VIDEO: Hannah Dies: PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering

Posted on March 03, 2017


The latest in our series of profiles on PhD students in the Department of Chemical Engineering: Meet Hannah Dies. She is pursuing her PHD and MD simultaneously. Her PhD research involves exploring lab-on-a-chip technologies at the Kingston Nano-fabrication Laboratory. To learn more about graduate studies at Queen's visit the Department of Chemical Engineering and the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Video transcript:

    Hello, my name is Hannah Dies and I'm working on my MD/PhD in chemical engineering. I have an undergrad in physics from McMaster and I knew that I wanted to be able to do work that was... I wanted to continue in research but I wanted to be able to do work that was directly transferable, that I could apply in a medical setting, some type of biomedical research that was a little bit more transferable and relatable to the medical world.

    I'm working on a bio sensor: a device that's used to biochemical molecules in fluid samples. One of the most exciting things about my graduate work so far has been that I've been able to work at Innovation Park in the new Nanofabrication Facility.

    So, it's called Kingston Nanofabrication Facility, or KNFL. I've been fortunate enough to spend the majority of my PhD working there. It's a multi-million dollar facility.

    I'm using it to make microchips for my experiments but I wouldn't be able to do the experiments that I'm doing without that facility. It's a really, really cool facility, lots of really fancy, expensive equipment and they're very happy to train people on it and it's been a huge privilege to have that kind of facility while I've been working here.

    Coming to Queen's as a new student, not having an undergrad at Queen's, I was a little scared that I would not be able to make friends but my best friends are in this program and it's a very, very welcoming and also supportive social and academic environment.

    Being in Kingston makes a huge difference that I can be on the water in two minutes, running along the water or going hiking in Frontenac Park or on the Rideau Trail.

    I really like the outdoors aspect of that. It took me a little while to get used to, but now that I've been here

    for a few years, I really, really love it. I love the restaurants, the food. I think that's another thing people love about Kingston. It's beautiful, especially at this time of year. It's really, really nice.

    Queen's does offer you a basic funding package but as a student you have the opportunity to apply to

    a number of different governmental or school-based scholarships. That's a huge privilege, to be able to

    be paid for learning. It's pretty cool.

    I'm working on the Vanier Scholarship right now. That's what's been funding my graduate research

    and the funding that I'm getting through that is comparable to a first job.

    My advice would probably be to make sure you have a really supportive lab environment. Talk to some of the graduate students. I think all the supervisors here are amazing but you're going to have a different fit with every single one. That's a decision that you spend a lot of time on. That's made the biggest difference, having supervisors who are very supportive of my graduate education.