School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Smooth moves – Meet Andres Ramos

PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering    

by Phil Gaudreau, April 2020

Amy Cleaver

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel like you should be doing something more?

After graduating from a university in Mexico City, Andres Ramos got a job applying his computer engineering skills to work on databases. Yet, he felt something was missing in his career.

“Many of my family members are doctors, and I felt like I wanted to do something to help others,” he says. “I wanted to use my knowledge and technology to help them.”

Seeking to combine his medical interests and his technological knowledge, Andres went back to school for a master’s in biomedical engineering in Mexico, and later decided to pursue a PhD. When it came time to pick a school for his doctorate, he knew he wanted to return to Canada–a country where he had already spent some time learning English.

At first, he was leaning towards Vancouver after a previous visit introduced him to many friendly people and the big city’s atmosphere. But a compelling funding opportunity made it easier for him to come to Queen’s University, and it’s a decision Andres is glad he made.

“There are so many good things here in Kingston,” he says. “I have made many friends, including a local couple who helps feed international students, tutor them, help them find places to live, and help them get the supports they need. I have also made friends from all around the world through the Queen’s University International Centre.”

Andres is now five years into his studies and has even been joined by a family member on campus. His sister Alba is completing her doctorate in neuroscience at Queen’s.

“She is a doctor in Mexico and has come to study neurological rehabilitation from the clinical side,” he says. “Hopefully we can collaborate in the future, perhaps with other friends and colleagues.”

Andres’s research focuses on using robotics, haptic touch, and sensors to create devices that can help stroke victims rehabilitate.

Currently, those recovering from a stroke must work with a therapist to help them go through the motions that will help them regain their motor control. Andres’s device would help preserve therapists’ time for more difficult exercises.

“While stroke impairments are never the same, most of the patients have some upper limb loss of mobility,” Andres says. “We can treat most of the patients if we focus on this kind of therapy.”

Once he completes his studies, Andres hopes to stay in Canada through either a post-doctoral position or as a researcher. He has also had teaching opportunities through the Faculty of Engineering and hopes to teach again in the future.

On campus, Andres has had the opportunity to learn salsa dancing through a Queen’s club–rising from beginner to become a member of the performance team and an instructor.  He also plays the alto saxophone in the Queen’s Jazz Club.

“Dancing in particular has helped me overcome shyness and develop new skills,” he says. “In my time at Queen’s, I have learned you need to find a balance between social, activities, exercise, and academics. Once I found that balance, my grad student life got even better.”

To learn more about graduate programs in biomedical engineering, or other Queen’s graduate programs, visit the School of Graduate Studies’ website.