Saskia van Heumen has won the Prof. Dr. G.P. Vooijs Award for her final research project “LED-BASED PHOTOACOUSTIC IMAGING OF THE LYMPHATIC VESSELS”. This prize is awarded for the most clinically relevant final research project in the Technical Medicine programmes at the University of Twente and Delft University of Technology and the associated Medical Centres in the Netherlands. She was presented with the Vooijs Award 2021-2022, which includes a cash prize of 1,000 euros, at the 2023 Technical Innovation in Medicine (TIIM) conference.
Saskia van Heumen receives the award for her final research project in the Master’s programme in Technical Medicine at Delft University of Technology and the Plastic Surgery department at Erasmus MC. Roughly a quarter of patients with breast cancer, for which an operation or radiotherapy is needed, suffer damage to the lymphatic system, resulting in an accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissue. Lymphedema is a condition that has a considerable effect on the patient’s quality of life. Severe lymphedema can be treated surgically; it requires accurate imaging of both the lymphatic vessels and the veins in the affected limb. Saskia developed a method of photoacoustic imaging to get a picture of the lymphatic vessels of lymphedema patients. She succeeded in completing this technically and clinically demanding research with great attention to detail. Her research is extremely promising in the context of the treatment of lymphedema patients.
The award is named after Professor G.P. Vooijs and was awarded for the tenth time. Peter Vooijs was Medical Director of the MIRA research institute at the University of Twente, as well as UT’s scientific director for Technical Medicine. Prof. Vooijs always emphasised the value of clinical research, and he put countless hours into tirelessly supervising clinical internships. In doing so, he laid the foundations for the clinical relevance of the Technical Medicine programme in the broader scope of the medical arts. Eight Technical Medicine alumni were nominated for this year’s award. The jury selected the three best nominees. In addition to Saskia van Heumen, these were Harry Vaassen and Hille Toorenvlied.