Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


The Surgical Science Stand Off

16 September 2020

On 16 September, six WEISS researchers came prepared to pitch their research to the public and a panel of esteemed judges in an attempt to win the first Surgical Science Stand Off.

Freeze frame of surgical science stand off zoom event

The world of research is highly innovative but it is also extremely competitive. The idea that researchers must not only be able to conduct pioneering work, they also have to convince funders to give them the hard cash needed to enable them to do it provided the basis of our latest public engagement event, The Surgical Science Stand Off.

In this virtual event, six researchers from WEISS had only one minute to convince a panel of judges, and a virtual audience, that their research is the most essential to save them from being cast out of the competition.

Our six competitors were:

Elly Martin who explained how she is developing an ultrasound device that could be used as a surgery and drug-free way to treat people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy.

Erwin Alles who spoke about his development of miniature optical ultrasound sensors, which aim to help improve visualisation during non-invasive surgery.

Fraye Watson who discussed how wearable devices, such as smart watches, could be used to help monitor problems with balance in those with a spinal deformity called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Rawen Kader who explained how his research uses artificial intelligence to help improve the detection of colon cancers.

Jeremy Opie who discussed how he works with surgeons to help design interfaces for robots specific to the surgeons needs.

And finally, Sophia Bano who discussed how she builds smart software than can stitch images together, similarly to how a panoramic photo works, which can be used to help improve the field of view during endoscopic procedures.

Our judges were Beverly Power from CDHUK, Ecre Karadag from the Fitzrovia Centre, Luke Buffery from Health Watch Islington and Cristina Serrao from the NHS.

As well as having the all-important opportunity to vote off the contestants in rounds where our judges were split, our 38 audience members were also given the opportunitiy to ask questions to our researchers, which included: how do techniques like ultrasound work? What might make surgical technologies difficult to use? And, what are the effects of artificial intelligence on medical professionals? After five tense rounds, and lots of close votes, Elly Martin was crowned the winner!

If you missed it (or just want to re-live the fun!) the event is available to watch again on our YouTube channel. 

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W81gOyyY22I&feature=youtu.be

A brilliant format - so much interesting and important information but very clever idea to make it competitive, giving it the added interest of wondering who is going to be voted off next.  Also good to be given the information in manageable chunks of one minute - this is heavy stuff for a lay person, but this system meant my ageing brain could handle it!  Well done to everyone. - Attendee

The event will return again in November, keep an eye on our events pages for updates on the latest WEISS events!