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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

Marcelo Saito Nogueira


Together with sponsor Meta, Tyndall celebrates the winners and finalists of the 2021 Postgraduate Publication of the Year.

Despite the continuous pandemic challenges, our students once again showed outstanding discoveries and results as part of their PhD projects, some even opening major new possibilities in their field.

Dr Fatima Gunning, Head of Graduate Studies at Tyndall, praised the entries, saying: "Year on year our students really showcase their outstanding contributions to Tyndall’s Research Excellence through the Postgraduate Research Publication of Year competition. This time, we noticed new entries from students who started their research during pandemic and lockdowns, which were quite disruptive, but their perseverance, endurance and team support paid off with excellent results! Once again we saw early stage PhD students submitting their exceptional publications, so special awards as Rising Stars for 2nd and 3rd years were also included! Congratulations to all!"


Marcelo Saito Nogueira

Marcelo Saito Nogueira


“Assessment of tissue biochemical and optical scattering changes due to hypothermic organ preservation: a preliminary study in mouse organs”

1. What encouraged you to submit your application to the 2021 Postgraduate Research Publication of the Year? 

I believe everyone carrying out research to generate technologies with potential to improve patient healthcare has the duty of increasing public awareness of such research. The 2021 Postgraduate Research Publication of the Year competition was one of the opportunities to do that, especially considering the potential novelty and impact of the work described in our publication resulted in me and my supervisor being invited to publish it on the Special Issue on Translational Biophotonics of Journal of Physics D. If the public and researchers are aware of our results, the developed technology may be adopted by companies faster and benefit patients earlier. This is especially needed for technologies in transplantation medicine, whose development is also influenced by public awareness of the importance of organ donation and preservation for successful transplants. Also, receiving more attention from companies interested in using the expertise of the Biophotonics team at Tyndall can benefit Tyndall, IPIC, as well as research centres and health institutions involved.
2. What inspired you to choose the subject of your paper? 

I would like to open the eyes of clinicians, the general public and industry to the opportunity of using light-based technologies to solve global challenges in transplantation medicine, such as objectively assessing factors influencing organ failure during transplantation procedures. Some of these factors involve organ preservation prior to transplantation. However, success of organ preservation is not well understood and can be influenced by many factors. One should study the influence of each and all of them to understand the best way to preserve organs. The question is: how to objectively assess the influence of each factor separately in the outcome of organ preservation? Ideally, one would consider using technologies which (1) do not depend on human interpretation, (2) can look at whether an organ is working or not, and (3) can give the clinician a fast response. This is not what happens in reality. The lack of such technologies still forces most clinicians to rely on subjective organ evaluation by palpating and visually inspecting organs prior to transplantation. The subjectivity of this evaluation can hinder finding what may be causing organ failure. I wanted to provide a potential solution for objective evaluation of organ function. Fortunately, light-based technologies have already been used to assess organ function in other contexts. Then, I decided to investigate whether these technologies could also be a solution in transplantation medicine... and here we are. 
3. What’s your paper about and how did you prepare for it? What role did research excellence play in your approach?

Briefly, my paper investigated the expected changes of 4 out of the top 5 most frequently transplanted organs upon reproducing cold organ preservation conditions. We have studied changes on the biochemical composition and structure of biological tissues when keeping organs at body temperature and the temperature used in their static cold storage. The publication also provided a comprehensive tutorial on how to use light-based technologies for future research and clinical practice.
Preparing my paper was taking the immediate next step to address: (1) what has been done in the field? In my case, that meant what challenges have been already addressed by clinical research and research using light-based technologies; (2) what has still not been addressed? For instance, most clinical research publications still focus on proposing new organ preservation methods or a better validation of previous methods, which does not help us to understand what is causing organ failures. However, studies evaluate only a few procedures and/or evaluation prior to transplantation is still subjective. Therefore, the immediate next step is proposing a technology for objective evaluation and assessment of the causes of organ failures; (3) what technology has potential to be commercialized faster? Given the facilities and expertise from Tyndall and IPIC, there is a big chance that light-based technologies developed and validated could be miniaturized and integrated into medical devices. Therefore, the technology we have used has higher chances to be coupled into medical devices sooner and increase changes of commercialization. With all this comes the societal impact and research excellence. Given the novel and impactful approach described in our publication, we could be research leaders in the area, as long as clinical studies are approved by Clinical Research Ethics Committees in reasonable time frames, and we can successfully collaborate with other institutions willing to help clinically translating our technologies.
4. The selection for Research Publication of the Year is extremely competitive. What is your advice for those aspiring for nomination next year?

My first advice is to not be afraid to try and to persevere in everything you do. The selection can be competitive, but you should apply if you are happy with your work and publication. You can learn a lot in the process. This learning will save you time when applying for funding proposals or jobs, as you will have thought clearly about what your contribution was to society and the research community. With this comes my second piece of advice, which is being clear about the novelty, the impact, and the significance of your work to the research community. To do this, I would recommend reading a lot from the beginning and identifying the gaps of current theories/technologies/applications which still need to be addressed. Identifying such gaps will make clear which are low-hanging fruits to be picked (and possibly your way to win the competition!).
5. What is the single most significant support Tyndall has been able to offer you in achieving your research goals? (Please provide any detail on additional supports that assisted? How has Tyndall enabled you to fulfil your potential in this regard?)

Tyndall and its openness on establishing collaborations with other institutions has given me the opportunity to work with professionals from many areas (not only in research), including my supervisors Prof. Stefan Andersson-Engels and Prof. Micheal O’Riordan. My special thanks to my supervisors for their expertise, support, and resources provided to carry out my research. The research would never happen without support from the biophotonics team at Tyndall/IPIC and collaborators. In terms of resources, Tyndall has offered the lab facilities and computer for my simulations of light propagation in tissues.

Research Publication Link

Marcelo Saito Nogueira; Michael Raju, Katarzyna Komolibus, Konstantin Grygoryev and Stefan Andersson-Engels, “Assessment of tissue biochemical and optical scattering changes due to hypothermic organ preservation: a preliminary study in mouse organs”, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, Volume 54, Number 37, 2021 (Special Issue on Translational Biophotonics).