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Students present research to MPs in STEM for Britain finals

Three Loughborough students presented their research as part of the STEM for Britain finals in Westminster last month.

STEM for Britain gives early-career researchers a chance to exhibit research posters in five key areas – biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematical sciences and physics. Out of 500 applicants, a third are selected to present their work to Members of Parliament and Peers. The event is sponsored by the Chair of Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, Stephen Metcalfe MP.

Under the supervision of Dr Sourav Ghosh and Dr Guido Bolognesi, Praveenkumar Kaveri developed a Rapid Early Affordable Diagnostic test for infection and Resistance (READ-R). The project focuses on the development of fluorescence probe-based tests that detect bacteria and antibiotic sensitivity in urine.

The test is the fastest reported ‘definitive’ point-of-care diagnostic test in urine as it can identify bacterial infection and determine the appropriate antibiotic and dosage within one hour. This is significant as it allows optimal treatment to start early and decreases the misuse of antibiotics, therefore slowing the rate of antibiotic resistance.

Before the finals, Loughborough MP Jane Hunt visited the Centre for Biological Engineering on campus to find out more about Praveenkumar’s project. Impressed by the research, she took away copies of the poster to share with key stakeholders.

On his research, Praveenkumar said: “My experience was very enriching as I had an opportunity to present to a panel of experts and got to know the nation’s best research and researchers across a wide range of disciplines.”

Casper Oelen, under the supervision of Professor Sara Lombardo and Dr Vincent Knibbeler in the School of Science, presented a poster on symmetry in infinite dimensions and automorphic Lie algebras.

He said: “It was a great opportunity to explain how the principle of symmetry can be exploited in the natural sciences to gain an understanding of various physical phenomena. I was also able to discuss the fascinating mathematics employed in the area of my research. Being selected to participate was a great honour and I am proud to represent mathematics within this context.”

Edward Humphrey presented his research in the Engineering category. Working under the supervision of Dr Nicholas Morris and Dr Ramin Rahmani he investigated the frictional performance of a Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) surface coating in comparison to uncoated steel surface when lubricated with a transmission oil.

On his work, he commented: “I have greatly enjoyed my PhD project and the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of like-minded, driven and talented individuals at Loughborough University. It was an honour to present my work at STEM for Britain. The event was an immense opportunity to meet other early career researchers from multiple facets of research and industry, and it was very exciting to see the range and quality of interesting research currently being undertaken within the country.”

Lecturer, Dr Amal Hajjaj was also selected to present her work in the Engineering category. Working under the supervision of Professor Mohammad Younis with Dr Nizar Jaber during the last year of her PhD at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology she undertook groundbreaking research that has led to a new type of sensor that can detect the concentration of surrounding gases. This new sensor has important widespread applications in environmental monitoring, air quality measurement, chemical process control, and personal safety.

She said: “I am very appreciative that my research was shortlisted from hundreds of applications. I’m new to the UK research environment and this has encouraged me to continue developing my research.”