Dr. Tomas Hirmer - SSP09 and MSS10
In 2009, I participated in ISU's Space Studies Program (SSP09), hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center in California. This was an incredible experience where I met inspiring people from around the world. Additionally, the Space Life Sciences Department activities, in particular the lectures and hands-on workshops in space medicine and surgical robotics, helped motivate my future research interests. After completing the SSP09, I continued on to the ISU Master of Space Studies Program, with an internship at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) near Munich, where I researched virtual reality simulation for minimally invasive robotic surgery with an emphasis on haptics and soft-tissue modeling.
Upon completing my ISU Master of Science in Space Studies Degree in 2010, I worked for a Canadian space company (MDA) on a robotic arm intended for orbital space applications called the Next Generation Canadarm. With MDA (and later with the University of Calgary), I also worked on the neuroArm neurosurgery robotics project. Then with the United Nations and the World Bank in Washington, DC, I was a project manager and technology consultant on international development projects. ISU's "3 I's" philosophy (Interdisciplinary, Intercultural, and International) prepared me well for these international and interdisciplinary experiences.
After graduating from medical school at the University of Calgary, I am presently training as a neurosurgery resident physician in Vancouver, British Columbia. ISU fostered my interest in space medicine, surgical robotics, international collaborations, and interdisciplinary projects, and has been instrumental in shaping my professional development.