CUBE (Club for Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering) is a student-run club whose mandate is to promote biomedical engineering at the undergraduate level. The oldest and largest chapter was founded in 1997 by Mark Ebden and Ran Gilad at the University of Toronto. Currently, the Toronto chapter has over 400 members from different programs and faculties.
To disseminate knowledge pertaining to the biomedical field as well as to serve as a point of contact between students, researchers and industry. This is accomplished by hosting events such as information sessions on the latest cutting-edge research in the fields of biomedical engineering, medicine and biotechnology; attending international conferences in related areas; networking with industry leaders during held speaker seminars; and touring various industrial plants, hospitals and laboratories.
The club is run entirely by a student executive committee following the dictates of our constitution, and is recognized as an official campus group. Anyone within the University of Toronto community is invited to join the Toronto chapter at no cost.
The idea for CUBE arose in 1997 at a discussion on biomedical engineering. When asked who was planning to pursue a career in biomedicine or biomedical engineering, only half the audience had raised their hand as most did not know what the profession entailed. We started doing some research on our own, looking at various websites trying to piece together the biomedical engineering puzzle. We quickly discovered that due to the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical engineering, we alone could never truly attain a good grasp of what a biomedical engineering does. We needed to speak to corporations involved in the business, tour hospitals, speak to biomedical engineers, and attend conferences in order to speak with researchers in the field. We realized that only an organization could muscle enough persuasion – and so CUBE was born.
CUBE quickly took off. During our first year, there were only two executives and membership was less than 100 people. We initiated the concept of the wine and cheese in order to network with corporations and to know what jobs exist and to whom we should apply. We toured several hospitals and managed to get into secluded areas such as the OR (operating room) at The Hospital for Sick Children. Having the backbone of an organization, we were able to bring in speakers such as representatives from medical school admissions.
CUBE became so successful, that we decided that it needed a full executive body to coordinate the multitude of activities. During the second year of operations, we had a fully elected executive committee and membership was around the 250 level. The size of the club allowed us to seek sponsorship for events such as the annual Biomedical Engineering Society conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The momentum ball just keep on rolling. We formed alliances with the Pre-Med Society and the Human Biology Student Union. Thus we were able to extend our events and activities without duplicating work, in addition to our membership base. Other schools – notably Queen’s, Waterloo, and McMaster as well as the University of Alberta and Calgary showed an interest in founding their own CUBE chapters and have now established their own.