International women at ABI

UniNews has written a series of profiles on women at the University of Auckland, to mark 125 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand. This profile is on Bahareh Madadkhahsalmassi, from Iran.

19 November 2018

Bahareh Madadkhahsalmassi
Bahareh Madadkhahsalmassi

Bahareh is one of 14 international female PhD students at Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Of the 91 students at ABI, 31 are female.

Bahar, as she calls herself, came to New Zealand in 2015 with her husband Rasoul to do her PhD with the Institute’s Jet Injector group. She’s working on an organic electrochemical transistor to sense glucose in the fluid extracted by a Jet Injector.

“Diabetic people have to pierce their skin by needle and measure their blood glucose by glucose sensors,” she explains. “This process is painful and has the risk of infection. Jet injectors use a jet of fluid to pierce the skin and suck back the blood to measure glucose concentration.”

Bahar grew up in Tehran and got a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tehran University and then worked as a technician in a laboratory for a company producing hygiene and dental products. She progressed from being manager of the laboratory to manager of the whole factory and completed her Masters in Chemical Engineering.

While her company was staffed solely by women, and 50 percent
of students at Tehran University where she studied were women, Bahar says she enjoys the freedom she has as a woman in New Zealand.

I don’t have to wear a hijab every day and I feel a freedom here. In Iran women still have no right to divorce – men do. But I think Iranian women are so powerful. They can overcome these problems.

Bahareh Madadkhahsalmassi Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Once she’s finished her doctorate, Bahar would like to stay if she can get a job.

“New Zealand is a peaceful country and has great nature to explore.”

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