Benjamin McMaster, a third-year student in the UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering program’s cellular bioengineering stream has been awarded a Charles and Jane Banks Scholarship.

The scholarship was established from a bequest to the University by the late Honourable Charles A. Banks, former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. It provides support for worthy and deserving students, recognizing both their academic achievements and their efforts in and out of the classroom.

Currently, McMaster works in Dr. Peter Zandstra’s lab developing computational models of spatial patterning in embryonic stem cell colonies. His work aims to understand, from a physics perspective, how developmental systems can self-organize into segregated structures during gastrulation.

McMaster was fascinated by this discipline because of the many innovative paths it offered to patient health and healthcare. “Stem cell research is a huge opportunity for new medicine using cell therapies and biologics,” says McMaster. “The field is growing at a rapid rate and it is an exciting time to be a part of it.”  In support of his work in the Zandstra Lab, McMaster was also a recipient of an NSERC USRA Grant.

The reach of the biomedical engineering field has allowed McMaster to pursue his interests in biology, mathematics and computation through the application of engineering fundamentals to all aspects of medicine. “The collaboration between the Faculties of Applied Science and Medicine has built a strong curriculum with professors who are excited and engaged with what they teach and research,” McMaster says.

What does Benjamin hope to achieve in the field? “I would love to research and develop new therapeutics that can have an impact on the healthcare system.”

Benjamin McMaster is an active member of student culture in the SBME, being a council member of the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Student Association since its very beginnings. In his own words, “It has been a lot of fun developing the student life in the program.”