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University of Ulster PhD student Martin McMullan has fought off tough competition from industry and academia to finish runner up in the UK national final of the prestigious Young Persons' Lecture Competition.
Newtownabbey student Martin secured his place in the national final in London by beating all new comers in the regional heat in Belfast earlier this year. His presentation on the design and fabrication of a revolutionary implantable sensor to measure blood lactate levels, impressed the judges and won him a generous cash prize.
A second year PhD student at UU Jordanstown's Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (NIBEC), Martin's research in the area of nanotube biosensors is co-supervised by Dr Papakonstantinou. The work presented in the competition was a result of collaborative work with the Bioelectronics and Biosensors group at Arizona State University led by Prof Joseph Wang.
The competition, which was open to competitors with backgrounds in materials science and engineering, minerals and mining technology, attracted a large entry and the final presentations were all of a ‘tremendously high standard', according to the chairman of the judging panel, Dr Phil Bischler from the IOM3 Local Affairs Board.
Martin's presentation for the final gave an overview of the implantable biosensors and discussed possible applications in the health sector.
"The sensors could have many applications. They could be used to assess patient condition and to test for a range of possible diseases and clinical conditions. They could also be used to monitor the performance of elite athletes," said Martin.
Congratulating Martin on reaching the national finals, Dr Pagona Papakonstantinou said his success had served to highlight the excellent work being carried out at NIBEC.
"It was a tremendous achievement to do so well against such stiff competition. The standard of entry was very high and with competitors being adjudicated on not only their research but its applications and of course their presentation skills, it was very challenging."
The competition was sponsored by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, with support from The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers.
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