11 September 2013 15:11

A new way of diagnosing skin cancer through changes in blood flow is being investigated by Lancaster University researcher Gemma Lancaster.

The Physics PhD student has found a new way of telling the difference between benign lesions and malignant melanoma by measuring changes in their respective blood vessels.

This could ultimately lead to a less invasive and quicker method of diagnosing skin cancer than taking a biopsy.  

Her research entitled “Diagnosis of malignant melanoma through identification of changes in blood flow dynamics” earned her the best poster prize at Lancaster University’s Postgraduate Conference. 

Gemma said: “We know that cancer cells need increased blood but this research looks at the dynamics of that blood flow and how it is regulated by the blood vessels.  This is different in normal skin compared with a melanoma so it could be another method of seeing whether an atypical mole on the skin could be cancerous.”

The theme of the conference was “Creation and Change” and it offered researchers from different disciplines the chance to share ideas and learn from each other.

Another Physics PhD student, Ezekiel Anyebe, impressed the judges by communicating his research on the ‘Growth and characterisation of InN Nanostructures’ to a non-specialist audience in only five minutes. 

His talk focused on ‘Semiconductor nanowires for highly efficient solar cells’, looking at the use of different types of material in solar panels.

He said: “The use of nanowires makes solar panels much more efficient and cost effective. It enhances absorption of solar radiation and significantly reduces the volume of active material needed which means the panels would need less than a quarter of the materials currently being used. The growth of nanowires on thin graphene further reduces the manufacturing cost of flexible solar panels”.

The Postgraduate Research Conference was organised by Graduate College with support from FASS and LUSU.