The First Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering Distinguished Lecturer Seminar

In May, the Department’s first Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering Distinguished Lecturer Seminar was delivered by Professor Mathias Fink, Professor of Physics, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) de la ville de Paris & Collège de France and Member of French Academy of Sciences. He is also the Founder and Director of the Laboratory Ondes et Acoustique at ESPCI that in 2009 became the Langevin Institute.

Professor Matthias FinkProfessor Fink’s lecture titled: “Biomedical applications of ultrasonic time-reversal: from cancer detection to functional imaging,” provided a fascinating insight into how his research on ultrasonic time-reversal methods applied to medicine and highlighted his commitment to making an impact in the real world of healthcare.

During his lecture he explained ‘how a time-reversal analysis technique of the data from an array of receivers produces a reconstruction of the transversed medium and an image of internal subject. The time-reversal analysis is made possible because the speed of sound’. Professor Fink said: “The result is a much improved signal-to-noise ratio which allows for faster scan times and more detail, both of which lead to improved specificity for detection of density changes due to diseases like cancer”.

Professor Fink has developed different techniques in acoustic imaging (transient elastography, supersonic shear imaging), wave focusing in inhomogeneous media (time-reversal mirrors), speckle reduction, and in ultrasonic laser generation. He holds more than 50 patents, and has published more than 300 articles. Four companies with close to 170 employees have been created from his research (Echosens, Sensitive Object,Supersonic Imagine and Time Reversal Communications).

Professor Fink’s lecture is available to view online.

Over 100 guests at the first Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering Distinguished Lecturer Seminar also had the opportunity to go on laboratory tours to see some of the results of the research undertaken by IBME Early Career Researchers (ECRs). In addition, postgraduate research students on the CDT in Healthcare Innovation programme staged a poster session to showcase their projects.

Distinguished lecture poster exhibition

The Oxford Centre for Doctoral Training

The Oxford CDT is the main training initiative of the Department’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering. It was funded by Research Councils UK as part of the Digital Economy Programme CDTs, and the first cohort of students started in October 2009.  To date 57 students from 26 countries have been recruited.

Students undertake a four-year programme, with one year of intensive training followed by a 3 year DPhil, which includes further subject-specific and general skills training. CDT training and research is structured around three topics: Information-driven healthcare, personalised healthcare and cancer therapeutics and delivery.

Though the first cohort will graduate only at the end of this academic year, they are already making an impact on UK and international research. To date, CDT students have won 20 national and international prizes. These include the Healthcare Technologies Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Dell Best Innovation Leveraging Technology, and the TATA Idea Idol. They have produced 47 peer-reviewed publications, 2 patent applications and have won 22 scholarships and engaged in overseas placements and internships.

A fundamental part of the CDT, and one that distinguishes it from similar programmes is its commitment to the translation of academic research to clinical practice and industrial exploitation. At present, 48 companies engage in CDT activities including internships and sponsorship, mentorship and co-supervision of research projects, and guest lectures.