By Ty Burke

In celebration of Carleton University’s 2023 Throwback week–a homecoming for alumni and community members–we sat down with seven alumni to see where they are now. Their stories moved us and reminded us of the impact our engineering and design alumni have on creating technology for good, sustainability, health and wellness, and social innovation.

Decoding Complexity

Jinu Kurian is a data scientist at Braebon Medical Corporation. Junu wants to do work where she can make an immediate positive impact, and at Braebon Medical Corporation, she’s able to do exactly that. Kurian is an algorithm developer with the Ottawa-headquartered medical device company, and it often takes mere months for technological advances to be incorporated into software for testing in new products. The main challenge is figuring out how to make these improvements.

“There are a lot of considerations when you’re developing algorithms. Biological data can be really noisy, and often differs from what you might see in a textbook,” says Kurian.

Jinu Kurian, algorithm developer, Braebon Medical Corporation, biomedical engineering alumna.

“Humans are incredibly variable and individual differences in human physiology can affect the signals we receive. This can be caused by cardiac arrythmias and skin tones, or even something as minor the way someone laughs or blinks.”

And because all individuals are different, an advance for one population does not necessarily translate for the population as a whole.

“It is just as difficult to account for differences in a single individual’s human physiology on different days. Changes in behaviour such as caffeine or alcohol intake, poor sleep, stress, hunger and smoking can all affect the signals we receive.”

Kurian completed a Master of Applied Science in biomedical engineering, and credits her Carleton education with preparing her to solve this type of messy problem.

“You can solve many problems by writing code, but the professors were really great at asking how should you approach it, and what you should care about. We weren’t just randomly applying math,” she says.

“Even during my thesis, my professors pushed me to think critically about assumptions made, and what we were actually measuring. In that sense, it really gave me a perspective on how to approach engineering problems.”

Want to participate in Carleton’s 2023 Throwback events? Visit the alumni website to learn more.

Thursday, September 21, 2023
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