Gold Medal awards presented to IPEM members

GOLD Medal awards have been presented to IPEM members who have made outstanding contributions in their field of work.

The IPEM prizes and awards programme, which was fully updated two years ago, introduced Gold Medal awards for IPEM members who have made outstanding contributions in academia, innovation and healthcare, as well as recognition for the achievements of early career members.

Academic Gold Medal

Professor David Lurie, of the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen, was presented with the Academic Gold Medal.

An IPEM Fellow, Professor Lurie has devoted his research to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology and its applications, primarily in bio-medicine. The early work by Professor Lurie and his team included, in 1988, the first use of Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation in MRI, in a method called Proton-Electron Double-Resonance Imaging (PEDRI), for imaging the distribution of free radicals in biological samples. His PEDRI paper has been cited 151 times.

He has continued to innovate in the field of MRI, including “continuous-wave” MRI of solid materials. During the last decade Professor Lurie has developed Fast Field-Cycling MRI (FFC-MRI); by measuring relaxation as a function of field strength, extra information can be obtained, which is invisible to standard MRI. His team have built two human-scale scanners and FFC-MRI is showing significant promise for enhanced, early diagnosis.

After graduating in Natural Philosophy (Physics) at the University of Aberdeen in 1979, he then went to St Bartholomew’s Medical College, University of London, where he completed an MSc in Radiation Physics and a PhD in Medical Physics. He joined the staff of the University of Aberdeen in 1983 as a research assistant, working with Jim Hutchison on low-field MRI and two years later was appointed a lecturer, followed by senior lecturer in 1992 and to a Personal Chair in Medical Physics in 2002.

He has been a Visiting Scientist at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Visiting International Scholar at Ohio State University. Professor Lurie is the author of 72 peer-reviewed publications, seven book chapters, five patents and more than 250 conference abstracts. He has given 81 invited, keynote and plenary lectures at conferences and workshops around the world, as well as many invited seminars.

He was External Examiner for medical physics MScs in Dublin and Kuala Lumpur and sits on IPEM’s Course Accreditation Committee. This year he was appointed as an assessor on the European Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP) Examination Board, examining candidates for the European Diploma of Medical Physics.

Professor Lurie was a member of the Physics in Radiology subcommittee of the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) for two years, and chaired it for this year’s ECR meeting. EFOMP appointed him as their representative on the overall Programme Planning Committee of ECR for the 2018 and 2019 conferences. He is on the Scientific Committee of the 2018 European Congress of Medical Physics, to be held in Copenhagen.

He led a consortium which obtained a prestigious EU Horizon 2020 grant for a project called IDentIFY (Improving Diagnosis by Fast Field-Cycling MRI), a four year, €6.6m project which began in 2016 and which has nine partners in six countries. As well as coordinating IDentIFY, Professor Lurie was elected vice-chair of the EURELAX EU COST Action scientific network, with 27 member countries.

Healthcare Gold Medal

Dr Neil Lewis has been awarded with the Healthcare Gold Medal after a lifetime spent in medical physics.

Prior to retirement in 2016, Dr Lewis was Director of Medical Engineering and Physics at King’s College Hospital in London for more than 12 years, the culmination of a 40-year career.

An IPEM Fellow, his interest in medical physics as a career stemmed from his undergraduate course in the subject and a subsequent visit to the Medical Physics Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

He was awarded his PhD in Medical Physics in 1979 from the University of Leeds, where he worked under the supervision of Professor Roy Ellis in the Department of Medical Physics at Leeds General Infirmary. His research topic was negative pi-meson microdosimetry, part of a wider programme to determine the potential for using such particles in radiotherapy. After completing his doctorate he undertook a further study on negative pion microdosimetry, based at the University of Surrey. The practical work for this study took him to Vancouver for 12 months to use the TRIUMF meson facility at the University of British Columbia.

Dr Lewis joined the NHS in 1981 as a Senior Physicist in Radiation Protection at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, where he gained valuable training and experience in radiation protection, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy. This led to a post as Senior Physicist in Nuclear Medicine at University College Hospital in London, with responsibility for the physics support to nuclear medicine at the National Heart and London Chest Hospitals. He was then appointed as Principal Physicist to the St Peter’s Hospitals and Institute of Urology in London, where he was responsible for the provision of services in nuclear medicine, urodynamics and radiation protection.

In 1991 Dr Lewis moved to King’s College Hospital as Consultant Physicist in Radiation Protection and Radiation Protection Adviser. Six years later he was also appointed Centre Supervisor to the King’s Centre for the Assessment Radiological Equipment (KCARE), an evaluation centre funded by the Medical Devices Agency.

Dr Lewis was appointed Head of Medical Engineering and Physics at KCH in 2004. He played a leading role in the development the King’s MSc in Medical Engineering and Physics. More recently, Dr Lewis has led, in collaboration with IPEM Fellow Jo Young, the development of an apprenticeship scheme to encourage young people who are not academically inclined in the traditional sense to find career opportunities across healthcare science.

Innovation Gold Medal

Dr David Gow CBE, the inventor of the i-Limb® prosthetic hand, has been awarded the Innovation Gold Medal.

An IPEM Fellow, Dr Gow graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1979 with a BSc (Honours) in Engineering Science and after a brief spell working for Ferranti he became a research associate at the Bioengineering Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

It was here that he took part in clinics and saw at first hand a range of children and adults born with or having lost part of a hand being offered something of little functional use to them and he resolved to use his engineering skills and clinical experience to design something to address this problem.

By combining his engineering skills and clinical experience, he developed a self-contained powered digit for partial hands which could be configured as multiple units to give a complete hand for people with total absence.

As Director of Rehabilitation Engineering Services and Bioengineering and then as Head of SMART Services for NHS Lothian, Dr Gow managed a research team of bioengineers and technicians to work on prosthesis development. In 1993 he designed and patented the first ProDigits™ module consisting of a powered digit. He continued to work on the design of finger articulation and a passively adjustable thumb to give a selection of gripping postures.

This work was conducted as part of a larger project to produce a complete arm system, which became the basis for the Edinburgh Modular Arm System (EMAS), the results of which became known to the world in August 1998 when it was fitted to the world’s first ‘bionic man’.

He founded a spin-out company, Touch EMAS Bionics, from NHS Scotland in 2002 and five years later the company launched the most advanced hand prosthesis, the i-Limb®. In 2008, the i-Limb® was named one of the top 50 innovations of the year by Time Magazine and in the same year Dr Gow and his team won the MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In 2014, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to upper limb prosthetics and a year later the i-Limb® was selected as one of eight great inventions to feature on a set of Royal Mail special stamps celebrating Inventive Britain. 

Academic Early Career award

A research fellow in radiation therapy at University College London has been awarded the Academic Early Career award.

Dr Tracy Underwood graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor in Physics and then completed an MSc in Medical Engineering and Physics at King’s College London. She then joined the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology to start a DPhil on the dosimetry of small photon beams.

The key paper from her DPhil research has now been downloaded more than 12,000 times and her work prompted leading commercial dosimeter manufacturer PTW to prototype a new detector, the ‘DiodeAir’.

She then received a MRC Centenary Early Career Award and was the 2015 winner of the IET/IMechE prize for the Best Medical Engineering PhD.

A personal award from the Leverhulme Trust enabled Dr Underwood to pursue post-doctoral research on small field dosimetry in Toulouse, before she won a prestigious Marie Curie Research Fellowship from the European Commission, taking her to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. There she spent more than two years gaining clinical experience in proton therapy and performing proton physics research.

She has given two presentations at ASTRO and two at ESTRO and has been invited to present at national meetings, and chaired a session at ESTRO.

Dr Underwood lectures on undergraduate and MSc courses on medical physics at both University College London and King’s College London. She is a keen mentor of students at all levels and for two consecutive years she planned, developed and directed a week-long summer school for 16-18 year olds interested in pursuing a career in engineering/the physical sciences.

Innovation Early Career award

The developer of a model to predict the properties of novel pharmaceuticals has won the Innovation Early Career award.

Dr Mohammed Atari received his BSc in Biomedical Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology and then moved to the UK to pursue his postgraduate studies, obtaining a first class MSc in Advanced Biomedical Engineering from the University of Warwick. He was awarded the university’s Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship to work towards his PhD in biomedical systems modelling, which he was awarded in 2010.

He then joined Cyprotex (acquired by Evotec in 2016) as a mathematical modeller, a research organisation specialising in in silico and in vitro ADME-Tox services, where he developed novel mechanistic in silico (in vitro processes and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic) models for drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Dr Atari was promoted to Senior Mathematical Modeller at the organisation in 2016. 

The model Dr Atari has now developed represents an important step in the model-based prediction of the properties of novel pharmaceuticals. It enables researchers in the earliest stages of drug discovery to estimate the rate at which their compounds, or metabolites of their compounds, will be eliminated via the kidneys, providing important information for drug researchers.

Crucially, the model Dr Atari has developed predicts the renal elimination rate using just the structure of the compound, reducing the cost of the information produced compared to models requiring experimental data as inputs.  

As part of a suite of models, Dr Atari’s model supports researchers in determining the likely properties of many ‘virtual’ compounds with low cost and high throughput, significantly speeding up the search for new drugs.




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Posted: Sep 19, 2017,
Categories: IPEM News,
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Author: Sean Edmunds
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