When Dr Noushin Nasiri was a kid, she thought becoming a doctor was the only way to be a hero. The only trouble was, she can’t stand the sight of blood! But Noushin, now a materials engineer, has the ability to save lives in another way: with medical devices. She’s working on a mobile breathalyzer for detecting disease, and it might not be long before you see it on the market.
At UTS, where Noushin is a postdoctoral researcher, she fabricates tiny, nanosized sensors which can detect diseases (such as liver and kidney diseases, diabetes and cancer) in human breath. The sensors are mounted onto a rectangular disk and Noushin plans for them to be slotted into a smartphone.
“Blood tests can be painful, expensive and time-consuming”, says Noushin. “This is a non-invasive, simple alternative”.
Noushin is on a journey to commercialize the breathalyzer. She’s been spreading the word about her lab’s exciting new developments at industry events and competitions such as Three Minute Thesis and FameLab. Numerous companies who produce medical devices have already approached Noushin to invest in her research.
As the device gets closer to commercialization, Noushin is getting closer to achieving her dream of using science to improve the quality of people’s lives.
Noushin advises students interested in STEM to “Be brave! Don’t be afraid to get into a field you’re interested in. There are many fields with a potential for future growth.”
She recognizes that there aren’t nearly enough female scientists yet, but she is very optimistic about the future. Her message to girls is that “even if there aren’t enough female role models, you can be the role model.”
– Larissa Fedunik-Hoffman