"The support from UKIERI through PhD helped me raise the horizon of my knowledge to a global level leading to sharpening my skills and transforming me into an independent scientist, taking me a step closer to my goals."
Sangeeta Maini, UKIERI PhD Scholar
and India called UKIERI was initiated to improve educational, professional and technical skills exchange between the two countries. I was fortunate to have been granted UKIERI Doctoral award that supported my PhD. The UKIERI scholarship covered both my academic fees and maintenance allowing me to completely focus on my research.
My PhD research area is in the field of Medical Physics and aims at the development of a novel X-ray Diffraction Imaging System for early and precise detection of breast cancer. Among all cancers, breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in women and there is little understanding of reasons behind the development of this cancer. But evidences indicate risk factors like family history, early puberty and increased density of breast tissues. The state-of-art imaging modalities available for identifi cation of breast cancer are Mammography, MRI and PET. However, these have an associated false negative (cancer undetected) rate of 10 per cent. Scientists have proved this by using small angle X-ray. Diffraction, consistent and reliable differences can be obtained between samples taken from normal and cancerous breast tissues. This directed me to a possibility of exploring this research to a deeper level for implementable technology in breast cancer detection. I, therefore, took this research a step forward and focused on not just small samples but the whole breast tissue. My research would lead to the development of an imaging system that could be integrated into the existing systems to increase the detection sensitivity of breast cancers with higher confidence. I believe that this will have a dramatic impact on the diagnosis of cancer. Further, I hope that this technique could be applied for the detection/treatment of other disorders too. All this has been possible because of UKIERI that constantly supported me during my research.
My PhD research involves close collaboration between my department and hospitals in London (for tissue samples) and industries (for a wide range of clinically used equipment). The opportunity provided by UKIERI helped me understand the bridge between Healthcare, Clinical Science, Engineering and basic Science. The PhD programme supported by UKIERI has been an excellent learning platform that deepened my understanding of cancer. This exposure, in turn, has not only raised my competency in the latest high-throughput scientifi c techniques but also carved out my scientifi c planning, proposing and implementation skills towards providing experimental solutions in high-quality research.
The support from UKIERI through PhD helped me raise the horizon of my knowledge to a global level leading to sharpening my skills and transforming me into an independent scientist, taking me a step closer to my goals. I feel proud to be a part of this UK-India initiative and wish that UKIERI expands to higher levels in the future and helps make research more global.