Shaurya Gupta (1T6 + PEY)

Shaurya Gupta in the operating room with an augmented reality goggle as neurosurgeons work on resecting at tumour at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Shaurya Gupta in the operating room wearing an augmented reality goggle as neurosurgeons work on resecting at tumour at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

This past year, I spent my time working in the department of Neurosurgery at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. I worked in close collaboration with Dr. Victor Yang (EngSci 9T7), a staff neurosurgeon at Sunnybrook and an alumnus of the Engineering Science program. Under his guidance, I helped test and develop a surgical navigation device for use in spinal and neurosurgical procedures. While the opportunity to work on a revolutionary medical device is amazing in its own right, the experience of being a part of over 50 surgical procedures is life changing.

A typical day at Sunnybrook was nothing short of challenging. It started off with a 6-8 hour surgical procedure beginning sharp at 7:45 AM. My time in the operating room was spent juggling between assisting the staff with our prototype surgical navigation and working on my computer, designing new tools and debugging code written at 2 AM the previous night. Ultimately, for both Dr. Yang and I, the real reward was looking at the post-operative scan and confirming that the pedicle screw was in a perfect location or that most of the brain tumour had been resected. It is here, when you take a step back and realize how the theory learned in the foundation years of EngSci really helps in changing the world for the better – at least for that one patient.

Outside the operating room, I spent my time machining new tools for use with the navigation system or doing bench-top experiments in preparation for the next conference. I learned a lot over the past 12 months – from my ever-increasing knowledge of human anatomy to mastering my cooking skills. Overall, working in a fast paced environment like an operating room has its challenges, but in the end, it’s all worth it.