Ruth Coe

Why did you decide to study Medical Engineering?

I enjoyed studying maths and physics at sixth form and wanted to apply those subjects by studying mechanical engineering at university. It wasn’t until I got to Leeds and saw the research done in medical engineering that I realised this subject really interested me and I wanted to specifically study medical engineering. 

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

After looking round a variety of universities, Leeds really appealed to me as a place to study engineering due to the amount of practical work on the course. Additionally, all the staff and students I talked to gave a really good impression of the university and everyone was really friendly and personable. 

What has been the best aspect of the course and why?

I really enjoyed the group design and build projects at the beginning of the course. Although, they were quite challenging, it was a lot of fun and a great way to learn how to work in a team with your tutor group. 

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far.

My major project during third year was very different to anything I’d done before on the course. I was looking into loading and biomechanical properties of the intervertebral discs in the spine. This was a really hands on project that allowed me to get experience with dissection in the microbiology labs and in the mechanical engineering labs with the spine simulator. 

For my final year team project I was involved in a project investigating the use of miniature surgical robots for obesity treatment. As a team we designed a swallowable robot that has a gastric balloon system able to inflate inside the patients' stomach to provide the feeling of being full. We made a large scale model of the capsule robot and a model gastrointestinal tract that can mimic the digestive motion of the natural stomach to be used as a test environment. This project really pushed the whole team and allowed us to develop a lot of new skills in a completely new field. We also got to work with a team of electrical engineers from the University of Manchester. 

What has been the best aspect of studying at the university of Leeds and why?

I think the combination of really enjoying the course and the opportunities to get involved in all sorts of events and activities outside of academic work. There is so much going on that there is definitely something for everyone. For me this has ranged between regularly going on trips and weekends away kayaking with the university canoe club to volunteering at a live CBBC event in millennium square helping on a stall showing 3D printing to the general public. 

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

There is a huge student community in Leeds and this means there is always something going on whether it’s at the union or just out in the City Centre. 

Have you undertaken a placement, internship or other form of work experience?

I have done two summer placements in the university: The first was a medical engineering placement which I then carried on as my 3rd year project. This gave me a great insight into the research going on in the department and let me gain some experience working in different laboratories and in a field of work that was completely new to me. The second was working in a team designing and developing a small 2-degree-of-freedom to be used to see if the project was suitable for level 2 students to provide a link between teaching and current university research into physiotherapeutic robotics. This let me develop skills in control, LabVIEW software and to develop further team working skills. 

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? 

I am starting a PhD in medical and biological engineering at Leeds in September. I have really enjoyed the research projects I have completed as part of my undergraduate degree and as placements. I am constantly inspired by the medical engineering research happening at Leeds and as a result want to pursue that further in the future.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will particularly help you with your future career?

Throughout my degree I have been able to work on a variety of project in both the mechanical and medical engineering fields. This has given me the confidence that I can tackle problems in areas completely new to me using the research and team working skills I have gained. I want to stay in research in the near future and am looking forward to starting my PhD but I feel equally as confident that the course has provided me with the necessary skills to go into industry too. 

What other activities outside your studies are you involved in?

Since I started at Leeds I have been part of the Leeds University Union Canoe Club. This has given me a great opportunity to get out of the city every weekend and go kayaking in a variety of locations around the UK. I was a member of the club committee during my second year, and as a part of this I organised a trip for around 50 members of the club to go white water kayaking in the Lake District. 

What would you say to students thinking about coming do the same course? 

I would really recommend medical engineering at Leeds; the course offers a great amount of opportunities if you’re willing to get involved. The student union is great and there really is something for everyone here.