Husein Perez

  • Husein PerezHusein Perez is Andulisian, originally from Granada, Spain. He joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at Oxford Brookes in 2011. His thesis title is 'Discrete Mathematical Models for Electrical Impedance Tomography'.

    How did you hear about Oxford Brookes University?

    I learned about Oxford Brookes University through a visit by a group of Brookes students to my city. Following the students' visit I did some online research and was impressed by the quality of the University, being named the best modern British university for a number of years.

    What attracted you to Oxford Brookes University to conduct your research?

    Oxford Brookes University offers a wide spectrum of high end research, particularly in applied mathematics. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences also has strong affiliations with industry.  My supervisors, Dr. Cristiana Sebu and Professor Khaled Hayatleh, are both widely known through their active research in Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentations, and through their quality of publications in applied mathematics for medical applications.

    What were you doing before?

    Prior to my research degree, I worked with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 7 years as an IT Specialist.  My passion for science and research however motivated me to pursue a PhD.

    How easy did you find it to settle into the research environment?

    At Oxford Brookes, research students in their early days are supervised closely.  The academic tutors maintain a continuous monitoring so the student does not divert away from his studies. This provides the student with confidence and helps to advance their research. 

    Research resources offered by Oxford Brookes, through the library, access to the University of Oxford libraries, and through providing free access to most of the well-known journals, are great for research students.

    Tell us about your research project.

    Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is a non-invasive, portable, low-cost technology developed to image the distribution of electrical properties, conductivity and/or permittivity, within an object from measurements of electric currents and voltages on its surface. Since different materials display different electrical properties.

    EIT has important applications in medicine (lung function monitoring, detection of pulmonary emboli, monitoring of heart functional blood flow, breast and skin cancer detection), in geophysics (detection of underground minerals, detection of leaks in underground storage tanks, monitoring flows of injected fluids into the earth, exploring of underground resources of water, and monitoring of volcano activities), in industry (industrial process monitoring, detection of corrosion and of small defects in metals: cracks or voids).  

    Researchers at Oxford Brookes University in collaboration with the EIT group at University of Mainz have been working on the development of an alternative technique for breast cancer detection based on electrical impedance imaging. The research is mainly devoted to the design, construction and testing of a novel and optimized electrical impedance mammographic sensor which meets all requirements for CE (European Conformity) certification and to the development and adjustment of a computationally efficient image reconstruction algorithm which could be used to detect the size and the location of breast tumours in real-time. 

    Breast cancer is routinely detected by palpation, X-ray mammography and ultrasound imaging with sensitivity rates of up to 90%; the diagnoses, however, yield rather unspecific results. Only one in five biopsies of suspicious lesions leads to a malignant histological diagnosis. Since in vivo studies have discovered a difference of three times or more in the specific electrical conductivity between healthy and cancerous tissue, EIT can be used as an aid to improve the specificity of the diagnosis in detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages of development. Research is therefore aimed at developing alternative techniques in the field of breast imaging. To date, EI mammography has raised only moderate interest because of its high computational demands and practical issues: errors in electrode positions or boundary shape, high and uncontrollable contact impedance of the skin.

    To achieve clinical acceptance, theoretical developments of reconstruction methods should be closely connected with laboratory experiments and studies on real data. My research addresses this need by contributing to the design of a new sensing head for the mammographic sensor with higher spatial resolution and by developing an efficient 3D reconstruction algorithm which will enable us to detect smaller and deeper tumours and, hence, improve the specificity of our results.

    What do you enjoy about being a research student?

    The great thing about being a research student is the fact that one can contribute knowledge to the betterment of humanity.  

    What do you think about the research training offered at Oxford Brookes?

    Research training and techniques are extremely important in any project. To this end Brookes offer a variety of training courses. We also have visitors and trainees from different parts of the world who seek out our expertise in the various fields of research.   

    What are your future plans? 

    I want to continue my research into breast cancer and dedicate any knowledge learnt to the saving of lives.