Our paper on developing a new type of sensor for fetal movements has been published in PLoS One! The paper describes how acoustic sensors are combined with accelerometers for the first time. The sensor was able to detect and identify the short, rigorous ‘startle’ movements of the fetus. Further development is ongoing, but this is an important first step! The work builds on a patent held by the several of the authors, including Niamh.
Citation: Lai J, Woodward R, Alexandrov Y, ain Munnee Q, Lees CC, Vaidyanathan R, Nowlan NC. Performance of a wearable acoustic system for fetal movement discrimination. PloS one. 2018 May 7;13(5):e0195728.
Niamh was the lead organiser of a meeting hosted by the Royal Society on the ‘Mechanics of Development’ at Chicheley Hall from 5-7 February. The topics covered included brain, bone, heart and gut development, and the speakers and participants were from a broad range of backgrounds including cell biology, developmental biology, physics and engineering. Aurelie presented a poster, and several other members of the group attended the meeting.
Stefaan‘s work on quantifying the stresses and strains induced by fetal kicks over gestation has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The work attracted a lot of publicity, being featured by Nature, Science and Newsweek and on the Imperial College website. Congratulations Stefaan! See here for the online version of the paper, and access the pdf here.
Very best wishes to Dr Stefaan Verbruggen, who has started a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellowship. He will spend 2018 in Columbia University and 2019 in Queen Mary University in London. After more than three years in the group, Stefaan will be much missed by all of us! Stefaan’s send-off nicely coincided with our Christmas Party, pictured here.
A warm welcome to our newest group member Yuming Huang, who joined us as a PhD student this October. Yuming did his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering right here in Imperial College, graduating in 2017. Yuming is currently enjoying getting up and running in the lab, and reading all about the wonderful world of developmental biomechanics. Welcome Yuming!!
Soapbox Art & Science is a collaborative project between artists and scientists to inspire a new generation of scientists and tackle gender issues in science careers. Niamh took part in the project, collaborating with artist Julie Light, culminating in a public outreach event in Thamesmead, London on Saturday 16th September. Check out the pictures of the Julie’s piece of latex art inspired by a baby’s kicks, and of the event itself, below!
Devi, Niamh and Vivien attended the 14th International Conference on Limb Development and Regeneration in Edinburgh in July. Devi presented a talk entitled Identifying critical time points for early chick hip development, Vivien presented a poster entitled The effects of fetal immobility on shoulder joint shape over development, and Niamh gave an invited talk on Fetal movement matters: the importance of biomechanical influences in shaping the prenatal skeleton. Devi and Vivien made the most of their time in Scotland and danced the night away at the traditional ceili! Well done to both- pictured here at Vivien’s poster.
The Nowlan group had a great time at their annual outing in July- this year to ClueQuest followed by a tasty Greek lunch. Both teams managed to escape their rooms in time, but Team 2 were the winners by a whole two minutes! Well done to the victors; Aurélie, Devi, Stefaan & Vivien!
Congratulations to Stefaan who was awarded first prize Oral Presentation at the Anatomical Society Meeting “Anatomists at the Edge” in Galway in June 2017. Well done Stefaan!
Devi presented her work at a lively poster session at the same meeting.
The group showcased our research to hundreds of school children and members of the public at the 2017 Imperial College Festival from the 5-7 May. Children got stuck in with making joint shapes from Play-Doh and matching them to the real shapes on 3D-printed fetal bones, and children and adults alike were wowed by our videos of babies moving in the womb. A big thank-you to all the group who put in such a big effort to entertain and excite so many visitors to Imperial!