New biosystems engineering instructor helps students explore meaningful careers
Natasha Jacobson joined the Department of Biosystems Engineering (co-located in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the Price Faculty of Engineering) as Instructor II on July 1, 2022. She graduated with her BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba and her PhD from McGill University, and has since had experiences ranging from sustainable building design to neurodegeneration research. Natasha instructs first year and fourth year students, and using hands-on, impactful design projects, hopes to help students discover where an engineering degree can lead them.
Tell us about yourself
I received my PhD in mechanical engineering with a biomedical focus in 2021, following which I worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the Biomedical Instrumentation Lab at the University of Manitoba. My engineering experience has taken me into industries including sustainable building design, heating and ventilation, high voltage power fault research, and, most recently, neurodegeneration research.
Why did you get into this area of study?
After my undergraduate degree in engineering, I applied and was preparing to leave for a nursing degree. However, in completing my pre-requisites for the nursing program, I began to see where my engineering background may help solve clinical problems and directly impact patient lives. Thus, I transitioned to biomechanics, an area of personal interest that built on the skillset I had developed during my undergraduate program.
What are you seeking to explore with your research?
My post-doctoral research broadened my research vision to an area of personal significance: neurodegeneration. I hope to support the existing Biomedical Instrumentation Lab on campus currently researching neurodegeneration and potential treatment options while simultaneously investigating mechanical cues in the brain that may suggest risk for or disease progression in neurodegeneration.
Will you be teaching?
I am overseeing the first-year engineering design course and final-year Biosystems engineering design capstone course. In this unique position, I get to see students’ growth between first- and final-year courses, and where gaps may exist. My greatest hope is to help students see where their engineering careers may lead by exposing them to varied hands-on, impactful design projects.
Any interesting stories you’d like to share about your career path to date?
I have worked in many industries (mechanical, electrical, biosystems, research), representing only a subset of what an engineering degree can lead to. Keep an open mind about your degree and its potential; you might be surprised where your career leads!