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31 August 2022

Dr Yijing Xie awarded Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship

Dr Xie has been awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship for her research in the development of tools to help neurosurgeons during surgery.


Research Fellow from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, Dr Yijing Xie has been awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship for her research in the development of tools to help neurosurgeons during surgery.  

The RAEng research fellowship will be truly an enabling step in my career development pathway. Most importantly, this fellowship will ensure protected time and resources to allow me conduct original and challenging research that is driven by my own ideas. I will be able to establish a distinctive research niche to become a world-renowned leader in a field I both love and feel is important.

Dr Yijing Xie, Research Fellow & recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship
yijing xieraeg

Dr Xie says that currently there is a lack of effective ways to assess brain functions in real-time, particularly during brain surgery. During such a procedure, the surgeon must remove all cancerous tissue while preserving surrounding brain tissue and regions that serve important functions.

The current ‘gold standard’ is to perform functional brain mapping while the patient is awake and performing a specific task, but even a highly experienced surgeon using the latest surgical technologies will experience difficulties including prolonged surgery time and higher patient risk.

Dr Xie is looking into multi-spectral imaging which current evidence suggests that it can detect tumor fluorescence quantitatively while also revealing brain functions. But as this is currently implemented in 2D, Dr Xie will develop a compact 3D multispectral optical imaging platform that is specialized for use in the surgical environment.

At the end of the research programme, she will aim to have a working prototype with validated performance ready for onward translation to surgical testing.

Dr Xie says the technology will be highly targeted and will also be scalable and transferable to benefit many other research fields presenting similar challenges, within and beyond biomedical research.

When translated into clinical practise it will transform the current awake functional brain surgery into a safer and more effective surgery. More brain tumour patients will be eligible, and they will benefit from improved survival and importantly, quality of life after surgery. Reduced surgery time and risk will save NHS money.

Dr Yijing Xie

The project will generate IPs on the system design and reconstruction algorithms to facilitate exploitation by industry.

A leading medical device company has already shown interest in using this technology for the next generation intraoperative neuromonitoring system, with the market value estimated to be USD 9.03B by 2028 globally (Source: Vantage Market Research).

It is an immense honour for our School to have received the news of Yijing’s Fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering. Yijing’s success is a testament to our ethos of collaborative healthcare engineering research, public and private partnerships and of course our dedicated academic and professional staff. Yijing’s research is addressing a key clinical area and the RAEng Fellowship is an invaluable enabler ensuring the success of her work.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin FREng, Head of School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences

I am delighted to see the award of this prestigious fellowship to Yijing Xie. She is just the kind of innovator that this fellowship scheme is intended to nurture. I have high hopes for what she will achieve given this newfound freedom to follow her own vision.

Professor Jo Hajnal FREng, Professor of Imaging Science, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences and fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Yijing is an outstanding researcher and has been a driving force of innovation at King's but also in the previous institutions she worked at. The Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship she has secured is a strong recognition of her outstanding skills and leadership potential. I am delighted that Yijing chose King's as the most meaningful institution to deliver her research. The critical mass of internationally leading research in surgical and interventional engineering at King's will greatly benefit from Yijing's contribution.

Professor Tom Vercauteren, Professor of Interventional Image Computing and Medtronic/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair