Published: 08 February 2016

PhD student wins IET award for Alzheimer’s research

Samantha Simons, who is studying for a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, is this year’s winner of the Institution of Engineering Technology (IET) William James Award.

The highly prestigious award recognises outstanding work of PhD students demonstrating a high level of commitment and advanced understanding of Biomedical Engineering, and will be presented to Samantha at The Healthcare Technologies Student and Early Career Awards 2016, taking place on 25th February at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering headquarters. As winner, Samantha will also present her paper at the event, and also receive a cash prize.

Samantha’s research focuses on looking at ‘electroencephalograms’ (electrical signals of the brain) of elderly healthy adults and Alzheimer’s Disease patients. Based on advanced mathematics, the research found that the electrical signals in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is significantly more regular, and therefore able to transport less information around the brain at any one time, than that of healthy elderly people. The research paper, which has been published in the IET Healthcare Technologies Letters Journal, was co-authored by Dr Javier Escudero of the University of Edinburgh

Samantha says, “I’m extremely humbled and very excited to win an IET award – it took a while for the fact I had won to sink in!

“I hope that my research, along with other published studies, will improve our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and how it develops in the brain. In the long-term, it is possible that electroencephalograms may become a useful tool to aid Alzheimer’s analysis.”

Dr Daniel Abasolo, who is supervising Samantha’s PhD, says, “I am incredibly proud of Samantha’s achievements as the William James award is the latest of a string of prizes for her biomedical signal processing work! This award, following rigorous judging of entries by a panel of leading experts, recognises the quality of the research in the School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences and shows that the University of Surrey is at the forefront of research in Biomedical Engineering”.

Now in her final year of PhD study, Samantha previously completed an MEng in Medical Engineering at Surrey. Read her paper, ‘Classification of Alzheimer’s disease from quadratic Sample entropy of electroencephalogram’.


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