Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


Medical Physics PhD students participate in Orbyts school engagement programme

27 June 2023

A researcher standing at the front of a classroom with the backs of heads. On the board it says “About Orbyts”

In recent months, a new hub of the Orbyts education programme has started with UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. The programme partners scientists with schools to empower school students to conduct their own original science research projects, while providing them with relatable science role models who dispel stereotypes about who can be a scientist. In particular, the programme targets pupils from underrepresented backgrounds in science.

A female researcher fitting a headset onto a students head
The MedPhys hub was founded by PhD student Carlos Navarrete-León and started with six MedPhys researchers: Maria Perez Lara (Radiation Physics), Maryam Alamer (Mineralomics), Prof Ilias Tachtsidis, Musa Talati, and Natalie Gunasekara (Biomedical Optics) and Pawel Markiewicz (CMIC). It has reached nearly 60 school students who have worked during at least 10 sessions with our researchers on topics including particle detection for proton therapy, computation methods for brain PET imaging and near infrared spectroscopy for brain and muscle imaging. Some of the students have been able to visit UCL labs, undertake ‘lecture days’ at UCL and conduct experiments with state-of-the-art imaging equipment.


In the words of some our researchers:

Maria Perez Lara (Radiation Physics) 

A female researcher standing in front of a white board that says “Protons vs Photons”
"Before Orbyts, I had never really tried to be a teacher. I am quite an introvert, so it has always been hard for me to speak in public, let alone educate other people. This experience was a beautiful adventure where I got to experience the joy I feel when talking about something I truly like, in front of smart students that challenged me to explain complex ideas in a simple manner. Introducing young people to science is absolutely rewarding, and I can safely say I want to continue being part of this programme in the future."

 Musa Talati (Biomedical Optics)

"Orbyts provided an invaluable experience for us fellows. The students have given me a unique perspective on my research and made certain that I understood the basics of my own work well enough to teach them! Some of the experiments they devised used refreshing thinking that we could all learn from; I hope their time with Orbyts motivates them to bring that thinking into research!"

A female researcher standing in front of a school notice board that says “Physics”
Maryam Alamer (Mineralomics)

"My experience at Orbyts was truly remarkable, especially when working with the kids on my project in a collaborative and engaging environment, allowing the children to actively participate and contribute their ideas. It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. The support and guidance from the Orbyts team made the entire experience enjoyable and productive. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented and motivated young minds at Orbyts."

The programme will close with a conference in which all the partner schools will present their findings and engage in scientific discussions at the UCL Cloisters on 27th June (3:45 – 7 pm) and 3rd July (11:30 – 3 pm).

To find out more about ORBYTS and how to get involved, please click here or get in contact with Carlos Navarrete-León.