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IF Oxford Living Library: Medical



Date & Time

Wednesday 28 Oct 2020 19:30 - Wednesday 28 Oct 2020 21:30


Teenage, Adult

Browse the Living Library bookshelf, then get a chance to borrow a real researcher for a small-group conversation. All of our ‘living books’ study or have a career connected to health or medicine. Whether they create new drugs, research novel treatments for diseases or promote healthy lifestyles, they all have fascinating stories to tell. Take this opportunity to chat to friendly experts – it’ll be good for body and soul!


Engineering Science book titles and authors

Uncovering the secrets of the liver: Elisabeth Pickles

The liver usually goes unnoticed, but it performs a multitude of vital functions, from storing vitamins to removing toxins. However things can go wrong in the liver, particularly if it experiences injury, for example because of too much alcohol or because someone has a virus like hepatitis B. Imaging like quantitative MRI lets us look into the liver and check everything is ok, without needing to cut someone open or stick a needle in them. And perhaps it might be useful for detecting liver cancer early, which is what this research is all about.

Elisabeth Pickles is a DPhil student at the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University. Specifically, she is part of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and her focus is on MRI, a type of medical imaging. Prior to starting her DPhil, she worked at Perspectum, a medical imaging company based in Oxford. 

Using ultrasound waves to treat brain diseases: Miren Tamayo Elizalde

The human brain is composed of billions of tiny cells connected to each other, called neurons. These neurons communicate through electrical signals. However, mechanical waves such as sound, could be used to alter those electrical signals and treat brain disorders. Ultrasound is a very rapid sound wave that could be employed to treat neurological diseases without the need to drill into the brain.

Miren Tamayo Elizalde has always been fascinated with the brain. With a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and a Master in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, she is now studying for a DPhil at the University of Oxford Department of Engineering Science. She is investigating the influence of direct mechanical vibrations of ultrasound frequencies on individual neurons' signals.

Engineering a healing sound: Professor Robin Cleveland

Ultrasound is widely used to look inside the body to diagnose problems, but with the proper engineering it can be used to treat things inside the body including: breaking kidney stones, destroying cancer tumours, delivering drugs, and stimulating the brain. Discover how a combination of computer modelling, laboratory experiments and clinical trials can be used to advance the application of ultrasound to heal.

Robin Cleveland is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. His research is in sound waves (acoustics) with particular emphasis on the biomedical applications of ultrasound. His current research includes shock wave lithotripsy (breaking of kidney stones by shock waves), high-intensity focused ultrasound for destroying tumours in the body, and the combination of electromagnetic and acoustic waves for imaging in the body.


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