Milia Helena Hasbani & Ainjila Elahi
New designs on healthcare
Bioengineering students Milia Helena Hasbani and Ainjila Elahi talk about their Imperial experience so far and their novel device for diagnosing peripheral nerve injuries which propelled them to the 2018 WE Innovate semi final.
WE Innovate is designed to inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs at Imperial. It consists of a series of workshops, talks by business leaders, and one-to-one mentoring sessions to help participants develop their innovative ideas.
"I’ve been interested in the world of healthcare and how I could make a positive contribution to it from a young age – so Bioengineering became a natural choice for me." – Ainjila
"I'm a curious person by nature so I love that we are exposed to a wide range of topics, both engineering and physiology-related, from the very first year." – Milia
Milia: Growing up, I regularly visited the Science Museum and Natural History Museum [Imperial's neighbours]. Naturally, I passed by Imperial often and it was definitely on my radar from a young age.
When it came to applying to university, I settled on Biomedical Engineering. Imperial was the most natural fit, being the top university in the country for Biomedical Engineering, as well as being London based.
It was inspiring to see the different research areas and work that had been done within the Department, and I was really excited to join.
I'm a curious person by nature so I love that we are exposed to a wide range of topics, both engineering and physiology-related, from the very first year.
We are lucky to have women role models to look up to, both academically and in terms of student leaders, and that the environment here aims to be progressive."
Milia Helena Hasbani
I’ve been interested in the world of healthcare and how I could make a positive contribution to it from a young age – so Bioengineering became a natural choice for me.
As an international student, I also wanted to apply to a university that would immerse me in a multicultural environment.
Imperial stood out because of its world leading reputation and its dedication to STEM research. Having the opportunity to experience life in a vibrant and diverse city while gaining the exposure to the latest innovations, naturally drew me to applying here.
Being a woman at Imperial
Milia: There is clearly a gap in numbers between men and women at Imperial, but we are provided with the same opportunities as our male colleagues.
We are also lucky to have women role models to look up to, both academically and in terms of student leaders, and that the environment here aims to be progressive.
I feel that I am supported in what I want to accomplish, and I personally try to increase the feeling of community and belonging amongst women in STEM.
When I was President of the City and Guilds College Union (the Students’ Union for Undergraduate Engineering students at Imperial), I organised a Women in Engineering event which was well attended and included a remarkable and inspiring panel of women in Engineering, half of whom are alumni of Imperial.
Ainjila: I am fortunate to feel both accepted and supported at Imperial.
Being a woman at the College has not held me back from applying myself and seizing an opportunity, such as running in elections and starting a society.
Taking the entrepreneurial route
As part of one of our modules within our course, we met with a group of pain research clinicians who were facing a particular problem in their work.
They were in need of a novel device which they believed would be really beneficial to them and their diabetic patients – something that would allow to diagnose peripheral nerve injuries, which could then be treated as early and effectively as possible.
We went on to develop a portable cost effective thermal threshold detection device as part of our group project for the course. We found that we could have large impact if we took the device forwards and developed it from a business point of view, as well as technologically.
We formed a team with other students attending the module who had similar interests to us: two Biomedical Engineers, two Mechanical Engineers, and one Human Robotics Bioengineer with a background in design engineering.
Together, we represented a wide range of engineering backgrounds which was beneficial in developing the device. Some of us had also previously taken entrepreneurship modules which also helped with developing the business side.
We're calling our device, ThermediC.
Life after Imperial
We both intend to pursue careers in research and development of medical devices.
The business is still at a very early stage. We will pursue it alongside our career until it reaches the stage of a full-time venture, at which point we will devote more time to it.
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