We are UBC BEST

UBC's BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT TEAM

what we do

We work with researchers, medical professionals, and our community to implement context-appropriate solutions locally & around the world.

Vision

BEST aims to foster a multidisciplinary team that gives back to our communities while cultivating networking, technical growth, and collaboration in the biomedical field.

Learning

Whether it's through member-led workshops, hands-on engineering work, or the incredible team efforts that make our projects possible, BEST members never stop learning.

Community

BEST projects are selected based on their capacity to contribute back to our local and biomedical communities. We have strong connections with industry, research groups, and local initiatives.

Meet the Teams

each tackling a unique application of engineering in the medical space

BIT: Biochemical Innovation Team

Team Mission
BIT aims to explore and innovate medical solutions in the biochemical sector of biomedical engineering. This includes stem cell technology, tissue printing, drug and gene delivery, genetic and protein engineering, as well as nanosystems.

How it All Started
BIT’s first project focuses on developing a much-needed alternative treatment for insulin resistance and potentially diabetes mellitus. Specifically, we are working on extracting and quantifying polyphenols from a specific species of cinnamon. The biological effects of the extracted polyphenols will be explored using a mammalian in vitro model. Insulin-resistant fat cells will be assayed with concentrated polyphenol extracts to determine dose-dependent effects on the cells’ glucose uptake.

Future plans include testing various combinations of the polyphenols to further elucidate the biological mechanisms of polyphenols on insulin resistance.

ENABLE

Team Mission
ENABLE's mission is to collaborate with clients to develop assistive technology that enables them to thrive in their daily lives.

How it All Started
Enable began with the goal to develop an upper body exoskeleton and has since transitioned into a client-focused team developing assistive devices for individuals with physical disabilities. We are comprised of twenty one students from various departments including engineering physics, mechanical, electrical, biomedical, and integrated engineering.

Projects and Collaborations
Our team works closely with the Tetra Society and the Neil Squire Society, local non-profit organizations that focused on improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. 

Past and current projects our team has worked on include:
• An Xbox controller modification for a young boy with muscular dystrophy
• A wheelchair seat belt indicator for a stroke patient with poor short-term memory
• An electromechanical arm designed to lift and lower a bed blanket for a woman with muscular dystrophy
• An electromyography-based switch for individuals with severely limited mobility (notably patients with late-stage ALS or Locked-In syndrome)
• A sip-and-puff controlled drone for an individual with limited upper and lower body ability
• A custom internet radio for a woman with limited hand function
• A custom book holder for a young girl with limited upper body function
• A gimbal-based cup holder cane attachment for a woman recovering from a stroke

MAML: Modelling Aortas for Marine Life

Team Mission
To create a rig to rigorously test how aortas of marine mammals deform under changing blood pressures. With this, we will gain a better understanding of how marine mammals are able to dive for impressive durations of time to forage for food.

How it All Started
Rhea Storlund is a Ph.D. Student who is studying marine mammal cardiovascular physiology, diving ability, and conservation.

She came to BEST for help with her Ph.D. project, which requires a test rig to determine the compliance of marine mammal aortas, ranging from pinnipeds to whales, in conditions similar to the diving state of said animals. Specific goals include measuring changes in pressure and flow of fluid within the aorta for a simulated circulatory system.

MAST: Medical Applications of Software Team

Team Mission
To build software solutions that directly address problems experienced by frontline healthcare workers. We tackle everything from hardware to machine learning and pride ourselves on working closely with clients to produce user-centered designs.

How it All Started
Vancouver General Hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Radiology Department approached MAST in 2019, looking for an automated solution to streamline patient care and transport time. Throughout the past year, the team has built a mobile and web system that allows emergency responders to share patient acuity and ETA with trauma radiologists while the patient is still in transit, enabling physicians to better prepare for incoming patients.

MINT: Multifaceted Innovation in Neurotechnology

Team Mission
MINT focuses on neurotechnology application projects, participating in annual design competitions, and building collaborations with neuroscientists, neurohackers, researchers, and engineers.

How it All Started
During a co-op term, a BEST member noticed that most efforts from staff revolved around obtaining clear diagnoses for study participants, which is laborious due to the subjective nature of psychiatric symptoms. Clinicians noted that objective measurements of psychological states could not only improve recruitment methods, but also track outcomes more objectively, which would generate clearer results from studies.

Inspired by this, MINT was established with the hope to bridge clinical and social aspects of neuroscience by innovating in objective and accessible diagnostics for psychological conditions.

In recent years, the goal of MINT has shifted from medical applications only to all neurotechnology applications such as brain-computer interfaces, while still annually building their very own EEG acquisition system.

Projects & Competition

This year, MINT has two main projects: Automation Home using EEG and EEG Acquisition System which are expected to be finished in one to two years. Both projects will be submitted to NeuroTechX 2020 Competition this November.
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M2M: MS to Movement

Team Mission
Approximately 1 in 385 Canadians suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that degrades myelin tissue thereby causing disruption in communication between neurons. This damage leads to various severe impairments in vision, muscular coordination, speech and sensory loss. Although there isn’t a cure yet, many who suffer from MS undergo a repetitive rehabilitation process in order to recover important daily functions.

M2M is a student body led initiative aimed at developing a therapy glove in combination with an interactive gaming interface to create a more motivating and engaging rehabilitation experience.

How it All Started
M2M was originally founded as "Music to Movement": a team with the goal of developing a data-driven assistive music therapy device to accelerate patients’ stroke rehabilitation and motor development process through a more interactive and engaging experience. This was based in a need for emotional support and motivation during stroke therapy, which is typically repetitive and monotonous.

Since then, the team has pivoted to an MS-centric project in response to greater need.



Uplift

Team Mission
According to the World Health Organization, disability affects one billion people globally; UBC Uplift intends to help individuals in the subset of this population afflicted with various muscular and neurological disabilities. These people often experience difficulties with holding and transporting items, and moving about their living spaces - daily tasks that are incredibly taxing or impossible to perform regularly. Thus, a long-term solution is essential to improving the quality of life of these individuals.

This team is currently working to develop a device to assist our client, who suffers from post-polio syndrome. By applying biomedical engineering principles, we hope to help our client live safely and comfortably at home while engaging with the community in which we live and learn.

How it All Started
Following the end of our first year of engineering at UBC, we were excited by all that we have learned, yet we yearn to pursue more design work to apply our knowledge and make an impact through engineering. Ultimately, we wanted to use our skills and knowledge to create meaningful change in our community. Our leadership roles on the proposed UBC Uplift project allow us to learn and further challenge ourselves while providing our team members with opportunities to do the same.

Projects & Collaborations
UBC Uplift’s current project is in collaboration with the Makers Making Change program through the Neil Squire Society. 

Our project is centered around the effects of post-polio syndrome on our clients daily life.  Symptoms of this condition typically become evident over a decade after recovery from the initial polio infection when the repaired motor neurons begin to deteriorate. Post-polio has caused paralysis of our clients legs, and as a result, she requires two (2) braces and two (2) crutches to move around. As her hands must be used to grasp the crutches and hold herself up, she struggles to perform secondary tasks, namely carrying objects such as her bedpan, laundry items, and telephone, while walking about her living space. Furthermore, care aids will soon become less accessible to our client, so she will be responsible for regularly performing the tasks that her care aids currently assist her with - many of which are very dangerous and require excessive amounts of effort for our client in her present condition.

Mentorship Program

Team Mission
The BEST Mentorship Program aims to help first year students succeed by teaching them necessary skills for engineering design and professional development while integrating them into one of our projects. Students have the opportunity to meet with our wide network of BEST alumni and learn the skills to advance their career in engineering and biomedical engineering specifically.

Workshops/Initiatives

Electrical/Software
Students use an Arduino to create a script that measures the brightness in the room and export this to a small light that shines different colours according to the brightness level.

Mechanical/SolidWorks
Students go through the basics of creating parts and assemblies using examples from classes as well as student interest.

Biochemical
Students get to culture bioluminescent bacteria to learn biological lab techniques and an introduction to the biological aspects of biomedical engineering.

Professional Development
Students refine skills for making resumes, cover letters and their LinkedIn profiles to improve networking and job searching with examples from other senior students in BEST.

Biomedical Co-ops
Students learn about co-op positions senior BEST members have held as well as about biomedical companies in Vancouver and other opportunities available to them.

Mentor List
Senior members of BEST  volunteer to be part of our ongoing list of mentors that mentees can access any time for coffee chats and guidance for first year and beyond.

Join the team!

We would love to hear from you.

As a member or Mentee

Fall recruitment has officially begun! See all open positions and submit your application through the form below by September 21st.

Apply Now

Successful applicants will be contacted by email to schedule an interview.

As a Sponsor

With your help, we'll be able to ensure continued growth for our students through strong community impact for years to come.

Sponsorship Package

Please reach out to us directly with sponsorship inquiries at
sponsor.bestubc@gmail.com.