Being Up to date and Flexible as a PhD student

As a PhD student in engineering, staying up to date with the latest advancements in the field is crucial for your academic and professional growth. Material engineering is a rapidly evolving discipline with discoveries, innovative techniques, and emerging materials constantly being developed. Biomaterials are of the highest interest as they can change the living quality of humankind.

To begin with, staying up to date requires a strong foundation in the fundamental principles of materials engineering. Understanding the core concepts and theories allows you to grasp the significance of new developments and evaluate their potential impact. Continuously revisiting and expanding your knowledge base through literature reviews, textbooks, and academic courses ensures that you have a solid understanding of the underlying principles driving advancements in the field. As I am working on additive manufacturing of a bioresorbable stent, I need to be up to date on related biology topics as well. This includes knowing what causes cardiovascular disease, what happens during stenting, how each body organ and mechanism will be affected and so on.

In my case, I need to be updated with the latest advancements in different therapy methods, medicines, and surgery innovations. A key aspect of staying up to date is keeping abreast of the latest research publications. Regularly reading scientific journals, attending conferences, and subscribing to relevant publications enables you to stay informed about cutting-edge research in your area of interest. This helps you identify gaps in the existing literature, discover novel materials and fabrication techniques, and gain insights into the potential applications and challenges associated with emerging materials. As you should not reinvent the wheel, you can use other researcher results to find your own solution. Finding a suitable material with good biocompatibility and mechanical and degradation behaviour could last forever without browsing other people’s work.

Engaging with the academic community and networking with fellow researchers, professors, and industry professionals is vital in staying up to date. Participating in conferences, seminars, and workshops provides opportunities to interact with experts, exchange ideas, and gain valuable feedback on your own research. Collaborating with peers and joining research groups allows you to be part of collaborative projects, where you can contribute your expertise while staying informed about advancements in related areas of material engineering. I have been constantly looking forward to collaborating with other researchers. For my project, I am working with a team that has studied hyperbranched macromolecular clusters. Their data and provided material, along with the modified substrate, would be an efficient work toward bioresorbable gene-eluting stents in which different teams working on different specialized parts of a project are involved.

Being up to date as a material engineering PhD student also involves keeping an eye on industrial practices and technological advancements. Monitoring the latest developments in manufacturing processes, characterization techniques, and biomaterial testing methodologies can enhance your understanding of how research translates into practical applications. Many big companies, small companies, and startups are working on a solution to treat cardiovascular disease, as it is the number one killer worldwide. Therefore, it is very important to know what is happening at the moment and try to benefit from what others have done. Industry collaborations, internships, and technology transfer programs can provide first-hand exposure to the industrial landscape, enabling you to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial needs.

With all these companions, flexibility is a key attribute for a PhD student working on manufacturing stents. In the field of medical device development, flexibility is essential due to the multidisciplinary nature of the work and the ever-evolving landscape of technology and research. It is essential when it comes to adjusting research strategies and methodologies. Stent manufacturing technologies are constantly advancing, and new materials and fabrication techniques emerge regularly. As a PhD student, you need to be willing to modify your research plans accordingly. This might involve exploring new materials, incorporating novel manufacturing processes, or integrating advanced characterization techniques. The ability to adapt and embrace change ensures that your research remains relevant and at the forefront of stent manufacturing advancements. In my project, I have changed the approach several times and am ready to do it again anytime, as, for such a popular topic, you need to be flexible.

In conclusion, being up-to-date and flexible are indispensable qualities for a PhD student working on manufacturing stents allowing you to critically evaluate existing knowledge, identify gaps, and incorporate emerging concepts into your work. Moreover, enables you to adapt your research strategies, methodologies, and priorities in response to new developments and industry requirements. It fosters interdisciplinary connections, encourages innovative thinking, and empowers you to contribute to the advancement of stent manufacturing. By combining the virtues of being up-to-date and flexible, you position yourself as a knowledgeable, adaptable, and influential researcher, poised to make meaningful contributions to the development of safe and effective stent technologies that improve patient outcomes and shape the future of medical device manufacturing.

By Seyed Masih Mousavizadeh

Seyed Masih Mousavizadeh is ESR 1. Masih’s project is “Development of high strength bonding between polymer and magnesium with micro/nano structures and chemical treatment for bioresorbable stent”.