Regional and international accolades for Leicester researcher

Posted by pt91 at Jun 02, 2011 04:40 PM |
Double awards success for research into potential predictor of sudden cardiac death
Regional and international accolades for Leicester researcher

Dr Nicolson accepting the EMESP Master’s Prize from Mr Ian Treacy, Chairman of the EMESP.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 2 June 2011

Pictures are available via pt91@le.ac.uk. For captions, see Notes to Editors

A new electrical ‘LifeMap’ which can warn of the risk of sudden cardiac death, developed by a cardiologist at the University of Leicester and at Glenfield Hospital, has recently been awarded prestigious national and international awards.

Three million people die annually of sudden cardiac death - 100,000 in the UK alone.  These deaths could be prevented with a device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), inserted in a minor operation. 

However, it is very difficult to work out who needs an ICD because current risk markers for sudden cardiac death have limitations.  This has led NICE to call for research into new risk markers.

Dr Will Nicolson, Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, has recently won the ‘Young Investigator Award’ at the international CardioRhythm 2011 conference and the East Midlands Engineering and Science Professionals ‘Master’s Prize’.

His research had previously won the Da Vinci Health Technology Innovation Network ‘Clinical Impact Award’.

Will Nicolson 300Dr Nicolson has been working under the supervision of Dr G. André Ng, Senior Lecturer in Cardiology and Dr Gerry McCann, Cardiac Imaging Specialist, with support from Dr Fernando Schlindwein, Senior Lecturer in Engineering on the subject of sudden cardiac death. 

Dr Nicolson’s research creates a LifeMap: an electrical map of sudden cardiac death risk using an ECG, and combines it with a cardiac MRI anatomical map of arrhythmia risk. 

He commented: “I am delighted to have won these awards.  It is not only an honour, it also demonstrates that the research stands up to rigorous examination and has strong scientific merit.” 

His supervisor Dr André Ng added: “It is great that Will’s work has been recognised in the awards he had won recently. The research subject is an important area in clinical cardiology with unmet need.

“In my group, talented researchers are working across the disciplines of basic science, engineering and clinical translational science to address mechanisms underlying lethal and complex heart rhythm disturbances and their prediction, prevention and treatment. The accolades testify to the endorsement from regional and international communities on the quality of work that we are doing.”

Dr Nicolson has been working on the project for two years and has completed two clinical proof-of-concept studies that show great potential for LifeMap. The University of Leicester has patented the technology behind LifeMap.  A further clinical 160 patient trial is recruiting and a number of smaller studies are ongoing. 

The team is already looking towards collaboration with industry on a clinical version of the device. This work has received support from Sorin Group and the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit.

Young Investigator Award, CardioRhythm 2011

CardioRhythm is the premier International cardiology conference in South East Asia engaging health professionals dealing with all aspects of heart rhythm management.

Dr Will Nicolson won the CardioRhythm 2011 Young Investigator Award, including a trophy, certificate and $500 for a pilot study demonstrating the great potential for the new technique as a predictor of sudden cardiac death, importantly showing LifeMap to be independent of current sudden cardiac death risk markers and to correlate with cardiac MRI data. 

His work was selected from over two hundred abstracts at the biennial congress of the Hong Kong College of Cardiology and Chinese Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology.

Dr Nicolson commented: “This endorsement by the international cardiology community is fantastic for LifeMap and greatly increases our chances of obtaining the funding that is needed to take the work to the next stage.”

East Midlands Engineering and Science Professionals ‘Master's Prize’

1 300Dr Nicolson brought home the Master’s Prize for the University at the regional competition on 12 May 2011 beating representatives from other universities in the region. The prize included a celebratory tankard, certificate and £500.

He had been chosen to represent the University in the regional competition in April, out of six candidates representing the most innovative student research within the Science and Engineering faculties.

Dr Nicolson commented, “It was a great honour to be selected to represent Leicester.  Winning the overall prize considerably raises the profile of LifeMap within the East Midlands and opens up opportunities for funding and collaboration. 

“The endorsement of the EMESP will considerably improve our chances of successfully commercialising LifeMap to the benefit of our patients.”

Notes to Editors: More information on the East Midlands Engineering and Science Professionals’ ‘Masters Prize follows.  

Further details are available from Dr Will Nicolson, email wbn1@leicester.ac.uk, tel no 0116 258 3643 

Images are available via pt91@le.ac.uk, captions are as follows:

Dr Will Nicolson

Dr Will Nicolson (third from left) with candidates from other universities at the EMESP Master’s Prize competition

Dr Will Nicolson (left) accepting the EMESP Master’s Prize from Mr Ian Treacy, Chairman of the EMESP

About the EMESP "Masters Prize"

All eight of the East Midlands universities compete annually for the EMESP award.

The event is a celebration of the contribution to our future prosperity and quality of life, of young Scientists, Engineers and Technologists currently researching in our East Midlands Universities.

In particular it:

• Encourages, rewards and recognises good work by the individuals and Universities     involved – especially technical innovation and enterprise

• Encourages in the research-project presentations the key elements of “problem   definition, line of attack, potential economic impact of a successful outcome”

• Helps continue raising the profile of Engineers, Scientists, Engineering, Computing and Technology in East Midlands Universities

• Increases the mutual understanding across Universities, business and the public sector

• Facilitates greater collaboration between University R&D and small and medium enterprises

• Contributes to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the region.

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