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Graduate Student Profiles

  • Shrestha, Pranav
    We aim to develop an integrated device to extract fluid from the human skin and conduct on-site analysis in a microfluidic chip, for detecting the presence of specific biomarkers of diseases.
  • Verma, Jigyasa
    Cancer is responsible for one in every six deaths in the world, is the second leading cause of deaths globally, and the search for potential therapeutic targets of cancer has occupied researchers for decades. Global spending on cancer medicines continues to rise with therapeutic and supportive care use at $133 billion globally in 2017, up from $96 billion in 2013. Spending on cancer medicines is heavily concentrated among a handful of therapies, with the top 35 drugs accounting for 80% of total spending, while over half of cancer drugs have less than $90 million in annual sales. This necessitates the need for finding highly effective, novel cancer therapeutic targets. In cancer cells, the evolution of the glycolytic phenotype, in which cancer cell metabolism switches to aerobic glycolysis at the expense of respiration, is a critical adaption required for tumour growth and progression. This evolution results in the generation of excess metabolic acid and intracellular acid stress, which tumour cells must mitigate to survive. A consequence of the tumour cell's adaptive response to acidic conditions is increased invasiveness. Thus, the targeting of tumour cell acid stress resistance has become an attractive new therapeutic anti-tumour progression strategy. Acid pumps, which are the current therapeutic targets in the treatment of breast and other types of cancer, are also critical to many normal cellular functions, which raises the potential for widespread toxicity without targeted inhibition. Acid pumps are currently the only class of targets, and therefore there is an urgent need to identify and test new classes of acid stress-specific targets. In my PhD project, I am characterising one of these novel potential targets of acid-stress resistance in malignant cells.
  • Lu, Hong
    Characterizing the roles of synapse organizers in mediating synaptic function and brain-based diseases.
  • Rahman, Ehsanur
    Thermionic electron emission from CNTs has recently been an emerging field of research due to the heat trap effect, which has significantly reduced the optical power intensity required to reach a thermionic emission temperature in CNTs compared to the bulk materials. The heat trap effect observed in CNTs is due to the highly anisotropic thermal conductivity along the nanotube axis. Moreover, the heat trap effect is observed over a wide spectrum of incident light which has made the CNTs particularly suitable for harvesting solar energy. Our research group at UBC has already demonstrated a simple yet effective thermionic solar converter based on CNTs, where we achieved a current and power density comparable to that of the state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic cells. If properly designed, CNT based thermionic solar converter can significantly exceed the efficiency of the conventional photovoltaic solar cell. However, the efficiency of the device reported by our group was quite low which can be substantially enhanced by reducing the work function of the CNTs. My PhD research is focused on reducing the work function of the CNT array by treating the surface of the ensemble with different low work function materials. I have shown that the work function of the CNTs can be reduced by introducing specific adsorbate materials using physisorption or chemisorption process. However, since the thermionic emission of electrons requires a very high temperature, not all the adsorbates can form a stable layer over the CNT surface at an elevated temperature. Therefore, while choosing an adsorbate for work function reduction, we need to consider the strength of the bond that the adsorbate makes with the CNTs. In my research, I will investigate the thermal stability of the bonds that the adsorbates form with the CNT and compare it with the extent to which the CNT work function is reduced by different adsorbates. Therefore, I will develop a mechanism to reduce the work function of the CNTs using thermally stable adsorption of specific materials, which would significantly enhance the performance of the CNT based thermionic electron emitters and make the cathode structure robust to high-temperature operation as necessary in thermionic emission.
  • Jain, Sakshi
    My research involves using low-cost sensing technologies and novel data analytics to identify and constrain key uncertainties for indoor air pollution in developing countries as they transition towards new and/or renewable fuels.
  • Mehdi, Wajiha
    There is a global trend of rising nationalist rhetoric in the politics of fear and dehumanisation. This rhetoric that led to Brexit in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump’s election in the United States, is also manifesting the form of rising communal riots and mob lynching of Muslim minorities in India. Taking into account the rise in mob lynching of Muslims across India, navigating spaces has become life-threatening. Because of this threat, the mobility of women from the minority Muslim community is restricted. This study is interested in how Muslim women access spaces in Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat state, India. The city has been declared as one of the safest for women in India and yet violence against Muslims occurs regularly in the city. Ahmedabad is divided along communal lines through a series of riots and development-induced displacement, leading to large scale ghettoization of Muslims. These intersections result in a complex landscape for mobility within public spaces in Ahmedabad. Despite these trends, no systematic study has been conducted on how Muslim women access public spaces in Ahmedabad. This study intends to examine everyday strategies that Muslim women employ to access the city and their ways of maneuvering to protest against systems of power at the intersection of Hindu nationalism, Muslim Identity formations, neoliberalism and communal structuring of the city. At this point of rise in Islamophobia and politics of demonization of minorities globally, this study will contribute to the understanding of subjectivities and vulnerabilities of minorities, and how their exclusion is further enhanced in the case of women.
  • Arora, Shubham
    My doctoral project is a study of intertextuality, dating and origin of a tenth-century Sanskrit treatise on love (sensuality), the Nāgarasarvasvam, alongside coming up with a critical edition of the text using thirty-nine Sanskrit manuscripts. A seventeenth-century Sanskrit commentary, as per my findings, which is inappropriate and vague, passes over in the silence a critical import of the text. My research filled this gap by textual analysis of the primary text.
  • Wang, Huanwen
  • Zhang, Rose
    My thesis centers on the quantitative study of the interface between health and gender inequality under the intergenerational reproduction perspective.
  • Sah, Pramod
    My doctoral research explores the intersection of English medium instruction (EMI) policy, language ideology, and political economy to understand the discourses of EMI policy development vis-à-vis multilingual realities of the Nepali society. Specifically, the study investigates: a) the socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and sociocultural conditions underlined in national-level language policy documents for the development of EMI policy; b) ideologies and agencies of different stakeholders (i.e., enactment, resistance, and accommodation); and c) the effects of EMI policy implementation for students from different language, class, ethnicity, and gender backgrounds.

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