Skills from ETU "LETI" master's program to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities around the world
Graduates of the English-taught master's program Bioengineering Systems and Technologies for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation presented innovative developments ready for clinical use in their theses.
On June 8, the defense of the theses on the English-language master's program Bioengineering Systems and Technologies for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation took place. 8 students from six countries presented the results of their research and experimental designs.
Argentinean Pablo Daniel Badillo has developed a system for astigmatism parameter evaluation when selecting intraocular lenses. A detailed analysis of the asphericity of the eye cornea before implantation of intraocular lenses is to ensure the best possible surgery results. The innovation created by the master's degree student together with ophthalmologists of the Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University passes the final stages of the experimental tests and is prepared for use in the clinics on an extended sample of patients.
Syrian student Hanadi Solieman proposed an approach for analyzing the structure of phonemes in human speech to determine the patient's psychological state. Hanadi plans to expand the system's functionality with features such as depression detection and tracking treatment efficacy, as well as integrating the technology into voice assistants to monitor psycho-emotional status.
Ahmad Askar Mamun (Israel) in his thesis developed an electronic switch of ion-selective electrodes for the system of monitoring human water-salt metabolism. The results of this work are planned for clinical use.
Vladislav Chernykh, a Russian graduate student, has developed a web platform for personalized diabetes management. Alejandro Zegalo (Argentina) has developed a system for detecting spinal diseases and examining scoliosis using structured light. Sampson Amonsakh, a student from Ghana, developed a method to automatically detect the phase of respiration in the sounds of forced expiratory maneuvers.
Pablo Jose Castro Andrade (Ecuador) developed an Android application, which controls the robot using the feedback on motion sensors. Algerian students Ismail Hafnaoui has developed a system for obtaining photoplethysmogram, which provides a more accurate recording of pulse wave signals.
"It's kind of sad that the master's program has been completed. During five years of this educational program functioning, we have done huge work. First of all, it is the experience of teaching in English, lecturing, conducting practical classes and workshops, supervising theses. Young teachers, associate professors, who are not older than 30, participate in the program. And during this time they have significantly increased their level of English, pronunciation. These lecturers are actively involved in the international activities of the university, have prepared several online courses, including in English on the Coursera platform, which has more than 3,500 participants from India, USA, Canada, Brazil, UK," Zafar Yuldashev, Head of the master's program in Bioengineering Systems and Technologies for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation, Head of the Department of Bioengineering Systems, said.
"We were lucky to work with very strong students who purposefully entered LETI to gain knowledge for their future careers. Graduates from the English-taught program regularly correspond with us and report back to us on their achievements. We are very pleased that they continue to work in biomedical engineering and pass on the knowledge gained at LETI to their compatriots."
The coronavirus pandemic made significant adjustments in the preparation of the master's theses and their defense. Following the security measures taken by ETU "LETI" administration, students and members of the state examination committee worked remotely via Zoom.
"Due to this situation, the master's students were unable to complete their experiments in university laboratories and medical institutions to obtain sufficient research data. Fortunately, the students managed to do most of the research before mid-March, realizing that they would have to isolate themselves. The remaining two months they were engaged in theoretical research and correction of theses," Yulia Bobrova, the program coordinator, senior lecturer of the Department of Bioengineering Systems of ETU "LETI," says.
The English-taught master's program Bioengineering Systems and Technologies for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation - one of the first at ETU "LETI" - was launched by the Department of Bioengineering Systems in 2015. The first graduation took place in the summer of 2017. During the five years of its work, 28 masters from 13 countries of Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East received the ETU "LETI" diploma. The graduates work both in Russia and in their home countries, teach at universities, work as researchers, engineers in medical institutions, developers of medical equipment.
The program aims to give skills in using modern achievements in biophysics, biomechanics, electronics, information and computer technologies for rehabilitation of lost functions of human organs and systems. The students have acquired skills in developing and maintaining rehabilitation equipment and in using modern rehabilitation technologies to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.
The master's program is based on ETU "LETI" research projects in human movement kinematics, research of photographic parameters of the patient, the degree of scoliosis and flat feet development, as well as the development of upper and lower limbs prostheses, which scientists of the department carried out jointly with the G.A. Albrecht Federal Scientific Center of Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities for many years.
"The English-taught master's program became a very interesting experience for all professors of the Department of Bioengineering Systems. When we launched it five years ago, we did not understand much: what students will come to us, with what level of training, how to teach in English. During these years, we gained an understanding of the particularities of conducting lectures and practical classes for the English-speaking audience. In the future, we will adopt this experience to the new demands of the medical community."
The development of English-taught master's programs in biomedical engineering at ETU "LETI" is in line with the trends in world medicine. Since September 2019, the Department of Bioengineering Systems has been implementing the English-taught master's program in Systems and Technologies in Digital Healthcare (in the field of Biomedical Engineering), created due to the intensive development of telemedicine. Students acquire practical skills and professional competencies to work with systems of diagnostics using modern information and telecommunication technologies, the ability to research in the development of systems of remote monitoring and control of a state of health.
"My journey began with a special high school, The National Center for Distinguished, in my native Syria. I then received my bachelor's degree in mechatronics and robotics. During my last year, I was looking for a master's program in bioengineering in Russia. After a thorough search, I found a program Bioengineering Systems and Technologies for Prosthetics and Rehabilitation at ETU "LETI." I was very happy because I have a passion for it and my country needs specialists in bioengineering. I contacted the admissions committee and applied for a Russian scholarship to get a place in the program. In the summer of 2018, I completed my bachelor's degree and entered LETI in the fall.
The university takes good care of international students, and this is very important. I remember how nice it was to meet the staff of the International Students Office, as well as my first day at the department. During two years of my master's studies, I improved my skills in using engineering programs for modeling and simulation, learned new programming languages. I made friends with my classmates, some of them became my best friends. St. Petersburg is beautiful and rich in culture, but most of all, I like large green fields outside the city. Now, I plan to continue my PhD studies at the Department of Bioengineering Systems at ETU "LETI."
"I graduated from the National Technological University in Buenos Aires with a degree in electronics. After receiving a scholarship to study in Russia, I decided that I would study biomedical engineering. This field is very interesting and complex, it has a great future. The technology exists everywhere. Engineering tools allow us to effectively diagnose and improve our health condition. I chose LETI because it is part of the 5-100 Project, there is an opportunity to study in English, and it is located in St. Petersburg, one of the most beautiful and important cities in the country.
When I was preparing my thesis, I started working with neural networks. It was a completely new and interesting world for me. With the help of my supervisor, I presented two papers on the use of neural networks for image classification at conferences. Preparing scientific articles, in a language that is not my native one, working with LETI professors, communicating with my classmates - it was an excellent experience. Everyone supports each other in different situations and helps to achieve better results.
St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to. It has a history, present, and future. It is big and crowded, yet it has beautiful, quiet places with lots of trees and flowers. I really love going to museums, studying Russian history and culture, and enjoying nature.
Now, I'm applying for a new scholarship to enter LETI's PhD program. I think it'll help me develop my career. Maybe I'll be a lecturer. I am very happy to start a new phase in my professional life!"