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Medical Engineering, Third Year Research Project: Discussion, Queen Mary, University of London

  1. Read the task in Box 1.
  2. Download each of the pdfs and read them. Keep these open so you can refer to them as you watch the video.
  3. Watch the video.

Step 1

The Task

Medical Engineering, Third Year Research Project: Discussion, Queen Mary, University of London

In year 3, medical engineering students conduct an individual research project and write up the work in the form of a dissertation. This document is designed to demonstrate the students’ ability to analyse and present the findings of an investigation. The report must be written in a coherent and logical manner with arguments justified by the findings from the students own work or by reference to publications.  In general, the report structure consists of a literature review, aims and objectives, methodology, results and discussion.

The discussion  follows the .results section. In it, the findings of the investigation are discussed in context with the available scientific literature. Possible reasons for the observed events are proposed and discussed. This could be done by referring back to the rationale that was provided in the literature review and provide a discussion on what / why the new findings have added in this context. The discussion should present the limitations of the new findings and how they compare critically to previously published studies. If the work is contradictory, the discussion should justify the new findings. This leads to implications of the research for future work. The earlier hypothesis, given in the introduction can be either accepted or rejected based on the interpretation of the results. The discussion ends with a conclusion section which summaries the main points that have emerged and what they mean for the proposed work.

Step 2


Text 1 - Reactive Oxygen species production


The effect of reduced oxygen tensions in MSCs have been widely investigated in order to understand cellular reactions and processes in a hypoxic environment which resemble the oxygen tension of their natural niches.  The present study investigated the effect of oxygen tension, 2% oxygen and 20% oxygen conditions, on the production of cellular ROS of goat bone  marrow  derived  MSCs.  This  study  aimed  to  make  a  comparison  between  cells expanded under normoxic and hypoxic conditions, 20% and 2% oxygen tension respectively, in addition to investigating whether the effect of expansion and measurement conditions in determining the inherent energy metabolism in MSCs. Previous investigations have shown that MSCs are  influenced  by their cultured oxygen tension in terms of their proliferation (d’Ippolito et al., 2006,  Grayson et al., 2006) and ROS generation (Martin et al., 2004, Moussavi-Harami et al., 2004).

The morphology of gMSCs observed at day 1 and 5 under both oxygen conditions showed a characteristic spindle-shaped or fibroblastic morphology when cultured in monolayer which was also observed in studies conducted by Pittenger et al., (1999) and Colter et al., (2001). A reduced  population  doubling  time was  associated  with  a  greater fold increase for  cells expanded under  20% oxygen, suggesting an enhanced proliferation rate under normoxic conditions. This finding is  in  agreement with previous studies by Fehrer et al., (2007) and Holzwarth et al., (2010).

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Text 2 - SUN2


The aim of this study was to develop a cell system where the expression of SUN2

could be modulated so that the cell line could go on to be used for relevant assays.

First it was attempted to reprogramme cells to an induced pluripotent state, and then

purify to obtain a population of induced cells. This would be assessed using RT

qPCR, and immunofluorescence.

Next it was attempted to use RNAi to knockdown the expression of SUN2 in a HeLa

cell line, and assess the efficiency of the knockdown using RT qPCR, and immunofluorescence.


iPS purification

Initially the NANOG::GFP reporter was used to positively select for reprogrammed cells. When this was attempted the NANOG::GFP yields only a weak and diffuse signal. The expression of NANOG in a population of pluripotent cells has been shown to take the form of a ‘salt and pepper’ distribution (Claire Chazaud, 2006). Because of this the pluripotent surface marker, SSEA-1, in mice was chosen to be the main criteria for selection in FACS purification.

As can be seen in the data report from the 4th round of FACS, Figure 8, the percentages were still relatively low; however the percentage of SSEA-1 positive cells showed an increase over the following rounds, Table 2.

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Text 3 - THz – TDS detection of cartilage proteins

The discussion is split into three sections, the first section will talk about the overall design of the sample holder and if the design met all the requirements listed in the PRD (Table 3.2) and detail any further improvements to the design. Second section will compare the system from this study with those found in literature and in depth critical review of the sample holder systems compared to samples in the lyophilized form. The final section will talk about the future work to be undertaken by this study.

The main focus of the study was to develop a system to improve the quantification of biological samples by THz – TDS. The system which this study designed ( Fig ) consisted of a sample holder (acting as a spur gear), a pinion gear, stepper motor, stand, bearing and shaft and hall effect sensor. All of these components ensured that the system was automated and could simultaneously quantify and biological samples in the aqueous form. The reason behind of designing this sample holder is that many studies who have quantified samples by THz – TDS have done so by using dehydrated samples, or samples pressed into pellets with PE coating, due to the difficulty of obtaining results of aqueous samples due to the high attenuation of water. Table 6.1 shows which requirements the design has met, and did not meet and details how the design met the requirements.

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Step 3

Step 4

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