Hands-on Experience


Summer camp students Celina Bussiere, left, Colette Bezaire, Hussein Wehbe, Anmol Dhar, Aneesh Dhar, Alex Bussiere, Gregory Maev and Dante Capaldi display their pulmonary percussion imaging devices, a summer research project at the University of Windsor's Institute for Diagnostic Imaging Research.

A group of area high school and university students are part of a unique summer camp program at the University of Windsor's Institute for Diagnostic Imaging and Research, where they are working alongside world-renowned researchers on a variety of projects.

The program, now in its eighth year, lets students interested in exploring a career in science, computer science and engineering work on actual research and development projects while being mentored by staff researchers.

"Working here has provided me with the closest contact I've ever had with professors," said Ankur Dhar, a physics student at the University of California-Berkely who was hooked up with the program through his Windsor cousins. "It's very interesting because it's practical hands-on research with leading researchers. There's also been opportunities for brainstorming sessions and it's amazing how much you learn just from those informal sessions."

This summer, there are 14 students in the program.

Alex Bussiere, now 21 and a third-year electrical engineering student at the University of Windsor, is in his fifth year with the program, working on research into detecting pulmonary embolisms with ultrasound technology.

"This research has many different applications and it's the practical part of it that's so fascinating," said Bussiere. "When I first joined, I was able to choose what type of research to get involved with and I chose bio-medical because that's the field I'm most interested in.

"What we're doing is constantly a work in progress and we're always experimenting with different ways of achieving results. Then we come in the next day and make adjustments based on the previous day's results, so we're constantly learning and updating."

Dr. Roman Maev, who heads up the institute, said the program is a win-win for everyone.

"We get the benefit of first-class students who can help our researchers and the students get a first-hand look at research in the real world," he said. "It's also a recruitment tool for future University of Windsor students, some of whom have enrolled locally because of their summer work at the institute."

In addition to bio-medical research, the students are also working in the areas of imaging diagnostics, industrial research and development, and art research.

In the art project, technicians are using near infra-red, thermography and imaging technology to determine whether or not there are any hidden sketches or signatures under images on canvas.

Alex's sister Celina Bussiere, who will be studying business at the U of Windsor this fall, is involved with producing brochures and printed materials explaining what the institute can do to assist art experts and gallery curators.

"I'm going to be studying business and this marketing and promotional experience will be a big help," said Celina. "I'm also helping put together a book based on the research into a number of paintings. The technology can also tell whether or not a painting has been restored, how many times it's been restored and whether or not there are any cracks in the canvas below the surface."

Colette Bezaire, who is majoring in medical laboratory science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, is working in the institute's microscope lab running and testing samples under a wide variety of conditions.

"To me, this is much more interesting and beneficial than working at a random fast-food job," said Bezaire. "This is going to help me in my studies and determine that I want to do in the future. "The mentoring experience is invaluable."

Other students in the program include Ryan Ramirez, fourth year physics and computer science at U of W; Dante Capaldi, second year medical physics at U of W; Aneesh Dhar, third year medical physics at U of W; Hussein Wiebe, third year physics and technology at U of W; Marie Jeannette, U of W graduate in English and psychology; Anmol Dhar, Grade 12 at Sandwich Secondary School; Gregory Maev, Grade 11 at Massey Secondary School; and Jeff Dech, Robert Roddy and Lauren DiVito, all undergraduate students at U of W.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star