Perspectum employee Lis Pickles receives prestigious Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industrial Fellowship

  • November 20, 2019

Perspectum are honoured to announce that their employee, Lis Pickles, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industrial Fellowship to pursue doctoral studies in joint collaboration with Perspectum and Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Lis’s research aims to address a major unmet need to improve the detection and treatment of liver cancer, the third most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide. In recent years, there have been advances in the detection of liver cancer using MRI with contrast agents, but differentiation and staging can still be challenging. Furthermore, the use of contrast agents can cause unpleasant side effects and in some cases, damage to the kidneys. To date, the analysis of liver images for cancer detection has primarily been qualitative, relying on individual clinical judgement, which may vary for different clinicians. International reporting guidelines have been established to address variability but reporting still tends to be subjective and differentiation between different kinds of cancer can be difficult.

Lis is approaching this problem by combining artificial intelligence (AI) with novel quantitative MRI techniques such as those found in Perspectum’s LiverMultiScan™, to develop new ways of detecting and diagnosing different types of liver cancer. The new techniques will have the advantage of providing objective, quantitative measurements and will not require contrast agents, therefore having great potential for monitoring the effects of different cancer treatments. Lis will be able to trial her new technology through Perspectum’s clinical partnerships and collaborations in the UK.

Lis joined Perspectum in July 2018 as a Clinical Data Analyst. She obtained a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics with the Open University while at the same time working at Oxford University and Hospitals. Her work experiences at the Ludwig Cancer Research Institute and at Perspectum, motivated her to pursue research into medical imaging with application to liver cancer. This path will enable her to exploit her scientific interests and technical expertise to improve lives via advances in medical imaging.

Lis says, “I’m delighted to have received the Industrial Fellowship award. When I started working at Perspectum just over a year ago, I did not realise such opportunities existed. Thankfully, after being at Perspectum for a few months, Professor Sir Michael Brady, Perspectum’s co-founder, realised that the Fellowship would be an ideal fit for me. We worked together to write a proposal about the imaging of liver cancer, which I am very interested in and is of great value to Perspectum.  Also, I hope that it will ultimately result in the discovery of new methods that will improve the lives of the rising number of people diagnosed with liver cancer each year. After submitting my application and proposal, I was invited for an interview in London, chaired by Sir John O’Reilly. When I heard that I had been successful in securing the Fellowship, I was overjoyed and have spent the last six months looking forward to beginning my doctoral studies. Now, I am immersing myself in my research on liver cancer, having started my Fellowship at the beginning of October.”

For Perspectum, Lis’s award is evidence that the company attracts the best talent, who help accelerate the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies. Professor Sir Michael Brady, pioneer in AI techniques, added, “Perspectum is rightly proud of the quality of its employees, and of the way we enable them to explore aspects that they have not previously been exposed to.  For example, two employees who joined Perspectum to work in Image Analysis have subsequently enjoyed considerable success in product management.  Now, Lis has moved in the opposite direction, from being a Data Analyst to a doctoral student working in Imaging Science.  We are delighted for her, and for the burgeoning relationship between Perspectum and the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, where we now co-supervise three DPhils.”

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 – Industrial Fellowships

Industrial fellowships, worth up to £80,000 each, have been awarded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, to nine of the most innovative young scientists and engineers in the UK. The fellowships enable the recipient to pursue a PhD in joint collaboration with academia and industry, to the mutual benefit of the Fellow and his or her sponsoring company. Applications for next year are currently being advertised: