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Banting Postdoctoral Fellow aims to advance tumour treatment

Dr. Farshad Moradi Kashkooli, first recipient based at TMU, to collaborate with iBEST researchers
By: Andy Lee
September 15, 2023
Dr. Farshad Moradi Kashkooli

Dr. Farshad Moradi Kashkooli has a personal interest in finding a better way to treat tumours.

“The loss of my mother due to cancer deeply impacted me, driving me to contemplate how even the smallest contribution on my part could make a significant difference in helping patients facing similar challenges,” said Dr. Moradi Kashkooli, the first recipient of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) based at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU).

Working at TMU and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST), Dr. Moradi Kashkooli is developing a new hybrid tumour treatment technique by combining unfocused ultrasound and nanomedicine.
“My ultimate aspiration is to equip physicians with previously unexplored tools and methods, empowering them to tackle clinical issues more effectively, ultimately enhancing the lives of the patients,” said Dr. Moradi Kashkooli. “The intersection of biomedical engineering, physics and medicine is a realm of boundless fascination, driving my pursuit of meaningful contributions to the world of health care.”

How does it feel to be named a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow? How will this affect your research?

I am delighted to receive the highly prestigious and intensely competitive Banting PDF and also become the first recipient from TMU. The Banting PDF program is unique in its emphasis on the synergy between the applicant and the host institution.

Under the supervision of Dr. Kolios and Dr. Tavakkoli, I will receive extensive technical training in biomedical physics and research at TMU and iBEST, where I will have access to world-class therapeutic ultrasound facilities. The unique combination of available instrumentation, together with the large team, their multidisciplinary expertise, supervisors and the institutional support structures with access to core facilities at St. Michael’s Hospital, will provide an excellent research foundation. One of our main research interests is the development of a clinically useful non-invasive cancer treatment technique. Using therapeutic ultrasound for drug release and delivery applications is a relatively new approach in cancer treatment; however, our methodology of using unfocused ultrasound is completely novel. We plan to use innovative mathematical models and cell experiments to examine the efficacy of the presented technology to answer some open questions in drug delivery to tumours. This fellowship is an excellent opportunity for me to learn about every aspect of this treatment, and it will surely open up new doors for me in Canada.

“TMU provided me with a transformative opportunity to showcase my abilities.”

Dr. Farshad Moradi Kashkooli, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

How has your relationship been with your supervisors Dr. Michael Kolios and Dr. Jahangir Tavakkoli?

I joined TMU immediately after completing my PhD. I had the pleasure to work with at least five exceptional supervisors during my graduate and undergraduate studies. I appreciate all their efforts in shaping me into the researcher I am today. However, working with Dr. Kolios and Dr. Tavakkoli certainly has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

Dr. Kolios is a world-class scientist, mentor and supervisor, and I feel extremely fortunate to have trained under him. I cannot imagine working with him and not feeling inspired and energized to perform better science. Dr. Tavakkoli, my other supervisor, is a leading researcher and scientist with more than 25 years of experience in both industry and academia. He has deep knowledge and expertise in the biomedical physics field, particularly ultrasound. I have learned a lot in the last two years, not just about biomedical physics and research, but also about life.

I consider myself very lucky to have such supportive supervisors at this critical time of my career, and to receive continuous support for all my scientific activities. I aspire to one day emulate them and inspire others in a similar manner. Engaging in the process of writing papers for conferences/journals, and presenting my ideas to them, has been immensely beneficial. They diligently explore the subject matter from various angles, fostering an enriching back-and-forth that has significantly expanded my knowledge. I am continuously learning from them every day.

How is your TMU graduate education preparing you for your career?

TMU and iBEST host a fascinating number of researchers involved in remarkable endeavours across diverse disciplines in biomedical physics and biomedical engineering. Observing their passion and enthusiasm while discussing their work has been a profound learning experience for me. TMU provided me with a transformative opportunity to showcase my abilities. The exceptional research facilities and unwavering support offered by the university played a crucial role in helping me establish a robust foundation in biomedical physics. As a result, my confidence soared, surpassing that of students from other institutions. My entire experience, encompassing research, academic curricula and extracurricular activities, has been truly exceptional.

During my two and half years at TMU, I have accomplished remarkable feats, publishing over 10 excellent journal papers, delivering presentations at numerous conferences and mentoring a couple of students. These achievements have not only advanced my academic standing but have also significantly enhanced my communication skills.

I am deeply aware that none of these would have been possible without the continuous support of TMU and my supervisors. Their guidance and encouragement have been instrumental in shaping my academic journey. This enabled me to make meaningful contributions to the field of biomedical ultrasound. For example, I recently received another recognition as “Rising Scientists in Therapeutic Ultrasound” from the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU).

What advice do you have for graduate students?

Find your passion in your research and devote as much time as you can to pursuing it. Personally, the experience of discovering new knowledge through my research gives me the most wonderful pleasure. This special moment has been a great inspiration for me, fuelling my desire to work even harder in the hopes of experiencing more of such impactful moments. It is my sincere hope that each of you will find your own version of this joy.

Throughout my Ph.D., I faced new challenges that provided remarkable opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. I encourage you to embrace every moment of this academic journey, whether it brings positive or challenging experiences, as it can profoundly shape your life and expand your horizons in ways you cannot even imagine. Approach the experience with enthusiasm and an open mind, for it holds the potential to transform you in unexpected and powerful ways. Embrace your passions and stay committed to your pursuits, as they may pave the way for unexpected opportunities and accomplishments. Persistent dedication, hard work and effort invariably yield fruitful results.

Any other comments?

I am deeply grateful to TMU for providing me with the invaluable opportunity to collaborate with an exceptional team in a distinctive environment, particularly under the mentorship of Dr. Kolios and Dr. Tavakkoli, along with their dedicated lab members. The journey so far has filled me with immense pride, not only for my past accomplishments but also for the collective efforts we invested in developing the Banting PDF application. I sincerely hope that our work will yield impactful outcomes.

Looking ahead, my vision is to establish a long-term presence in Canada, the place where my journey of opportunities began. I am also immensely grateful to my family for their unwavering support.