At the annual Dies Natalis, the anniversary of the University, the Professor de Winter Prize 2017 was presented to Ainara Garde for her research on early accurate diagnosis of childhood illnesses by affordable and easy-to-use means.
Garde received the award for her article ‘Respiratory rate and pulse oximetry derived information as predictors of hospital admission in young children in Bangladesh’ that was published in the journal BMJ open, an open access medical journal addressing research questions in clinical medicine, public health and epidemiology.
Healthcare workers in developing countries have to rapidly identify critically ill children early in the course of their disease. Ainara Garde, leading a team from different disciplines and four countries, developed an instrument that enables frontline health workers with limited training to rapidly detect the need to be hospitalized
A common feature of most treatable childhood illnesses is a lack of oxygen (Hypxaemia). To measure this risk factor the project used a finger sensor, the Phone Oximeter. It collects data in a smartphone-app for monitoring a person's blood oxygen saturation and heart rate. This information is combined with a measurement of the respiratory rate. Ainara developed a predictive model that identifies abnormal data easily and automatically calculates a risk score which gives an indication that a child is serious sick.
The results of Garde’s research have immediate societal and medical impact in poor and middle-income counties by saving lives. The procedure was tested in a hospital in Bangladesh.
Ainara Garde is assistant professor in the Biomedical Signals and Systems group at the faculty of Electrical engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at the Institute MIRA, University of Twente. During her PhD in Spain she focused on characterizing breathing disorders and during her postdoctoral research in Canada she focused on applying this characterization to implement commercially viable mobile health solutions. Garde has published more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, and her research have the potential to be commercialized, so there are great chances for economic impact.
The Professor De Winter Award is an international publication prize for female top talents. The award is intended as recognition for excellent scientific research and as a stimulus for the further development of a scientific career. It consists of a sum of € 2,500 and a certificate and is funded from the Professor De Winterfonds, facilitated by the Twente University Fund.