Research Scientist from Ukraine finds many advantages to living in Thunder Bay

Research Scientist from Ukraine finds many advantages to living in Thunder Bay

Sasha Bubon, Associate Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and Chief Technology Officer of Radialis Medical, has accomplished a lot since immigrating from Ukraine 12 years ago.


His story and eventual path to Canada began with an online search when he was an undergraduate student with a degree in computer science and engineering.   He was looking to apply to a Master’s Program in Physics and was researching international opportunities when his search led him to Dr. Alla Reznik, currently the Canada Research Chair in Physics Radiation and Medical Imaging and a Professor at Lakehead University.  Sasha had never heard of Lakehead University or Thunder Bay but he was interested in Dr. Reznik’s work and the connection with Dr. Reznik, who coincidentally is also from the Ukraine, sparked the journey that would eventually lead him to the shores of Lake Superior.

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But it would take a while and as Sasha tells it, there was a lot of paperwork and back and forth communications before his arrival in Canada in 2010.   He began the process in 2009 and recalls the that it took some time to determine what the University would accept and verification of his degree from the Ukraine. The program at Lakehead University is thesis based and the research is for detectors in medical imaging.  Sasha feels that his education in Engineering from the Ukraine was especially helpful in applying for the applied physics program.  This was exactly what Dr. Reznik was working on, and his background was a perfect fit.  Sasha was accepted into the program and after a few more delays, finally found himself on his way to Canada.

It was the middle of winter when Sasha arrived in Thunder Bay in January 2010 and although he had researched the city, he found it to be a quite a change from home and what he was used to.  Born and raised in the capitol city of Kyiv, a  large city which he describes as “vibrant and dynamic”, he readily admits that it was quite a transition to what he describes as “rural Canada”.  He had never heard of Thunder Bay before, and other than Dr. Reznik who had just recently moved from Toronto to Thunder Bay herself, he had no other connections to the city.  The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute was just starting up at that time and Sasha was one of the first Masters students to work there.  It was a tremendous opportunity and in addition owning and managing his own business, Radialis Medical, he has remained there and a contributing member of the Thunder Bay community ever since.

Sasha recalls his initial impressions of the area when he arrived and how it compared to the research he did to prepare for the move.  The weather required some adjusting initially.  Because Thunder Bay is on the same latitude as Kyiv, he expected similar conditions but hadn’t factored in the cooling effect of Lake Superior, which he describes, with a hint of humour, as a “giant thermos”.  Sasha’s geography research gave him a better sense of where he was located in Ontario and he noted the city’s closeness to the American border, which saw as being a plus.   But he didn’t know much about the city of Thunder Bay itself.  Most of what he knew was through his association with Dr. Reznik who he describes as a “superstar” in the science field and he readily admits that he came here specifically for the opportunity to work with her.   But Sasha is not short on enthusiasm for his adopted city.