Published: 15 March 2018

Meet the academic: Dr Serge Cirovic

Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Programme Leader of our MSc in Biomedical Engineering, Dr Serge Cirovic tells us how he came to be an academic and what most excites him about teaching.

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Please could you introduce yourself – perhaps you could tell us something that isn’t on your staff profile page?

I feel I have a lot in common with our MSc students because biomedical engineering was a new subject for me at Masters level, as it is for many of them. I’d previously done an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering.

How and why did you become an academic?

It was partly due to circumstances. I graduated just when the political and economic situation in Yugoslavia (now Serbia) imploded, so moved to Canada for my Masters and PhD, where the recession then hit. After my PhD I worked as a postdoctoral researcher – at Defence Research and Development Canada – which took me in the direction of an academic career.

What excites you most about your current role?

I like the fact that I can put my own ideas forward and shape my teaching in a way that is not standard. For example the traditional way of teaching mechanics has always been to begin with statics and then move on to kinematics, but I decided that it was more logical to start with kinematics so have shaped the courses I teach in that way.

It’s also incredibly gratifying to see my students going on to succeed. I recently gave a reference over the phone for a student who was being offered a job in Canada, having been one of 140 applicants. The employer told me that what had impressed them was his breadth of knowledge – gained from Surrey’s MSc Biomedical Engineering.

What is your particular area of academic expertise, and why are you passionate about it?

I specialise in computer modelling with emphasis on soft tissue modelling, and also fluid structure modelling (for example looking at cerebral spinal fluid and how it interacts with the spinal cord and other structures). I’m currently involved in a project aimed at developing a ‘smart socket’ for prosthetics patients.

Why should people study at postgraduate level in your academic area?

Surrey’s MSc Biomedical Engineering is the longest established in England and gives you a broad platform, whether you want to go into the medical engineering industry or do a PhD.

What are you looking for in a postgraduate student?

They have to be able to think in a critical and analytical way, and to synthesis various pieces of information.

Is there a particular memory of your time at Surrey (so far) which stands out for you?

When students have come back to me at the end of the course and told me that they enjoyed it and are really happy that they did it.

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