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#HCSweek19 - Bioengineering, Innovation & Research Hub (BIRCH)

The BIRCH team is a group of healthcare scientists who provide scientific and research support to a wide range of services within UH Bristol, North Bristol NHS Trust and other institutions.  BIRCH provides support for the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and clinical ultrasound services.  This support is essential to ensure that the machines are functioning as they need to be in order for the clinicians to be able to generate accurate images that they use for patient diagnosis and treatment such as early pregnancy scans (ultrasound) or brain scans (MRI).

Regular checks are carried out on each ultrasound and MRI scanner in use and also when a new scanner comes into the hospital so this work keeps the team busy.  We also assist with procurement of new devices, quality control, image optimisation, equipment safety and the development and adoption of new techniques.  An area of particular focus is the scientific computing support required for acquiring and analysing the images on the scanners - there are always opportunities for being able to improve the process so that it is faster, more accurate and efficient for the clinicians so that patients don't have to spend quite so much time being scanned.

BIRCH also contributes to a range of teaching and training activities and hosts PhD, MSc/MRes and project students as well as supporting the CRiC Bristol research centre.  There are occasional opportunities for work experience students as well.  We participate in a broad range of research projects in the fields of ultrasound, MRI and nanotechnology, varying from basic laboratory projects to clinical innovations and we take a lead in developing the Divisional Research and Innovation strategy.

One thing is for sure - there is never a dull moment working as a Healthcare Scientist in Birch!