33rd Jenkin Lecture and Research Showcase: "Engineering Solutions for COVID-19"


Online (Zoom)


Victoria Green

Date & Time

Saturday 12 Sep 2020 14:30 - Saturday 12 Sep 2020 17:00

You may be aware that the University of Oxford Alumni Weekend 'Meeting Minds' programme is a bit different this year and will be running virtually across the week of the 7th September.

We very much hope that you will be able to join us for an exciting online programme organised by the Department of Engineering Science on Saturday 12 September. The theme for this is “Engineering Solutions for Covid-19”. Please register to be sent details of how to join this online event.

From 14:30-16:00 we are introducing a research showcase highlighting some of the amazing work and research that has been carried out by our academics in response to the global pandemic. This showcase demonstrates the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our researchers and high levels of innovation in their work:

Followed at 16:00 by the 33rd Jenkin Lecture: 'OxVent – medical device innovation and spinout for the pandemic', presented by Associate Professor Mark Thompson (University of Oxford), Dr Federico Formenti (King’s College London), Professor Andrew Farmery (University of Oxford) and Associate Professor Alfonso Castrejon-Pita (University of Oxford).

There will also be a short talk from the winner of the final-year undergraduate project prize. The winner this year, Kirsty Gouck, will be speaking on her project 'Metallic Resource Recovery from Industrial Wastewater'.


'Engineering Solutions for Covid-19'


14:30 Welcome from Head of Department Professor Ronald Roy and Associate Head of Department (Research) Professor Martin Booth

14:35 Presentation from final-year student project prize-winner, Kirsty Gouck

Title - Metallic Resource Recovery from Industrial Wastewater

Abstract - There is a demand for more sustainable techniques to remove metals from industrial wastewaters. A novel method using polymer-surfactant complexation and flocculation has proven effective for selective metal ion removal from solution. Experimental results show this technique to be highly selective, fast and cost effective compared to its competitors, with a chemical recycle element that looks towards a greener future.

Research Showcase

14:50: Professor Zhanfeng Cu, Development of COVID-19 Rapid Tests

Title - Responding to the unexpected – Development of COVID-19 Rapid Tests

Abstract - The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our lives significantly in multiple dimensions. What biomedical engineers can do? The answer is ‘a lot’! In this talk, I will share our experience in developing the Oxsed RaViD Direct, a rapid test for SARS-COV-2, that can be deployed almost anywhere without needs for infrastructure and equipment. The idea was conceived in Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) and most of the R&D was done in Oxford, due to lockdowns. The technology is based on RT-LAMP (reverse transcription-loop mediated isothermal amplification), and the direct detection of SARS-COV-2 from swab to result can be completed within 30-45 min. With a collective effort of an interdisciplinary team, we were able to deliver a commercial product within 6 months from the kick-off of the project. It is a good demonstration of need-led product design and international collaboration.

15:10: Professor Lionel Tarassenko: Patient monitoring research and the COVID-19 pandemic

Title - Patient monitoring research (from wearables to machine learning) and the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract - The focus of the Tarassenko research group in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has been on adapting the technology and apps developed in the last decade to improve the outcomes for high-risk groups of patients, through:

  1. the remote management of high-risk pregnant women, with the aim of preventing infection (these women should avoid, as much as possible, going into hospital for face-to-face consultations);
  2. self-monitoring at home (or in care homes) of symptoms and vital signs, with a view to sharing the data with a healthcare professional;
  3. the triage of suspected Covid-19 patients in “primary care hubs” using video camera technology;
  4. the real-time monitoring, using wearables, of patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and being treated in isolation wards;
  5. understanding the trajectory of the Covid-19 disease and optimising its in-hospital management (with the long-term aim of reducing mortality).

The lecture will briefly mention the first three applications, but will focus on the last two.

15:30: Professor David Clifton: AI for Healthcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Title - AI for Healthcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract - With healthcare data being routinely collected at scale, there is an opportunity for AI researchers to develop tools that help clinicians in tackling various aspects of the pandemic; this talk introduces some examples undertaken in collaboration between the AI for Healthcare group within the Department of Engineering Science and colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals.

15:50: Break

16.00: 33rd Jenkin Lecture

Associate Professor Mark Thompson (Oxford University), Dr Federico Formenti (Kings College London), Professor Andrew Farmery (Oxford University) and Associate Professor Alfonso Castrejon-Pita (Oxford University)

Title - OxVent – medical device innovation and spin out for the pandemic

Abstract - In March 2020 the Government issued the UK Ventilator Challenge to address the predicted shortfall of 18,000 ventilators at the peak of the Covid19 pandemic. In response a prototype rapidly deployable ventilator was assembled by a team of medics and engineers from the University of Oxford and King’s College London in under a week. Demonstrated on a videoconference to the Cabinet Office, it secured the OxVent team a place on the Challenge and a dream partnership with Smith+Nephew.

Through intense work over two months with Smith+Nephew on their site in Hull, OxVent became a fully rapidly manufacturable device that met the MHRA regulatory target. With no UK requirement for emergency ventilators, the team were stood down as a Government project and pivoted to address the international humanitarian demand for low-cost rapidly manufacturable ventilators. OxVent then developed in parallel as a not-for-profit social enterprise spin out, to license the design and manufacturing information, and also as a research project at the universities developing and testing new ventilator designs.

This lecture, jointly presented by four senior members of the team, charts the highs and lows of medical device engineering under pandemic pressure, provides the latest updates from the effort to deploy the OxVent ventilator to meet international demand during the pandemic and looks to the future challenges for the spinout to meet its aim of providing low-cost ventilators in Low Middle Income Countries.

16:30 Q&A

16:55 Close


All department events are free of charge for Engineering Science alumni and their guests.

Please note that the AGM for the Oxford Engineering Alumni Society will this year be taking place virtually at the end of November. More details on this will be sent to alumni shortly.

Please update your contact details to be kept informed of Department activities, by logging in to your alumni account at www.alumni.ox.ac.uk. You will need your alumni ID to log in, please find this at the top of this email.