Heather Reynolds

Heather Reynolds from Sale Grammar School took a six week bursary placement in the Division of Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester. Her bursary placement was titled 'Measuring the similarity between dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI images'.

The aims of the project
To investigate whether it is possible to estimate the similarity between pairs of dynamic contrast – enhanced MRI images of tumours. Being able to do this is important, as it would provide another tool with which to investigate drug action.

How the project was carried out
I first thought up some simple uses and tests for the software that we had developed in a programme called ‘MATLAB’, including music and geographical maps. These examples worked, so we went on to use real data to see whether we could find the trend in similarity between tumours that we expected (the effect of the drugs used has already been investigated). We modified the software, used different data, tried different analysis techniques and created synthetic data to model the trends and patterns found and to test our software.

What I found out
We found that with the synthetic data, the software accurately measured the similarity between pairs of K trans tumour maps. However, the software was not sensitive enough to do the same for real data. Although it did give correct trends in the changes of the tumours, the trends were not statistically significant enough to use as strong evidence for the patterns.


The most valuable thing about the bursary experience
The experience has hugely increased my self confidence, because I have not only gained a very valuable insight into the world of real work, but I have learnt a lot about carrying out science and research as well as writing up reports and communicating information to others. I now realise how important it is for me to have an interesting job with a fair degree of freedom, and communication with others (whether public or in my team), which reinforces my desire to become a doctor. I would also consider doing some more medical research as part of my degree or career.