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

Fourteen Swansea University students have completed 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, participated in the Summer Innovation Program at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas.

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 54 medical institutions and employing over 100,000 staff.  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.

The fourteen Swansea students are from the UK, France, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Canada.

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Picture:  the Swansea students with their Texas hosts at Baylor College of Medicine

During the programme they worked on a group project about developing artificial lungs.  Five of them are 2nd year students who are returning to work on their prize-winning projects from last year: 

  • protein-repellent hypodermic needles
  • a sexual lubricant that will reduce urinary tract infections in women
  • a device to reduce opioid-induced respiratory depression
  • a mattress that will help to reduce pressure ulcers.

It is anticipated  that patents will be filed shortly for some of these projects with a view to future commercialisation.

The students also observed surgeries, undertook simulation studies and participated in think tanks.  They visited NASA and Austin, capital of Texas, where they went to Dell Medical School and law firm Husch Blackwell.  

The students were hosted by Baylor College of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Surgical Technology and Innovation Center (INSTINCT) and its Director of Surgical Innovation and Technology, Dr Stuart Corr.

What the students said:

Some of the students spoke about the trip before setting off:

Tiffany Ndukwe (2nd year):

“I am really excited to be returning to Texas to continue to work on the project I started last summer. My idea is a device which aims to reduce opioid-induced respiratory depression and the opportunity to develop this into something that could make a real difference is far beyond my expectations!”

Theotime de Rancourt (1st year):

“I’m looking forward to learning new techniques, working with medical experts, observing surgeries and seeing, first-hand, the difference between the University lab and the real world of medicine,”

Constantinos Demetriou (1st year):

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me! I’m excited about the group project which will allow me to work with my course-mates to solve a real-world medical problem, and the chance to see the link between patient diagnosis and the behind-the-scenes analysis that takes place in the lab.”

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

“This fantastic opportunity has allowed our students to spend an extended period working at the cutting-edge of modern medicine alongside world-leading experts in Texas. We selected some of our brightest and best students to participate in the 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 continuing to work 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.”   

Find out more about Swansea University Medical School

Swansea University Texas Partnership