ECE PhD Student Mohammad Jafari, Governor General’s Gold Medal Winner

Congratulations to ECE PhD student Mohammad Jafari, who has been awarded the 2022 Governor General’s Gold Medal! This prestigious award goes to the graduating doctoral student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record in their year.

Mohammad’s high-achieving studies took place under supervisor Purang Abolmaesumi at the Robotics and Control Laboratory, where he studied deep learning for medical imaging. After graduation, he will continue his investigations into artificial intelligence as technical director of AI at Aspect Biosystems.

We spoke to him to learn more about this award, his plans for the future, and his insights and advice from his experience at ECE.

How do you feel about this award?

Indeed, it was a surprise! UBC has many outstanding students, and I feel honoured and humbled to be a recipient of this award. Special thanks goes to my PhD supervisor, Prof. Purang Abolmasumi, for his pivotal role, support, and guidance. I am grateful to the selection committee and am eternally thankful to UBC for being home to my study dreams.

What was your PhD research on, and how did you initially get started studying this topic?

My PhD research was on developing robust deep learning methods to promote reliability of computerized echocardiography. My choice of topic was foremost initiated and directed by my PhD supervisor, Prof. Purang Abolmaesumi. My topic further evolved by advancing my research and via fruitful collaborations and discussions within our research group – RCL at the ECE department, and with our clinical collaborators at Vancouver Coastal Health.

What element- experience, event, course, mentor, conference, etc- of your time as a PhD student stood out to you the most, or was most important to you?

One of the most impactful activities for me was attending academic conferences. I was fortunate that my research was recognized by the community through best paper awards and nominations, which reinforced my research motivations and affirmed to me that I was on the correct path. Furthermore, the conference gatherings helped a lot in forming external connections and maintaining a better understanding of research trends in the bigger picture.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to continue my research in artificial intelligence (AI) and healthcare. Currently, I work as technical director of AI at Aspect Biosystems, a Canadian company that’s pioneering 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering. I hope to make impactful contributions to this field, working towards the next generation of AI solutions and AI accelerated therapeutics.

If you could go back in time and meet yourself at the start of your academic journey, what is some advice you would give your past self?

One advice would be to simplify your goals and focus on a few high-level purposes. We can do anything, but we cannot do everything.

As well, always appreciate the importance of varied connections; a real asset of the academic journey is the chance to get connected with talented, like-minded people. Be reachable, supportive, and understanding of others.

Connect with Mohammad on Linkedin.