Universities Minister Chris Skidmore MP visited the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering (IHE) Autumn Research Symposium today as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week.
Mr Skidmore met Professor Becky Shipley, Director of the IHE, who with her team demonstrated the REANIMATE project (REAlistic Numerical Image-based Modelling of biological Tissue substratEs), which is a virtual modelling technique that creates highly detailed 3D models of individual cancerous tumours and simulates the delivery of drugs into them.
As part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, organised by Engineering UK, Professor Shipley is highlighted as one of five Engineers on a Mission. The week aims to inspire future generations of engineers and tackle an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers in the UK.
Professor Shipley was selected for her work in developing tools to better understand the structure of cancerous tissues and better predict where drugs will be delivered, helping doctors optimise the delivery of therapies to patients.
"Once I started my research career, I wanted to be able to have an impact on people’s health and quality of life," Professor Shipley said.
"Fortunately there is huge opportunity for this, as we need researchers who can develop tools from maths and engineering to develop digital and medical technologies in healthcare."
Now in its second year, the UCL IHE Autumn Research Symposium was held at the Wellcome Collection.
Dr Hilary Leevers, CEO of Engineering UK, said: "We want every young person to see that engineering offers a varied, stimulating and rewarding career.
"The UK needs tens of thousands more engineers and Tomorrow’s Engineers Week provides an opportunity for the engineering community to work together to inspire the next generation of engineers to meet this demand.
"We’re delighted to have the opportunity to share Professor Shipley’s mission to help beat cancer with thousands of potential future engineers."
UCL Engineering has also been working with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week to develop a ’Meet the Future You’ quiz which helps children and teenagers to decide which engineering career path might suit them.
Mr Skidmore also visited the Optical Networks Group (ONG) research laboratory, in UCL’s Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering (EEE). The ONG was set up by Professor Polina Bavel (UCL EEE) in 1994, with the aim of setting up the first academic system engineering group.
The group’s research has focused on developing new coherent technologies which form the basis of how most high-speed digital data is transmitted over optical networks.
Professor Becky Shipley: Engineer on a Mission