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Jul 13

Cross-disciplinary Collaboration at the Eyes for Life Sandpit

Another successful collaborative Sandpit event took place last Thursday 7th July, co-organised by UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

  • The event was also organised with the support of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology under the Eyes for Life Flagship Programme. There was a large turn-out of clinicians, engineers and scientists who came together to share ideas and discuss potential solutions to real clinical problems within ophthalmology. The aim of the event was to stimulate discussion and interaction between UCL engineers and ophthalmologists to trigger innovations and cross-pollination of ideas under the overarching mission of this Flagship Programme to preserve and restore eye health.

  • In particular, there was an emphasis during the discussions on how engineering tools, ranging from robotics, optical imaging, photo-acoustics, nano and microstructure materials and data science, might be applied to help solve clinical needs and open challenges in ophthalmology.

    Clinical experts Prof Lyndon da Cruz and Dr Pearse Keane gave talks alongside engineering specialists Dr IIlias Tachtsidis, Dr Jorge Cardoso, Dr Christos Bergeles, Dr John Vardakis, Prof Kwang Choy and Prof Paul Beard. These varied presentations ranged from how an engineering solution was needed to deliver retinal stem cells with greater precision to help restore sight, to how DeepMind’s Artificial Intelligence was being harnessed to help analyse the data generated by the Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scans that take place in their thousands at Moorfields each day.

  • These presentations followed an overview from Prof Sebastien Ourselin, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Wellcome EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences and Dr Annette Bramley, Head of Healthcare Technologies ESPRC. They both urged attendees to use this Sandpit as a starting point for future projects and an opportunity to access support for their research. Identified projects were encouraged to put together short proposals that could be developed into full proposals with the help of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering. The hope was stressed that research in its early stages could be accelerated and supported to cross the translational gap and impact patients.

  • The session closed with networking drinks and nibbles to further encourage discussion of what had been presented and hopefully continue to spark cross-disciplinary collaborative projects.

    If you missed the event but are keen to get involved in this area of research or any of the topics mentioned please contact Healthcare Engineering