Sharika @ University of Bern

My name is Sharika Mahadevan. I am a fifth year Dual Degree student in IIT Madras. I was very excited when I learnt that I was awarded the ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship to fund my research internship in the University of Bern.

I was very excited for this opportunity as I got to be a full-fledged member of a diverse research groups solving some of the most exciting topics in cardiovascular engineering such as transcatheter heart valves, solar powered pacemakers or bettering information from MRI images.

Right from my very first day, I was very impressed by the level of organization in the group. Each individual project in the lab was somehow contorted to fit the larger vision of the team – to be the stalwarts in finding improvements to the various cardiovascular diseases or CVDs. I was also very grateful to the team for they were very welcoming and warm. Suddenly, I didn’t feel that far away from home. Because everyone is so approachable, you tend to learn far more, even in such a short period.

Working in the biomedical engineering field, I have come to realise the value of collaborations. Every solution that the lab produces is for the people. They collaborate with clinicians at Inselspital to identify the clinical unmet needs and with medical device companies and other universities to find ways together to address them and also to improve the existing solutions. A field such as biomedical engineering can only thrive in a collaborative environment, and Switzerland has successfully established that. The University also encourages all its students, including interns, to attend conferences and PhD defences at the university to know more about the leading research work that is being undertaken and to motivate the students.

For my project, I’m primarily involved in Data Assimilation. Data Assimilation (DA) is a process by which possibly sparse and noisy measurement data (observed data) from a dynamical system are combined with a numerical model of that system (forward model) in order to obtain an improved prediction of the true state of the dynamical system. To this aim a DA algorithm based on Kalman Filtering is being already developed, in order to combine voxel-based 4D flow sparse data (in time and space) with a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) Navier—Stokes solver.

Apart from my project, I enjoy spending time with the people I have met here. I also enjoy swimming in the River Aare – one of my first experiences swimming in a lake. It’s just been 3 weeks since I have gotten to Switzerland and I am still as excited as I was on my first day. I highly recommend Switzerland, in particular for biomedical research, from my experience.

–  Sharika Mahadevan (IIT Madras) – Research Intern at University of Bern