In honour of International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to feature some of the amazing women in the School of Biomedical Engineering who are transforming health for everyone. We asked them to share advice that they’ve found helpful throughout their career or what inspiring inclusion means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

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Dr. Carolina Tropini, Assistant Professor, SBME and Department of Microbiology and Immunology

“Over the years, I have learned not to let the technology limit me – you must go where the biological or clinical problem takes you, and that requires a diverse set of expertise and team members. People are the most important part of a research project, and you need to take care of your team!”

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Dr. Anna Blakney, Assistant Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories and SBME

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

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Dr. Nika Shakiba, Assistant Professor, SBME

“Diversify your mentorship. Seek out and foster interactions with people that can challenge and empower you along the many different dimensions that make you who you are, and pay this forward to peers and next generations.”

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Dr. Gabrielle Lam, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Department of Materials Engineering and SBME, Co-Director, SBME Undergraduate Program

“To me, inspiring inclusion means valuing and creating space to listen to the diverse voices of those I interact with, no matter their gender. On International Women’s Day, I celebrate the amazing accomplishments – however large or small – of the beautiful women in biomedical engineering who are impacting human health and health education. Cheers to you!”

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Dr. Melina Messing, Immunologist and Postdoc in the McNagny Lab at The University of British Columbia

“To paraphrase one of my mentors, Yanet Valdez Tejeira, inspiring inclusion means to not just help others jump over barriers but to actively remove barriers entirely. As a woman in STEM with a senior role, I can start removing those barriers that I know of or faced and thus help create a world where those obstacles no longer need to be navigated because they no longer exist.”

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Dr. Sukhneet Dhillon, Adjunct Professor at the School of Biomedical Engineering & Faculty of Science Integrated Sciences Program

“Lead with empathy, whether in academia, research, or entrepreneurship, because it allows you to genuinely connect with others, which in turn, impacts the human value of what you’re creating.”

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Nancy Suarez, M.Eng in Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student

“For me, inspiring inclusion means creating spaces where individuals feel empowered to contribute their ideas and talents regardless of their background, gender, or ethnicity. As a woman in biomedical engineering, I hope to contribute to improving healthcare outcomes for women and helping to develop technologies tailored to address the specific needs and challenges faced by women. I also hope to inspire more Mexican women and other underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM to help create technologies that consider factors such as cultural sensitivity, accessibility, and affordability to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system.”

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Dr. Negar Harandi, Assistant Professor of Teaching, SBME

“My journey today wouldn’t be possible without strong women mentors I came to respect and learn from. In a particularly tough moment, one shared her years of perseverance in a male-dominated workplace. That left me with a determined spirit. If she made it, so will I. I hope to pass this fight on to the talented young women after me as we cross paths. Together, we rise.”