UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


Blog: Xingmin Li on her summer studentship at Moorfields

12 October 2023

In summer 2023, Xingmin Li, an undergraduate in UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, spent eight weeks working on a project with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Xingmin Li

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work on a project alongside Professor Marinko Sarunic from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Dr. Annegret Dahlmann-Noor from Moorfields Eye Hospital. I was also privileged to collaborate with the team led by Professor Marinko and another student selected for the IHE summer studentship initiative. Every member of the team was incredibly supportive and friendly. Through this project, I also met a lot of new friends.

The view from Xingmin's office
The focus of this project is to develop image processing tools to measure the dynamic changes in the choroid using OCT images. This image processing programme is based on the ‘GraphCuts’ developed by Dr.Sieun Lee. Initially, it took me quite a long time to understand this algorithm, and I was worried I could slow down the project’s progress. However, the team members did not push me and PhD students with experience of this algorithm gave me a lot of support. After becoming familiar with ‘GraphCuts’, I together with my collogue successfully segmented the choroid layer and sclera layer, and then further applied many techniques, e.g. convex hull, averaging, flattening, to improve the accuracy of detecting the boundary. I think our work has made great progress, but there is still much work left to deal with, such as displaying the 3D volume image of the choroid, etc.

One of the highlights of my experience was the chance given to me by both supervisors to participate in clinicians meetings and clinical observations. The clinicians meeting was an eye-opener, showcasing the synergistic collaboration between clinicians, engineers, and biologists in driving forward academic research. Clinical observations allowed me to shadow the clinic, offering a view of ocular imaging using traditional instrumentation.

Although I played a role in just a portion of the entire research, the experience enriched me with invaluable research insights and teamwork skills. I really enjoyed doing this project, I felt that I have been faithful deeply impacted by the freedom, rigorous and friendly academic research culture of UCL and its partnering hospital!