Dr Sarah Bohndiek

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Job title: Reader in Biomedical Physics
Division: Physics and CRUK Cambridge Institute
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Tags: Fellowship: HT Challenge Award, Healthcare technologies, Researcher, University of Cambridge
Related theme: Healthcare technologies

Biography

Sarah completed her PhD in Radiation Physics at University College London in 2008 and then worked in both the UK (at Cambridge) and the USA (at Stanford) as a postdoctoral fellow in molecular imaging. In 2013, she returned to the UK as a Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and was promoted to Reader in Biomedical Physics in 2017. 

My Fellowship

Each year in the UK, over 55,000 patients will be diagnosed with oesophageal or lung cancer; a staggering 44,000 will die from their disease. The majority of patients are currently diagnosed when their disease is at a late stage, yielding less than ten percent survival over five years. Therefore, a key clinical un-met need remains for early disease diagnosis.

To detect these cancers early, patients that are at a high risk of disease might undergo endoscopy. An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a light source and video camera at one end to relay images from inside the body. Endoscopy is vital for surveillance and diagnosis of cancer, however, many cancers of the oesophagus and lung start out as small abnormalities that are hard to spot using conventional endoscopes.

The focus of this fellowship is to augment the vision of the endoscopist by designing a specialist video camera that detects the properties of light that our eyes are blind to. We will also use this new camera in a bench top system that can analyse tissue that has been taken out of the body very quickly, before it is sent to the pathologist to check for cancer. Sarah’s Team’s new cameras are designed to be cost effective and provide extra information to help doctors with diagnosing cancer in the oesophagus and lung. Sarah hopes to ultimately replace the current standard-of-care.

Motivation to Apply

Sarah was attracted to the flexible funding provided by the EPSRC Healthcare Technologies Challenge Award, which would provide a fantastic opportunity to execute a complex multidisciplinary project involving both basic science research and technology translation into the clinic.

Career benefit of Fellowship

Sarah is excited about the opportunity to become a part of the EPSRC fellows community and build her research network in the UK and beyond.

Advice for future applicants

Sarah found it very helpful to talk to previous fellows about their experiences and to the EPSRC office to clarify details about their expectations for the applications.