Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh from the School of Engineering has a multidisciplinary approach to teaching and research.
What do you do at RMIT?
As a professor and as Director of the Centre for Advanced Electronics and Sensors I work with both students and colleagues on a diverse range of research areas including gas and bio-sensing, two dimensional electronics, devices for medical diagnostics and microfluidics.
Our focus is on finding solutions to people’s needs and so we are looking into the possibilities of new science and engineering marvels that don’t even exist yet.
What drew you to this area and how did you get into it?
Research has been my passion since childhood. I have always loved exploring my surroundings and I’m amazed at how much we don’t know about ourselves and the materials around us.
What is it that drives your research?
Science is all about observation and it’s the unexpected outcomes that generally result in significant discoveries – which can be very exciting.
Have you got any particular awards or achievements?
I was recently shortlisted for a physics prize by the Australia Academy of Sciences and have also been the recipient of several RMIT research awards, including an Office of Learning and Teaching award in 2012.
What are the challenges in your research area?
Challenges are finding the right people to join our research group; securing funding to ensure financial security so that we can focus on the research; and convincing the world at large that what we are doing is unique and worthy of support.
What do you enjoy about it and what are the advantages?
I love being involved in any activity that results in discovery – it’s the aim of life, isn’t it!
Where do you see your research area in ten years?
I am hoping that our work will be a major influence for improving human health and also for the future of electronic devices.
Currently we are focused on the development of human gas capsules which will be an important future diagnostic tool for gastroenterology and we are also developing two dimensional electronics which will significantly impact the electronic industries.
What kind of student succeeds in this area? What qualities do they possess?
I don’t believe there is one particular category of student that will succeed in this area. Anyone who reaches university level already has the intelligence, but only those that are prepared to work hard will have a chance to make an impact.
Any student in any field can be a high achiever – human beings don’t have a limit!
I do think that students need to think ‘globally’ these days. Permanent research jobs are difficult to find – it’s a pity that Australia is so heavily services-oriented.
What do you enjoy about teaching into the Master program?
Dealing with enthusiastic minds; being involved in student challenges; and seeing their successes both during and after their studies is very rewarding.
I enjoy teaching and researching in multidisciplinary areas and in turn, I always encourage my students to have many different skills to fit into different job categories.