receive a zero for your second presentation - it is your responsibility to ensure that you present a second time before your thesis defense)
  • MASc students who have presented at least twice and who are expecting to graduate in the fall term are exempt from presenting, but are expected to attend until graduation
  • 3rd year MASc students who are not expecting to graduate until the spring term or later are expected to present in the second term
  • All registered students are expected to attend all scheduled seminars.

Presentation Grading

  • Your are graded for your research presentation in the class. The grading is based on the following criteria that will appear on the evaluation form:
    1. Introduction: Was the “hook” engaging and effective? Was necessary background information provided? Were the objectives stated clearly?
    2. Materials and Methods: Were the methods clear?  Do you have technical suggestions for improvement?  
    3. Results/ Discussion/Conclusion: Were the results clear?  If not, what was unclear or missing?  Were the results put in context of current literature?  Was the discussion of limitations comprehensive?
    4. General Considerations: Were the slides clear and readable?  Was the technical level appropriate?
  • Late penalties will be given for late title/abstract announcements to class list, also for late uploading of presentation slides (see details in the 'Roles' section below).
  • Penalties will be given for presentations that are poorly timed (see timing requirements below).
  • Marks are not formally submitted to the UBC SIS system until the term of the student's graduation; interim marks are held internally and averaged to produce the final grade


Students will participate in this course in three ways - as a presenter, as a chair/respondent and as an evaluator. Expectations for each of these are outlined below.

  • Presenter
    • Prepare a presentation based on your thesis project, MASc presentations are 15 minutes + 5 min for questions; PhD presentations are 25-30 min + 5-10 min for questions
    • Prepare a title and abstract (~100-150 words)
    • Submit title and abstract to class email list by Monday 9 am prior to the presentation - 5% penalty per day for late announcements.
      • Format:
        • Presenter: [your name]
        • Supervisor: [your name]
        • Title: [your title]
        • Abstract: [your abstract]
        • Brief bio: [briefly describe your previous training (university, degree, date) and any relevant job experience]
    • Upload your slides to this link by Thursday 5pm prior to your presentation - 5% penalty will be taken for late or missing uploads.
    • Pick up keys at ICORD - keys to the room (BLT) will be available from the ICORD office (receptionist or Cheryl Niamath or Lowell McPhail) on the third floor the day prior to the presentation up until 4:00 pm.
    • Arrive ~20 minutes early to open up room and set up projector. Unless there are compatibility issues, you will present your uploaded slides from the class laptop (Windows), and also need to test your presentation prior to the beginning of class, especially if there are any videos. If there are two presenters, both should arrive early to test your presentations for potential technical problems.
    • Penalties may be given if substantial delays result from negligence on the presenter's part (e.g. did not pick up key in advance, did not arrive early to test out presentation).
    • Following the presentation, please wait outside the room while the professors and postdoctoral fellows discuss the presentation. Collect feedback forms from your fellow classmates.
    • Return key to ICORD office following presentation
  • Respondent/Chair
    • If two students are presenting in the same session, you will chair each other's session.
    • As respondent/chair, you have two main responsibilities, which are designed to help you develop the professional skill of facilitating presentations:
      • Introduce the speaker (as one would at a conference)
      • Chair the question session. You must manage the time, invite questions, and be prepared to ask questions if no-one else does. Our policy is that students must ask the first few questions before any faculty members do, so please encourage students to ask questions if there aren't any. This is an important professional (and teaching) skill.
  • Evaluator
    • When you're not presenting or chairing, you are still expected to attend the talks and provide evaluations.
    • Written responses: For each talk, you will provide the presenter with written feedback on an evaluation form. This is an excellent opportunity for you to reflect on what makes a strong presentation and, when it is your turn to present, to receive feedback from a wide variety of hearers. By participating actively and conscientiously in this process, you will find your ability to critique other presentations and to refine your own presentations significantly enhanced. Please leave your evaluation forms at the back of the room before leaving for presenters to pick up.
    • Asking questions: An important professional skill is asking insightful questions when hearing presentations. Through this process, you will develop your own critical, evaluative skills, and presenters will learn what aspects of their presentations come across clearly and which need additional thought in how to present. We expect you to formulate questions in every presentation and to take your fair share of opportunities to ask questions (though there won't be time for each person to ask a question each time).
    • Following each seminar, please vacate the room as rapidly as possible so that the professors can begin their discussion of the presentation(s).
  • Faculty/postdocs
    • Faculty members and postdoctoral researchers will assess each presentation in an in camera discussion following each session. They will agree on a mark for the talk and the student's supervisor will collect the faculty feedback forms and discuss the faculty's responses/grading with the presenter.


All students are encouraged to subscribe to the course mailing list: To subscribe, please send a message to with the command 'sub mech-598-bme-seminar' as the first line in the body of the message.