15 October 2020

Electronic & Electrical Engineering Student wins Global Undergraduate Regional Award for Europe

Engineering student Youssef Maharem, has won the Regional Award in Engineering for Europe in the ‘Global Undergraduate Awards’ for his dissertation on research into non-invasive methods of monitoring blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Youssef Maharem

Electronics & Communications Engineering student Youssef Maharem, has won the Regional Award in Engineering for Europe in the ‘Global Undergraduate Awards’ for his dissertation on research into non-invasive methods of monitoring blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Now in his fourth year of study, Youssef was chosen for his dissertation entitled “The Quantitative Analysis of Glucose Using Infrared Spectra.” Recognised by an international panel of expert judges working in some of the world’s top academic institutions, his research explores other methods of ensuring diabetics keep their blood glucose levels within a healthy range.

Diabetic patients need to take frequent blood readings so that they can take the appropriate clinical action if their glucose levels are abnormally high or low. Failure to regulate these levels can cause many serious medical issues such as eye damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, or even limb amputations, all of which can be prevented and are costly to the NHS. Traditionally, the finger stick is the most popular glucose monitoring method, however, this method is painful, carries a risk of infection, is expensive in the long-run, and may discourage the patient.

I feel great about winning the award as I truly did exert a lot of effort into this singular piece of work. Receiving this kind of recognition for it makes all that effort a little more worth it.

Youssef Maharem

Electronics & Communication Engineering Student

Researchers are now exploring non-invasive methods of continuous glucose monitoring, which does not require an incision to the skin, called infrared spectroscopy. This method looks at directing infrared waves of different frequencies at a site, such as a finger or ear lobe, and depending on how much light is absorbed at the different frequencies, researchers are able to predict the glucose concentration in the blood without causing any discomfort to the patient.

Youssef said: “The aim of my dissertation was to improve the accuracy of glucose prediction using supervised machine learning techniques that quantify glucose from Near-Infrared & Mid-Infrared spectra. The results have been very promising with a reduction of 97per cent in the error of prediction compared to previously published literature by colleagues in the same research group. These efforts should pave the way for the development of more accurate on-chip spectrometers that are much more user-friendly, environmentally sustainable, and that can offer continuous measurement all throughout the day and especially when they are asleep, allowing more efficient monitoring of the condition of a diabetic.

The Global Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards programme which recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines. The awards are designed to empower students, helping them to recognize the potential their undergraduate work can have in making real change.

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