Student activities around the world: IEEE EMBS UKRI student club features PGBIOMED 2009

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  • Students Corner

    student activities around theworld:IEEE EMBS UKRI student club features PGBIOMED 2009

    One of the benefits of pro-moting the formation ofIEEE Engineering in Med-icine and Biology (EMBS)

    student associations around the world isto allow university trainees to engagewith the global biomedical communityat a local, national, and internationalscale. As part of our continuous effortstoward promoting student activitieswithin EMBS, this column reflects onthe experience of a successful EMBSStudent Club from Europe [the IEEEEMBS United Kingdom and Republicof Ireland (UKRI) Student Club] inhosting the fifth edition of a conferenceorganized by students for students: thePostgraduate Conference on Biomedi-cal Engineering and Medical Physics(PGBIOMED).

    Brief History of PGBIOMEDThe very first PGBIOMED hosted inUKRI took place in 2001. Because thistitle was a bit of a mouthful, thecommittee decided on the acronymPGBIOMED, and it stuck! Incidentally,we decided we didnt want to call it thefirst, because we did not know if therewould be enough appetite for a second,but with five PGBIOMEDs now underour belt, it definitely was the first,mentions Dr. Christopher James, thefaculty adviser and chair of the IEEEEMBS UKRI Chapter, who initiatedPGBIOMED in the first place. This wasfollowed by another event at AstonUniversity in Birmingham in 2003 andthen another at the University of South-ampton and University of Reading in2005 and 2006, respectively. Buildingon these past successes, the group wasdelighted to have organized anotherequally successful event this year; thistime based on the august surroundingsof Magdalen College at the Universityof Oxford.

    Why PGBIOMED?The fundamental scope of this two-and-a-half day meeting is to allow postgradu-ate students to meet and exchange ideasand learn more about the fields of bio-medical engineering (BME), medical

    physics, and other related areas, as wellas to hone their interpersonal and pre-sentational skills. Registration fees arekept deliberately low, as low as 1220, to make the conference affordable

    to all postgraduate students and simulta-neously attractive to their advisers. Theevent has once again proved effective, asthis year we had around 60 delegatesparticipating in this conference, statesCharmaine Demanuele, PGBIOMED2009 conference chair and chair of theIEEE EMBS UKRI Student Club.Although aimed at postgraduate studentsprimarily, we have also had undergradu-ates attend and present, and this year, weeven had a high-school student amongstthe registrants, adds Charmaine.

    PGBIOMEDA Scientific MeetingAs students, it is important to be aware ofother work being undertaken in thisrapidly expanding area of research and tointeract with tomorrows leading special-ists. This year, this objective was madepossible by a wide range of subjectsrepresented in the 38 papers submittedfor the conference, covering topics suchas biomedical signal processing, biomed-ical imaging and image processing, sen-sors and materials for biomedicalapplications, telemedicine and e-health,biomechanics, and rehabilitation. Thesepapers were presented by students fromdifferent colleges and universities, cover-ing the length and breadth of the UKRI,

    Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MEMB.2009.934918

    Cristian A. Linte

    One of themost

    successful means of

    establishing and

    enhancing

    connections

    between students is

    of course through

    social events.

    (a) (b)Fig. 1. PGBIOMED 2009 Awards: (a) Alexy Karenowska and (b) Brett Tully, bothfrom Magdalen College, received prizes handed out by Dr. Richard Scott for bestplatform and poster presentations.

    10 IEEE ENGINEERING IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009

  • from Southampton, to Oxford and Lon-don, up to Glasgow and Stirling, andDublin and Cork in Ireland. As a confer-ence organized for the students by thestudents, it provided a valuable opportu-nity for the trainees to present their workin a relaxed and friendly environment.The conference consisted of both plat-forms as well as poster presentations, andeach year, two prizes were awarded forthe best platform and best poster presen-tation. This year, serendipitously, the twowinners were students from MagdaleneCollege itself: Alexy Karenowska and

    Brett Tully each gave very well-roundedpresentations of their research projects.

    On a Career-Development NoteFor each day of the meeting, eminentspeakers, either from academia or work-ing in the health-care industry or a hos-pital, are invited to give a keynotepresentation, the theme being usuallyrelevant to the question, What do I doafter my Ph.D.? (some might even say,Is there a life after Ph.D.? ). Thisyears PGBIOMED had the pleasure ofwelcoming Prof. Ron Summers from

    the University of Loughborough andDr. Richard Scott from Sherwood ForestHospitals National Health Service(NHS) Foundation Trust. The themecovered entrepreneurship informationand personal insights into a career inclinical engineering. Both speakers gavedetailed presentations enriched withpractical insights into the work theyhave undertaken in their areas of exper-tise over the years.

    In addition, Dr. Christopher Jamesgave a seminar on oral presentationdesign and on how one might undertakethe difficult task of presenting researchwork clearly and succinctly, a usefultopic for both students during universitylife and beyond. Moreover, wearinghis other hat as IEEE EMBS EuropeAdministrative Committee (AdCOM)representative, EMBS Student PaperCompetition Chair, and Executive Chairof the Institution of Engineering andTechnology (IET) Healthcare Technol-ogy, Dr. James also gave an overview ofthe benefits students can gain from mem-bership in international professionalorganizations such as the IEEE EMBSand IET.

    PGBIOMED SocialOne of the most successful means ofestablishing and enhancing connections

    Fig. 2. The team members of the (PGBIOMED 2009 conference) committee.

    Fig. 3. PGBIOMED 2009 group picture during a social event at Christchurch Meadows.

    12 IEEE ENGINEERING IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009

    Students Corner (continued)

  • between students is of course throughsocial events. Each year, the organizerstry something different, and this yearwas no exception; we headed for a lei-surely trip down the river by the tradi-tional Oxford punt and then enjoyed apicnic alongside the very picturesqueChristchurch Meadows. Some had thepleasure of reclining in the punt in com-fort whilst others had their first ever goat punting and great fun was had byall, adds Charmaine.

    Making PGBIOMED PossibleAs ever, the only reason PGBIOMEDevents can be run with such low regis-tration rates is due to the substantialsponsorship support. This year, as al-ways, we are very grateful to all oursponsors for their generosity, whichinclude Professional Engineering Pub-lishing, the IEEE EMBS UKRI Chapterand IEEE EMBS, the IET HealthcareTechnology Network, and personaldonations from Prof. Lionel Taras-senko, Oxford, and Dr. ChristopherJames, Southampton, states Charmaine.The organizers also thank the Universityof Southampton andUniversity ofOxfordfor their support and the PGBIOMEDcommunity for attending and making thisevent a success.

    Host a Similar Eventat Your University!If your Student Club or Chapter is inter-ested in hosting a PGBIOMED-likeevent at your university, here are the top-ten tips from the PGBIOMED 2009 teamon how to get the wheels rolling towardorganizing a successful conference:1) Find a mentor faculty member

    who can advise on how to obtainresources, contacts, and the allimportant funding.

    2) Put together a small but commit-ted conference committee.

    3) Find an interesting, yet afford-able venue.

    4) Put together a budget and aim forlow registration rates; it is doable.

    5) Start fundraising early, and dont for-get to first contact your localChapter.

    6) Seek interesting speakers; topicsof interest usually cover biomed-ical engineering (BME) careerdevelopment.

    7) Consider a session on transfera-ble skills or a hot-topic seminar.

    8) Organize a welcome reception tobreak the ice and look for an in-teresting conference meal/event be-tween both days, which gives thestudent delegates every opportunityto interact and talk.

    9) Aim high in terms of quality; getyour paper submissions reviewedby a solid group of reviewersand accept only reasonably high-quality submissions.

    10) Have fun!Before concluding, I thank Charmaine

    Demanuele (Student Club chair andPh.D. student, University of Southamp-ton), Aida Jimenez-Gonzalez (Ph.D. stu-dent, University of Southampton), DavidWong (D.Phil. student University ofOxford), and David Clifton (D.Phil.student, University of Oxford) and Dr.Christopher James (faculty advisor,University of Southampton) of thePGBIOMED 2009 team.

    Cristian A. Linte received his M.E.Sc.degree in BME from the University ofWestern Ontario in 2006 and B.A.Sc.degree in mechanical and materialsengineering from the University ofWindsor in 2004. He is currently study-ing the Biomedical Engineering Gradu-ate Program (Laboratory for Image-Guided Surgery and Therapy in theImaging Research Laboratories atRobarts Research Institute in London,Canada), University of Western On-tario, toward a Ph.D. degree in bio-medical engineering.

    Coulter Translational Research Awards

    The Coulter Translational Research Awards (for-merly known as Early Career Awards) programprovides funding for Assistant Professors in estab-lished Biomedical Engineering Departmentswithin North America. The award seeks to sup-port biomedical research that is translational innature, and to encourage and assist eligible bio-medical engineering investigators to establishthemselves in academic careers involving trans-lational research. The translational research proj-ects are directed at promising technologies with

    the goal of progressing toward commercialdevelopment and entering clinical practice. Eli-gibility criteria are nomore than eight years fromfirst full time academic appointment and mustbe a primary, secondary or affiliate member ofa tenure track, degree granting BiomedicalEngineering department at a U.S. or Canadianuniversity. This years program pre-applicationsbegin 1 November 2009. Check the Wallace H.Coulter Foundation Web site, www.whcf.org formore details.

    Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MEMB.2009.935165

    14 IEEE ENGINEERING IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009

    Students Corner (continued)

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