Swansea students' placement at one of America's top medical schools

Ten Swansea University students are beginning a six-week placement at one of America’s top medical schools, as part of the University’s Texas partnership.

The students, who follow the BSc Applied Medical Sciences degree at Swansea University Medical School, are participating in a summer ‘hackathon’ at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas from 17th June to 29th July.

BCM is a health sciences university located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, which is the largest medical complex in the world, containing 21 hospitals.  BCM has been ranked as one of the top medical schools for research in the US. 

Swansea University has a strategic partnership with BCM, as part of its flourishing Texas links, which are bringing benefits to students and researchers.

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Picture:  Houston here we come!  The Swansea medical students taking part in the Baylor College of Medicine programme

During their 6 weeks on the programme, the Swansea students will be undertaking a group task and individual task:

  • Group task: students will work in teams on BCM Department of Surgery Incubator's (DoSI) innovation challenge, which focuses on pressure ulcers such as bed sores and diabetic foot ulcers.  They will need to come up with innovative solutions to this problem and will submit their idea into the competition. As this is part of the annual challenge they will have the opportunity to win up to $25,000 in research funding.
  • Individual task: Students will focus on a current problem in medicine and the clinic and be asked to come up with an innovative solution.

The Swansea students will be guided and supported by leading researchers and have access to state-of-the-art facilities.

The programme is run by BCM’s DoSI, led by Dr Stuart Corr, BCM’s Director of Technology Development for the Department of Surgery.

Dr Corr’s research focuses on the development of medical devices and prototypes, as well as nano-assisted electric field interactions with biological systems.  He collaborates closely with a number of academics at Swansea, including Alvin Orbaek White in the Energy Safety Research Institute, and Huw Summers and Paul Rees in the Centre for Nanohealth.

This opportunity arose through Dr Matt Ware, a member of Stuart Corr’s team who is a Swansea graduate and was the first graduate of our joint PhD with Houston Methodist Research Institute.

600 x 298Picture: Dr Stuart Corr, BCM's Director of Technology Development, teaching the Swansea students

What the students said:

Maanasy Nadarajah: This is an amazing opportunity to work on a life-changing project and actually make a difference in the world, before even obtaining a degree.

Jemima Jones: It’s an amazing opportunity to have the chance to experience one of the leading healthcare institutions in the U.S. and be part of the work that goes on there.

Poornima Ramesh: I thought ‘when will I ever get to do a surgical related internship in my life?’ The chance to be able to see an awe-inspiring path to my future is why I wanted to go.

Gloria Prince: The possibility has become a reality - to make a positive and wider impact beyond myself.

Alex Fish: This is a fantastic opportunity that I simply could not miss out on.

Tiffany Nduke: I really hope to experience a new aspect of medicine outside the conventional hospital setting.

Rukshikah Loganathan: It is a productive way to spend the summer!

Julie Dababneh: I hope it will enhance my knowledge further in the medical field and help me recognise the potential problems physicians face in clinics.

Katerina Klimankova:  The surgical Hackathon is the perfect opportunity for me – to use what I’ve learned so far and build on it to learn something completely new.

Chloe Johnson: a fantastic opportunity that will allow us to experience medical research in the field, applying our own knowledge in a working environment while experiencing a different culture, building working relationships and developing an array of skills to take forward into our further study and careers.

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Picture: the Swansea students, just arrived in Texas

Dr. Stuart J. Corr, Director of Technology Development, Department of Surgery, BCM, said:

"The DoSI is absolutely delighted to have representatives of Swansea University take part in our Summer Innovation Program. Their primary task is to come up with unique and innovative solutions in the field of pressure ulcers, a challenge that is also available for open participation through dosichallenge.com. We are very excited in anticipation of what the students will come up with and look forward to working with them over the next six weeks.

Dr Lisa Wallace, Programme Director, BSc Applied Medical Sciences, at Swansea University Medical School, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students which will allow them to spend an extended period working at the cutting-edge of modern medicine alongside world-leading experts in Texas. We have selected some of our brightest and best students to participate in this 6 week programme which will, I believe, prove to be an extremely rewarding and potentially life changing experience for them.”

Dr Caroline Coleman-Davies, Administrative Head, International Strategic Partnerships, added:

“We are delighted to be working with Baylor College of Medicine on this exciting programme. Through our Texas Strategic Partnership we have had strong research relationships with the College for a number of years, and we are extremely grateful to them for offering our students the opportunity to work on innovative projects in state-of-the-art facilities in the world’s largest medical centre.” 

Matthew Ware with joint Swansea-Houston Phd supervisorsPicture:  Swansea-Texas medicine links:  Dr Matt Ware, centre, who works with Dr Stuart Corr of BCM, who is co-ordinating the Swansea students' visit.  Dr Ware, from Swansea, researches the use of nanotechnology in cancer treatment.  He was the first graduate of the joint PhD between Swansea University and Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI).  He is pictured with Prof Paul Rees of Swansea University and Prof Biana Godin of HMRI, his co-supervisors.

Find out more about Swansea University Medical School

Swansea University Texas Partnership