Bioengineering hearts to becoming a professor
Chris Bouwmeester graduated in 2006 with a degree in mechanical engineering and began his biomedical engineering journey in Dr. John Tyberg’s UCalgary-based cardiovascular hemodynamics lab soon after. He finished his PhD in 2012 and went on to test new ways to operate mechanical pumps attached to the heart and helped create new heart-assist pump designs at Yale University. Chris is now a faculty member at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is focused on teaching biomedical engineering capstone design courses and helping students build projects in a design-studio environment. The recent development of his teaching stream position allows him to focus on teaching excellence and the majority of his efforts are dedicated to finding the best ways to use active learning classrooms (see the spaces in the new Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship) to give students hands-on experiences working together to solve problems.
[My engineering degree] helped me climb to the next academic ladder. I went straight into a PhD, then post doc, sessional teaching and now I am an assistant professor.
Dr. Chris Bouwmeester, PhD
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
What is your favourite memory from your time at U Calgary?
Getting the opportunity to do exchange programs sponsored by engineering is definitely my favourite memory. I did a 1-year exchange with the Technical University of Berlin and another 1-year exchange with the Technical University of Stuttgart.
A close second favourite memory was a summer research position I had that was based in the CCIT building.
What was your favourite campus hang-out spot?
The Den! I also have fond memories of the cafeteria in the old engineering student lounge run by the elderly ladies that made the egg-cheese-ham sandwiches.
What advice would you give your student self, knowing what you do now?
Join an extracurricular activity earlier.
How did your engineering degree help you get to where you are today?
It helped me climb to the next academic ladder. I went straight into a PhD, then post doc, sessional teaching and now I am an assistant professor.
How has your career path evolved and changed since your graduation?
I would say my path has been an organic evolution towards ever more learning. Perhaps my expectations have changed along the way though. I went from expecting to work in the medical device industry to enjoying scientific research. Lately, I’ve discovered a passion for teaching and trying to weave engineering design into every course I teach.