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Milica Radisic

As an engineer you will never be bored, there is always something new going on and new things that one can learn.

Dr. Milica Radisic is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering. She obtained B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University in 1999, and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004. Before joining University of Toronto in 2005, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology. Dr. Radisic has received numerous awards and fellowships, including MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators under 35. In 2006, she was featured on the cover of the book Changing our world: True stories of women engineers. Toronto Star named her one of the people to watch in 2010. She was named “The One to Watch” by the Scientist in June 2010 and she was the recipient of McMaster Arch Award in June 2010. She was a recipient of the Professional Engineers Ontario-Young Engineer Medal in 2011, Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award in 2012 and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and E.W.R Steacie Fellowship in 2014. Dr. Radisic’s research is in the field of cardiac tissue engineering and biomaterials. She utilizes heart cells in combination with biomaterial scaffolds and bioreactors to cultivate functional heart tissue in vitro. Her research on electrical field stimulation was featured on the cover of Toronto Life in the piece titled 25 Ideas That Are Changing the World and CanadaAM in December 2009. Her research interests also include development of injectable biomaterials for cardiac regeneration, microfluidic cell separation and development of in vitro models for cell injection and drug testing. Currently, Dr. Radisic holds research funding from NSERC, CFI, ORF, NIH, CIHR and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She is a Section Editor-Bioengineering for the International Journal of Artificial Organs and a member of Editorial Board of Tissue Engineering. She serves on CIHR BME panel and TERMIS-AM membership committee. Her research findings were presented in over 100 research papers, reviews and book chapters.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your current job?

I am an Associate Professor in Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto. My job involves doing research with my graduate students, teaching undergraduate and graduate students, writing scientific papers, writing grant proposals and giving lectures on our research at various other Universities and conferences.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I always loved chemistry and I also loved the rigour of mathematics. I found that the discipline of Chemical Engineering combined those two perfectly, and I decided to pursue it.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is working with the graduate students and undergraduate students in my lab and seeing how they develop into independent thinkers.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

I am celebrating the National Engineering Month by raising awareness of the profession with the high school students.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

As an engineer you will never be bored, there is always something new going on and new things that one can learn.

How would you describe the relationship with your mentor/mentee?

I think one very important aspect of the mentor/mentee relationship is making sure your mentor knows what your ultimate career goal is. A mentor can then help mentee develop his/her CV to be competitive for the selected career. E.g. if you would like to pursue a career in academia, the mentor can help you by giving you opportunities to write review papers in addition to original research papers thus enhancing your publication record, by sending you to strategically selected research conferences etc. If you would like for example, to be an entrepreneur, your mentor can help during your graduate studies by sending you to work shops and courses that enhance those skills.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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