Setting out during his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering as a student ambassador, Thomas Beltrame (BEng(Biome)(Hons),MEng(Biomed) ’20) has always held true a vision of helping others.
Initially, it was through delivering and designing STEM-focused workshops with school students, sharing his passion as a budding engineer. Then, it was through revealing information hidden within data, to assist industry by improving security, efficiency, and accuracy as a data scientist.
This year, Thomas has returned to Flinders University to begin his Doctoral Candidate journey under the supervision of Dr David Hobbs and A/Prof Kenneth Pope, focused on the field of rehabilitation and assistive technology, paired with a personal interest in music.
His PhD is focused on investigating the intersection between rehabilitation, music therapy, mirror therapy, and virtual reality. Thomas will research a combination of multiple rehabilitation methods that are proven to create benefits individually, in the hope that when delivered simultaneously, the therapy will correlate to better outcomes overall.
“I’m very excited that my own research project, and the rehabilitation technology I develop as a result of it, could truly improve someone else’s quality of life!” says Thomas.
However, this isn’t the first time Thomas has explored the combination of music and biomedical research.
“My master’s was also centred around music, however, the focus for that project was on respiratory rehabilitation through the development of an electric trumpet, rather than motor recovery through virtual instruments, as I’m investigating for my PhD,” he says.
“My objective was, and still is, to create novel musical instruments that are fun to use, accessible by people with disabilities, and make therapy more exciting. I am able to combine the electronics, software, and design components of my degree into meaningful biomedical applications.”
Thomas remains a student ambassador and tutor with Flinders University, while also working as a data scientist with Consilium Technology, so it is safe to say no two days are alike!
“As a data scientist, I’ve learned how to develop and implement machine learning solutions,” he explains.
“I have been exposed to the agricultural, construction, mining, and defence sectors, and worked on unique and engaging problems in each area.”
Thomas has applied the mantra of being open to as many new experiences as his schedule will allow throughout his time at Flinders and beyond. That includes extracurricular sporting clubs, robotics clubs, biomedical projects, event management and a whole range of other opportunities that led to building professional relationships that continue to thrive.
He has also become a member of the inaugural STEM Alumni Steering Group within the College of Science and Engineering, assisting with the development and implementation of initiatives and programs that are relevant and valuable to both alumni and current students.
“The combination of all these experiences, in addition to the technical proficiency I had obtained from the degree, gave me the unique insight to approach problems with a wide lens and enabled me to feel comfortable exploring uncertainty before settling on and pursuing a single solution,” he says.
“These experiences assisted me in developing the confidence to present my work and share my suggestions and feedback as a graduate employee. Professionally, my ability to communicate has been recognised as one of my strongest attributes, which is a direct result of the experiences and opportunities fostered by Flinders University.”