Sloane Robinson scholars' report on their MSc research

This year’s two Sloane Robinson scholars, Marisol Martinez Alanis (St Catherine’s College) and Qian Cheng (St Hilda’s College), recently met with Mr George Robinson at the Department of Engineering Science prestigious Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture. They are now nearing the completion of their MSc in Biomedical Engineering and give an insight into their research projects…

Marisol Martinez Alanis’s project: “An Atrial Fibrillation Screening Android App”

Marisol reports: "Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a serious medical condition associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart failure, especially in women. As of now, there are no reliable tools for the screening of AF and most of the cases of this disease are normally undetected, making the detection of AF a critical health issue.

"The aim of my project is to develop an application that can be used with an Android phone for AF screening. One of the advantages of developing this application to be used in phones is that it can be applied in developing countries. The application will work by collecting Electrocardiogram (ECG) signals from an existing device, evaluate the quality of these signals and give the user the necessary feedback, either for recollection of data and/or for data analysis.

"So far, I have been working on the signal processing of the ECG signal, which can be divided into two main processes: the screening of AF and the measurement of the quality of the signal. The next step for the project will be testing how well these processes work on ECG signals".

After her Master’s degree, Marisol plans to go back to Mexico and use all that she has learnt on her MSc course to improve the health care system. She said: “I would like to go into teaching at my home university to boost the use of e-health in Mexico, since I believe it is a great tool for helping healthcare systems, especially in developing countries”.

Sloane Robinson Scholars 2013

Pictured here are Mr George Robinson (centre) with Qian Cheng (left) and Marisol Martinez Alanis (right) at this year's prestigious Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture.

Qian Cheng’s project: “Quantification of Magnetic Microbubbles Localisation in vivo”

Qian reports: "Gas microbubbles, coated with a surfactant or polymer shell, are used in the targeted delivery of a drug or therapeutic agent to a specific organ or tissue. However, this method is limited since the microbubbles do not dwell for a sufficient time period at the targeted site of treatment. Therefore, a new way has been adopted to involve a magnetic field to actuate the microbubbles towards the site of interest and to increase the dwell time at the same time.

"The objective of my project is to find an optimised method to be used for the targeted delivery of a therapeutic agent involving both magnetic actuation of the microbubbles and ultrasound exposure to rupture the microbubbles.

"I will continue the simulation on the relationship of the magnetic field and the motion of microbubbles. Other factors will also be considered, including the fluidic drag coefficient, bubble chain effect, and acoustic power by ultrasound. The target is to fully characterise the localisation of magnetic microbubbles in vivo".

After his MSc, Qian plans to join Dr A.J Kabla's research group in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He said: “My research topic will focus on the collective effects of cells migration. This topic has significant meaning in providing therapeutic solutions to the control of cancer tumours. After my graduation, I would like to be a university lecturer back in China and teach these advanced technologies and new discoveries to students”.

Sloane Robinson scholarships

Sloane Robinson scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional talent and promise in the field of biomedical engineering who have been offered a place on the taught MSc in Biomedical Engineering.

The Department is delighted to announce that trustees of the Foundation, Mr George Robinson and Mr Hugh Sloane, will be continuing to support these scholarships in 2014. The Department is grateful to Mr George Robinson and Mr Hugh Sloane for their continued support and personal commitment to the field of Biomedical Engineering.