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Two IBME DPhil students win prizes in national EPSRC science photography competition

Estelle Beguin and Tayo Sanders II were among the prize-winners in a national photography competition which received over 100 entries from researchers in receipt of EPSRC funding.

Microbubble for drug deliveryBoth students work with Professor Eleanor Stride in the BUBBL Research Facility at the IBME.

 4th year DPhil student Estelle Beguin won 1st place in the Innovation category for a black and white image of a microbubble used for drug delivery. Microbubbles consisting of a gas core and a biocompatible shell are currently used to enhance the contrast of ultrasound diagnostic images. They are also being explored for therapeutic applications and to improve the delivery of drugs to diseased targets such as tumours.

The electron microscopy image, taken using a Tecnai 12 Transmission Electron Microscope, shows a micron-sized bubble coated with nano-sized liposomes containing the drug. This system enables the controlled transport and release of the therapeutics at a size of interest to increase treatment efficacy.

Another 4th Year DPhil student (and Rhodes Scholar), Tayo Sanders II, came 2nd in the Eureka and Discovery category, for his picture of a biodegradable bowl-shaped microparticle, taken with a Zeiss Merlin Compact Field Emission Gun.

PLGA MicroCupUnlike healthy organs, many tumours lack an extensive network of blood vessels. This makes it difficult for anti-tumour drugs to reach deeper regions of the tumour, limiting their effectiveness. However, previous research by the BUBBL team has shown that if bowl-shaped particles are injected along with the drug and ultrasound is applied, the drug can penetrate farther into the tumour. This happens because gas can be trapped in the cavity of the particle, and the ultrasound causes the trapped gas bubble to oscillate. The surrounding fluid is rapidly moved by the oscillations and forced into the tumour, carrying the drug along with it. Tayo’s PhD work has developed a new method for fabricating these microbowls.

One of the competition judges, Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FRS FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said the photographs submitted “demonstrate the sheer breadth of the technical areas being funded and the opportunities for real change for people, businesses and society through the innovations that are coming from this work.”

She added, “Not only do we have really strong, attractive photographs, the stories behind them about the research and why it is being done are inspiring. Much of this work will lead to innovations that transform lives and, in this Year of Engineering, it’s marvellous to see these great examples of transformational research”.

For more information on the competition see