On this day: 21st May 2015

21st May 2015: Professor Eleanor Stride, winner of the 2014 Institution of Engineering and Technology A F Harvey Research prize, delivers her IET lecture.

Professor Eleanor Stride, from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded the prestigious prize for her work on microbubbles in targeted drug delivery, an innovation that aims to avoid the side-effects of current treatment for diseases such as cancer and stroke.

Professor Stride originally hoped to become a designer for Aston Martin after gaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University College London. However, while completing her PhD in ultrasonics, she became interested in imaging microbubbles for targeted drug use.

Microbubbles create a strong ultrasound echo in the bloodstream, allowing doctors to assess blood flow by imaging. In addition, drug- or gene-carrying microbubbles targeted to diseased tissue can achieve localised delivery of these potential therapeutics when controlled disruption is used to trigger the release of the microbubble contents.

Professor Stride’s research in micro- and nano-encapsulation led to her establishing her first spin-out company, AtoCap Ltd, which focusses on the delivery of antibiotics for chronic infections. Her team at the University of Oxford is also collaborating in research to exploit ultrasonic-activated microbubbles to improve non-invasive treatment of pancreatic and breast tumours.

Professor Stride became a Professor in 2014 and is a Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford. In 2016, she was recognised on the inaugural list of the 50 most influential women in engineering and was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2017.