UC’s Bioengineering team engineers success at IFAC BMS Brazil Conference

08 October 2018

Three researchers, supervised by a fantastic team, took away Best Young Authors and Overall Best Paper Awards.

Geoff Chase, students' awards

After all the peer review, more than 90 papers were evaluated. The team has got two out of three Young Author Best Papers and one out of three Best Paper awards.

The department’s bioengineering research had major success at the recent International Federation of Automatic Control Biological and Medical Systems Conference (IFAC BMS 2018) in Sao Paulo Brazil. This major triennial conference awards 3 Overall Best Paper Awards, and a further 3 Best Young Author Paper Awards for those papers led and presented by postgraduate students.

"We escaped the cold Christchurch weather to attend the 10th IFAC BMS conference in Sao Paulo. It was really inspiring to hear about the bio-engineering research that is being carried out to improve healthcare and fix specific medical issues around the world", the team of winners says.

Joel Balmer and Vincent Uyttendaele took 2 of the 3 Best Young Author paper awards, and Sophie Morton took home 1 of the 3 Overall Best Paper Awards – A great haul for the department. They are supervised by Distinguished Professor Chase, Dr Chris Pretty, Dr Paul DochertyDr Jennifer Knopp, and our Adjunct Faculty Dr Thomas Desaive (University of Liege, Belgium), Prof Geoff Shaw (Christchurch Hospital, University of Otago), and Prof Merryn Tawhai (Auckland Bioengineering Institute)

1.    Best Paper Award to Sophie Morton for her paper entitled: “Development of a Predictive Pulmonary Elastance Model to Describe Lung Mechanics throughout Recruitment Manoeuvres”. While mechanical ventilation is a critical life saving therapy, the wrong ventilator settings can cause further lung damage. This research developed the first in silico virtual patients for this critical therapy, which lets clinicians predict how the lungs would respond to a change in treatment before actually changing ventilator settings, increasing safety and quality of care for no added cost.

2.    Best Young Author Paper Award to Vincent Uyttendaele for his paper entitled: “Preliminary results from the STAR-Liège clinical trial: Virtual trials, safety, performance, and compliance analysis”. This paper analysed the first results of the ongoing STAR-Liège clinical trial running at the University Hospital of Liège, Belgium. STAR-Liège is a model-based glycaemic controller aiming to control blood sugar level in critically ill patients using insulin therapy. This patient-specific tool, used in Christchurch as the standard of care, improved performance and safety for all patients included in Liege, and thus shows us first results of our ability to safely extend this tool to new centres.

3.    Best Young Author Paper Award to Joel Balmer for his paper entitled: “Effect of arterial pressure measurement location on pulse contour stroke volume estimation, during a rapid change in hemodynamic state". In circulatory failure, it is important to establish and improve  the hearts ability to move blood around the body. However, determining the hearts state of health often requires invasive measurements. This research determined how the location of pressure measurements in critically ill patients impacts our novel measurements of heart function and capacity, enabling significant improvements we will test in an upcoming clinical trial.

The research was sponsored by the MedTech CoRE Centre of Research Excellence, National Science Challenge SfTI: Science for Technological Innovation, and Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ)

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