Skip to Content

Undergraduate Student Profile

Belinda Kusuma

Program: Specialist in Biological Physics, Minor in Math
Year of Study: 4

fall 2020 newsletter belinda kusuma

Why did you decide to major in Physics? What was your inspiration?

I’ve always known that I wanted to do science one day, and that didn’t changed when I started looking for a university. Physics in particular draws me because everything in this universe obeys the laws of physics, and I want to know it all. I specifically went into biological physics because I also enjoy doing biology, and this program is a wonderful combination of the two.

What do you enjoy most about the physics program?

I like that the physics program encourages students to take all the foundational courses in all branches of physics, which allows a strong foundational knowledge that can then be applied in many things. I also like that the program gives students so much freedom to choose whichever courses they want to take for the later part of their degree, allowing us to tailor our own degree.

What other extra-curricular activities are you involved in during your degree?

I am part of a student dance group called Yun Dance Crew, which practices and performs Chinese dance. I am also quite active in the Newman Catholic Centre here at the University of Toronto.

What are your research interests?

Currently I am working in Dr. John Rubinstein's cryo-EM lab, which uses electrons to look at super small things to very high resolutions, such as proteins. I’m working on increasing the efficiency of streptavidin crystals formation in order to create a support for the protein sample, allowing for fewer proteins to be used to gain the same resolution.

What is your favorite course and why?

I love PHY354, Advanced Classical Mechanics. I’ve always enjoyed classical mechanics, because you don't have much more than intuition about what happens, but there are still so many surprises and fun things that happen in the more complicated set ups. Furthermore, Prof. Michael Luke was a wonderful teacher and lecturer who manages to make even moments of inertia interesting.

What are your future plans?

I hope that I’ll still be working in science! I am planning to go to grad school, and I am looking for alternative careers in science, such as science communication or science outreach.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope I’ve finished my PhD by then, but other than that, I still don’t quite know. We’ll see where I go!

Tell me something interesting about yourself.

I knit! And crochet, sew, embroider and basically do a lot of hand crafting. It uses a different part of my brain than I would have used to do physics, and sometimes, after a knitting session, I realized that the solution to a problem set question is just there.