3MT 2022 Finalist Thomas Goodhart

Thomas Goodhart

Biomedical Engineering, College of Natural + Applied Sciences

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Understanding Fluid in the Lungs: A Slinky in Motion

Introduce yourself...

I was born and raised in Calgary, AB, and went to Western University for my undergraduate degree, completing a BSc in Electrical Engineering. During my time at Western, I was introduced to the world of Biomedical Engineering via the specialization option in the Electrical Engineering program, sparking an interest in the research and development of devices used in everyday medical practice. I hope to continue researching beyond my graduate education, and maybe even develop a medical device of my own one day! Outside of academia, I love playing hockey and watching the Edmonton Oilers, play golf, and enjoy hiking/camping in the summer.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), my research aims to identify how healthy lungs respond to common changes in the body, such as lying down and exercising. More specifically, I am able to use MRI to capture how much fluid is within the lung space, and how much of it fills different areas of the lungs. By scanning an individual for a period of time immediately after lying down or exercising, I will be able to capture how a healthy set of lungs responds to common changes over time.

Similar studies to mine have demonstrated an ability to predict health outcomes in heart failure patients using the same MRI technique/analysis, however, have not considered the change over time aspect. My hope is that my research can become the healthy control study that concretely describes normal lung function, empowering future studies to explore the differences in responses between healthy lungs and unhealthy lungs (people with COPD, heart failure patients, etc.). I believe this area of research has the potential to become a useful clinical test in the future.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

When presenting, I often have a tenancy to over-explain or be overly-specific. 3MT has helped me learn how to be punctual with my explanations, while still keeping the core message and important details in tact. After-all, 3 minuets is not a lot of time to describe 2 years worth of research!

What inspires you to do research?

I have many immediate and extended family members in the health care/ medical professions, so I have been exposed to medical devices from a young age. I have seen first-hand what advancements in the field can do for patients quality of life and length of life, and how incredibly happy it can make people. Because of this, I am very driven towards the goal of being apart of the research and development of a new medical practice or device that can serve to better lives.

What are three keywords important to your 3MT?

Lungs, fluid, slinky

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

Given that my research is serving a healthy control study, and aims to advance the knowledge in a relatively new space, there is not immediate impacts seen. However, I believe my research will be an important stepping stone that will lead to new clinical tests being developed that has the potential to greatly increase positive patient outcomes. This would positively impact any community with regular access to MRI.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future—who would it be and why?

My parents, for always being a fantastic support team for all of the difficult times and amazing times in my life that lead me to graduate research. An extra special shout-out to my dad for showing me the inside of a cardiac lab as a kid, and inspiring my particular interest in cardio-pulmonary research.

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Watch Thomas' Three Minute Thesis