Friday, June 21, 2024

Bangladeshi student hopes his PhD serves as encouragement

by BIZ Magazine

RUSTON — He had a dream as a student in Bangladesh of going to engineering graduate school. It’s taken time and determination, but at Fall Commencement, Louisiana Tech’s Saif Mohammad Ishraq Bari will have realized his dream — and more.

Bari came to Ruston in 2015 and earned his Master of Science in Molecular Science and Nanotechnology in 2018.

But then he reached for more. And during the commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. November 20 in Thomas Assembly Center, he’ll be presented his PhD in Micro and Nanoscale Systems Engineering.

“I hope my accomplishments can encourage and help those who are still dreaming of a research-based career or a postgraduate degree although they could not do well in undergrad, or are not sure about their capabilities,” Bari said. “My experience has taught me that honest willpower and hard work always pay off if the Almighty wants.”

He accomplished a lot during his PhD journey. He was the leading author of four peer-reviewed articles and has an additional paper currently under review, products of his work on several funded research projects.

“While all PhD students are expected to perform high-quality research and publish their findings, Saif’s accomplishments exceeded my expectations,” said his advisor Dr. Gergana Nestorova, assistant professor of biology in the School of Biological Sciences and the graduate program chair in molecular sciences and nanotechnology (MSNT). “In addition to academic achievements, Saif remained involved in service both to the profession and to the University by serving as a conference abstract reviewer for ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and by remaining actively involved in the Bangladesh Student Association.

“He took advantage of all opportunities provided by Tech to develop as both a professional and a scientist,” she said. “As his research mentor, I am proud of his achievements over the last four years in the PhD program.”

After completing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from one of the top engineering schools in Bangladesh, Bari had the option of settling into a job or preparing for graduate school.

“I am very thankful to my family,” he said. “They’ve always encouraged me to chase my dreams. As the engineering graduate schools have not yet flourished in Bangladesh, I wanted to try for the country that provides the best education system — the United States.”

He took the needed exams and applied to the graduate programs of several universities that fit his profile. One of those universities was in Ruston.

“The reason behind applying to Tech was the organized curriculum of the programs, the opportunity to get involved in interdisciplinary research, and very reasonable expenses,” Bari said. “I was enthralled by two of the major research centers relating to my interests: the Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM), and the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Sciences (CBERS). Once I was offered admission, it was a pretty easy decision to join Tech and get involved in innovation and research.”

As a Research Assistant at the Applied Genomics and Biotechnology Laboratory under Nestorova, Bari has conducted research on the development of various microfluidic biosensors for the detection, analysis, and characterization of various biochemical analytes, the components often implicated as the biomarkers of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, heart failure, and inflammation.

“So my research focus is basically based on the design, numerical analysis, fabrication, and implementation of accurate, efficient, and non-invasive lab-on-a-chip platforms for point-of-care diagnostics and drug delivery applications for those diseases,” he said. “In my career, I want to contribute heavily as a researcher in the field of biomedical engineering and microsystems engineering.”

Bari received a Graduate Student Research Award for three consecutive years (2018-20), was granted with an in-state tuition waiver by the College of Engineering and Science (COES) because of his service as a Teaching Assistant with academic good standing, and in 2020 was selected for the position of Research Intern under the summer program organized by the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network (LBRN). He has earned more than a dozen certifications, honors, and awards.

Besides serving as president of the Students Association of Bangladesh, Bari was treasurer of the COES Graduate Students Council last year and began a volunteer social work project under the Adopt a Road program through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

He has been accepted as a Postdoctoral Research Associate by the University of Mississippi and will begin the next chapter of his dream career in Oxford, Mississippi.

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