People Profiles

Parvind Grewal, PhD, Mechatronic Systems Engineering

September 30, 2015

Though it might look like a glove to most people, for Dr. Parvind Grewal it was an open door.

Grewal is a Research Project Manager at the BC Cancer Agency. She completed a PhD in Mechatronics Systems Engineering at SFU in 2014.

Grewal manages an online program that provides professionally facilitated support groups for people with cancer. As part of her role, she analyses chatroom data to help treatment providers understand how to better meet the needs of their patients.

For someone with an extensive background in software and hardware design, Grewal's current role represents a pretty big career shift—one that she is very happy about.

“Before I started my PhD program I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had recently emigrated to Vancouver from India. I knew I liked working in the technical field but I also craved something more,” she says. 

For her doctoral project, Grewal designed a glove embedded with multiple types of sensors that doctors could use to more accurately detect breast cancer. Through the process of setting up medical trials to test the glove, Grewal discovered a new and unexpected calling: helping improve patient supports. 

“I realized what I really loved was using my technical knowledge to find solutions to patients' problems. In my new role I am able to continue to do that by helping them use online communication methods to access the supports they want and need,” she says.

Grewal explains that not only did her PhD program help her define her direction, but also gave her what she needed to pursue it. “I gained so many skills through my PhD, like how to learn and experiment with new software, how to lead clinical trials and how to analyze the clinical data. As well, I got a lot of experience managing people, which is a big part of what I do now,” she says.

Grewal adds that one of the most important resources she gained from her doctoral work was a network grounded in Vancouver’s health-service providing community.

“It was hard reaching out to new people, but my supervisor, Dr. Farid Golnaraghi, really pushed me to talk to people at the BC Cancer Agency. The relationships I created through my program are what led me to where I am today,” she says.

Author: Jackie Amsden

Recent Blog Posts

  • External Award: WorkSafeBC Innovation at Work Grants December 04, 2019
    The 2018 WorkSafe BC Innovation at Work competition launches November 3, 2017, with an application deadline in late January or early February. The award is generally $50,000 and is geared towards funding proposals that are innovative and practical.

  • Call for Proposal: 17th Symposium on Teaching and Learning March 01, 2019
    The SFU Teaching and Learning Centre invites interactive and innovative proposals that demonstrate how your practice, research, or scholarly inquiry relates to the theme of Assessing and Celebrating Teaching and Student Learning. Deadline: Mar 22

  • Tea Time Talk March 01, 2019
    Join the event on Mar 18 to enjoy afternoon tea while sharing with us a conversation on how SFU can foster a culture of fairness, belonging and diversity. RSVP now

View Posts by Category