Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


Medical Physics hosts In2ScienceUK Placements

2 September 2022

The department hosted sixth form students over August 2022 helping to promote equality and diversity in STEM

A photograph of Prof Peter Munro in the lab with three placement students

Henry in the lab with placement students
In August 2022, we were delighted to welcome two groups of year 12 students to the department as part of the In2ScienceUK placement scheme. The students were hosted by Dr Henry Lancashire and Dr Liam Collins-Jones and they worked alongside teams from across the department including the Implanted Devices Research Group, WEISS, DOT-HUB and also partners from UCLH Proton Beam Therapy Centre and the Birkbeck ToddlerLab.

Prof Munro and the placement students in the lab building lasers
By sharing our passion for Medical Physics we hope to inspire and support our placement students to follow a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). We hope that their time at UCL helped the students to feel that they belong in a scientific or research environment by breaking down stereotypes and introducing them to the wide range of scientific career paths available.

In2scienceUK was founded in 2010 with the aim of providing young people from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to gain practical insight into the STEM sector as well as the knowledge and confidence to progress to university. To date, 75% of students who participated in their placements have progressed onto STEM degrees.

Dr Liam Collins-Jones has written more about his placement students below:

Liam participating in a brain imaging experiment; wearing a headset and looking at a computer screen
In August 2022, I hosted two sixth form students in the department for a week in August as part of the summer programme for In2Science, a charity that supports young people to pursue careers in science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The students, who were very enthusiastic and inquisitive, had an interest in physics, engineering and medicine.

The students observed the breadth of work we do in the Diffuse Optical Tomography in the Human Brain (DOT-HUB) research group. At the start of the week, we spent time discussing the underpinning theories behind medical imaging and conducting phantom data collection. This fantastically complemented the more applied practical activities.

Students in the lab with Ernesto and Liam
My colleague Ernesto conducted a brain imaging experiment, with myself as the subject, for the students to observe. Further experiments followed with my colleague Georgina doing a demonstration of a new imaging technique she is developing, and my colleague Danica conducted bench-top experiments, displaying the variety of work we do in DOT-HUB and the MPBE department.

In addition, I was keen for the students to see the multi-disciplinary nature of working in the brain imaging research field, and so I took the students to the labs of my collaborators at the Birkbeck Centre of Cognitive and Brain Development. Here, my colleague Paola conducted a demonstration of the motion sensing and virtual reality environment that’s used to illicit naturalistic brain responses in toddlers; this was fantastic to show the intersection between engineering and psychology.

Danica talking to the students
Throughout the week, the students met with several other members of DOT-HUB, from PhD students to professors, to understand their motivations for going into their career and to understand more about the academic career ark. The students particularly appreciated meeting with my colleagues Rob and Jem, who both imparted fascinating reflections from their motivations and careers.

The guidance from In2Science was to give the students a realistic view of what it is like to work in STEM. In their feedback, the students said they felt they had gained an in-depth insight into working in physics and engineering, and really appreciated the opportunity to meet physicists and engineers in-person and ask questions. I thank all members of DOT-HUB who got involved, and I strongly encourage other colleagues in MPBE to get involved with In2Science next year.

The students with Danica and Liam