THE first joint MEIBioeng/MPEC conference, bringing together the academic biomedical engineering community and physicists and engineers working in healthcare, was a huge success and featured a wealth of high-profile speakers – and the inauguration of a new IPEM President.
Held over two days at Sandown Park racecourse just outside London, almost 250 people attended the conference.
Opened by out-going IPEM President, Professor David Brettle, and Professor Reza Razavi, the Vice President and Vice Principal (Research) at King’s College London, the conference featured a wealth of great speakers and a varied programme of talks, lectures and workshops.
The Woolmer Lecture, in particular, given by Professor Josef Käs, Head of Soft Matter Physics at the University of Leipzig, caught the audience’s attention with his new theory on why cervical cancer cells spread to some organs in preference to others.
Fresh from their council and board meeting in York, delegates from the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics gave an update and insight into developments across Europe, including education and training initiatives and a report on the European Examination Board, which introduces the European Diploma of Medical Physics (EDMP) and the European Attestation Certificate to those Medical Physicists that have reached the Medical Physics Expert level (EACMPE).
IPEM’s latest Honorary Fellow, Professor Marco Viceconti, Executive Director of the Insigneo Institute at the University of Sheffield, gave the Plenary lecture on ‘Subject-specific modelling in healthcare: Now’s the time’.
The Royal Academy of Engineering hosted a panel discussion, led by Dr Alan Walker, Head of Policy at the Academy, on ‘Influencing decision-makers: a researcher’s guide’. The panel featured Dr Helen Meese, Head of Healthcare for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Dr Helen Bodmer, of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Nishran Sunthares, Chief Operating Officer for the Association of British Healthcare Industries, and Graeme Tunbridge, Group Manager for Device Regulatory Affairs at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Trainees and students gave a variety of talks, including one by Areeb Zar, of King’s College London, on pre-surgical planning for robot-assisted transoesophageal echocardiography, a technique used in cardiac procedures.
The Chair of IPEM’s Fellowship Panel, Dr Stephen O’Connor, spent time between sessions talking to more than half a dozen Full Members who were considering applying to become Fellows of the Institute.
At the IPEM Annual General Meeting, held during the conference, the IPEM Presidency changed hands, with Professor David Brettle handing over the chain of office to Professor Mark Tooley. Professor Tooley subsequently presented the following awards and prizes during a reception and awards ceremony to recipients who were at the conference.
The Academic Gold Medal was presented to Professor David Lurie, from the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen, for his research in the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology and its applications.
The Innovation Early Career Award was presented to Mohammed Atari, Senior Mathematical Modeller at Cyprotex Discovery Limited, in Macclesfield, for his development of a model to predict the properties of novel pharmaceuticals.
The Roy Ellis Patient Benefit Award was presented to Dr Jonathan Ashmore and Dr Cormac McGrath for the interactive app they have developed. This prepares children for MRI scans by creating a 360° virtual reality video of the entire MRI journey, from arriving at the department to undergoing the scan itself.
The Martin Black Prize for the best paper in IPEM’s international journal ‘Physiological Measurement’, published by IOP Publishing, was collected by Dr Peter Charlton on behalf of his colleagues for their paper ‘An assessment of algorithms to estimate respiratory rate from the electrocardiogram and photoplethysmogram’.
The final award made on the night was IPEM’s highest award, of Honorary Fellowship, which was presented to Professor Viceconti.
Other award winners included Healthcare Gold Medal winner Dr Neil Lewis, Innovation Gold Medal winner Dr David Gow, the Academic Early Career Award went to Tracy Underwood, the winners of the Roberts Prize for the best paper published in IPEM’s international journal ‘Physics in Medicine and Biology’, published by IOPP, were Nathan McDannold, Margaret Livingstone and colleagues, the winners of the Perkins Prize for the best paper in IPEM’s international journal ‘Medical Physics and Engineering’, published by Elsevier, were Kathrin Müller, Dmitry Fedosov and Gerhard Gomper, and the winner of the Spiers Award for outreach was Elizabeth Kapasa.
Elsewhere, the Royal Society held a workshop on ‘Research culture: visions of 2035’ and a packed industry session featured, amongst others, talks by Stefan Wijnen, of Microsoft Research, and Dr Christopher Austin, of GE Healthcare.
Professor Stephen Keevil, Scientific Programme Committee Chair for the conference from King’s College London, the host Medical Engineering Centre, said: ‘I am really pleased that we achieved mixed sessions with both clinical and academic presentations that complemented each other very well. In several sessions that I attended, people from quite different areas and backgrounds were bouncing ideas off each other. The Virtual Reality workshop was also a real success, with more than 40 people who really enjoyed the interactive approach.’
Rosemary Cook, IPEM’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I am delighted that this first-ever joint conference was such a success, with some fantastic speakers and an incredibly varied scientific programme. I would like to thank all of our keynote speakers and our partners and congratulate all of our prize winners. I look forward to seeing everyone in York next year for MPEC 2018.’
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