Applied Medical Sciences Summer Programme

About the programme

Every year students from BSc Applied Medical Sciences are given the opportunity to participate in a Summer Innovation Programme at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas. The students spend 6 weeks in Houston where they are hosted by BCM's Interdisciplinary Surgical Technology and Innovation Center (INSTINCT) in the Department of Surgery.

Students on the programme work on group and individual projects which focus on the development of new medical devices, and participate in activities such as surgery observations, think tanks, surgical simulations, data collection, histology and lab work. The first programme, which ran in June 2017, saw the students return to Swansea having secured over $20,000 in R&D funding for their projects.

Baylor Clinic

Founded in 1900, Baylor College of Medicine is a health sciences university located in Houston Ranked as one of America’s top medical schools, it has 26 departments, over 90 research and patient-care centres and 4,500 academic staff.  

At the forefront of many of the major advances in biomedical sciences over the last century, Baylor College of Medicine researchers played a key role in the completion of the Human Genome Project which aimed to sequence and annotate the entire estimated 3.3 billion bases of the human genome. Its world-leading researchers have been responsible for countless medical innovations that have helped to transform the way in which conditions such as cancer, polio and heart failure are diagnosed and treated.

Innovation Challenge 2017

Team Seren

The primary focus of the 2017 summer innovation programme was participating in the Department of Surgery Incubator’s annual ‘Innovation Challenge’ which sought inspiring and cutting-edge solutions for the early detection, prevention, and improved management of pressure ulcers.

The Swansea students worked in three teams to develop submissions for the competition where $25,000 in research and development funds were available to the winner to help translate their idea into reality.

Swansea's Team Seren developed 'Setress' - a pressure sensing and massaging mattress to prevent pressure ulcers - an idea which saw them named joint winners of the Innovation Challenge, sharing the $25,000 prize. 

Mary-Ellen Courtney

Mary-Ellen Courtney from Swansea participated in the 2018 summer programme:

"The facilities at Baylor College of Medicine are truly superb and awe-inspiring. It was an amazing experience to see how these facilities were being utilised to improve healthcare.

The best thing about my experience was shadowing Dr Gabriel Loor, a cardiothoracic surgeon. Our group project aimed to improve current ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machines and procedures, and seeing patients currently on ECMO machines brought a new perspective.

This reality check was unbelievably valuable: It allowed us to understand Dr Corr’s passion for this project and amplified our own as we could see how beneficial work in this field could be. It highlighted the power of medical innovation and research and why this sort of work is so unbelievably important. It humbles me that we were given the opportunity to not only see the current work ongoing at Baylor College of Medicine, but actually play a small part in one of their projects."

Lucia Rosellina

Lucia Rosellina from London participated in the 2018 programme:

"I heard about the Baylor College of Medicine Summer Programme on my first visit to Swansea at an Open Day and hearing about the experiences of the students who went in 2017 made me want to go even more.

I really enjoyed working on the group project, especially towards the end when all our ideas came together and we were able to design the final product.

We had a variety of talks from different people to help us with our project and there was a wide range of facilities available to us.

The programme has given me a better understanding of the process of getting a product approved to be used in the medical market, and the challenges you face along the way.

The experience made me more confident and made me realise that it’s ok to ask questions and ask people for help."

Jemima Jones

Jemima Jones from Kidwelly participated in the 2017 summer programme:

"We did lab work, participated in think tanks and talks, and observed experiments and surgeries. The facilities were second to none: the labs, equipment and research we had the chance to experience and be a part of were world class.

The best part of the experience was the opportunity to work alongside and network with leaders in various fields of research and healthcare. The chance to experience the Texas Medical Center – the largest medical centre in the world - was exciting and really highlighted that problems in medicine are usually solved by engineering.

The programme developed my communication, time management, team work and networking skills, and I also learned new lab techniques, software and knowledge of engineering and physics. The experience helped me to become more independent and to improve my confidence in professional situations."

Poornima Ramesh

Poornima Ramesh from Slough participated in the 2017 summer programme:

"I was attracted to the programme as I am considering a career in medicine and research, specifically surgery and surgical techniques.

This was a fantastic opportunity to learn American lab methods and the facilities we have access to were top quality. 

While in Texas I carried out carried out project work, experiments and research, observed experiments and surgeries, learned new software and techniques, and gave a number of presentations, including an elevator-style pitch to leading medical device innovators.  

The experience changed me as a person: it made me more able to speak spontaneously, to lead, and prepared me for my next years of study. I have been able to build strong networks with people in Texas which will help me in my future career. 

It was an unforgettable experience which has helped shape the person I want to be." 

Maanasy (Maisy) Nadarajah

Maanasy (Maisy) Nadarajah from Bournemouth participated in the 2017 summer programme:

"I was attracted to the programme because of its location in the Texas Medical Center, the biggest medical complex in the world. I thought it would be an amazing place for me to build connections which would help in my future career. 

I honestly expected tha I would be fetching coffee or just shadowing people without really participating. In reality, however, it was the complete opposite: I was treated as an equal and was encouraged to speak my mind about ideas I or anyone else had.

The experience has made me much more confident in speaking to others, and my confidence in presenting ideas has also increased significantly."  

Rukshikah Loganathan

Rukshikah Loganathan from Croydon participated in the 2017 summer programme:

"I was able to develop skills in research, aseptic techniques, and cell culture techniques of pancreatic cancer cells that most first-year students don't normally get the chance to develop.

We had access to facilities such as 3D printing, RF room, prototype room, flow cytometry, cell culturing and splitting, and surgical simulations. We also observed a surgical oncology by Dr Steven Curley, Baylor College of Medicine's chief of oncology.

Meeting leading researchers and surgeons such as Dr Billy Cohn (Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies) and Dr Curley was inspiring, and that motivated me to work hard with a view to studying medicine in the future."