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Business and innovation

Warda Heetun – National Physical Laboratory

For her outstanding contributions to measurement science and establishing the world's first standard for quantitative nuclear medicine imaging.

Warda Heetun 2020 Technician Award winner

Warda is the most junior member of a team of six scientists working towards improving measurements in nuclear medicine.

Her career in physics started at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), where she completed a BTEC Level 3 in applied science, receiving a recognition award for the highest grade and her contributions liaising with the learning provider.

She supported a team of technical experts undertaking measurements of a non-ferromagnetic hip implant, leading to her final project ‘radio-frequency induced heating effects near passive implants’.

She applied statistical analysis and gained practical skills setting up an MRI birdcage and mixing of phantom composition.

She then became an assistant research scientist in the Force Group, where she quickly acquired the skills to become an authorised service provider for calibration services of force measurements.

She was also a support consultant for a medical device company by carrying out testing of a dry-powder inhaler and was awarded the NPL’s Bronze Award for going beyond her role expectations.

Whilst working she completed a BSc (Hons) in applied physics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and received an Achievement Award and first-class honours with her dissertation ‘Experimental Characterization of Thermally Activated Nylon6, 6 Artificial Muscle’.

Her project involved the manufacturing of different configuration coiled nylon springs by twist insertion to investigate the activation of the artificial muscle using resistive heating, acquiring skills in electronics and data acquisition.

Warda is passionate about the application of physics to medicine and in 2018 she was promoted to research scientist and joined the Medical Physics group, where she is responsible for quality control of the NPL’s multimodality SPECT/CT/PET nuclear medicine imaging system.

She maintains the day-to-day performance and reliability of the scanner to ensure the acquisition of high-quality data during experimental work.

She has already contributed to presentations at international conferences (Robinson, Ferreira, Heetun, Deidda, Denis-Bacelar, Fenwick, Wevrett, Establishing Traceable Nuclear Medicine Imaging Standards for Quantitative SPECT, ICRM 2019; Deidda, Thomas, Ferreira, Heetun, Forgács, Hutton, Thielemans, Robinson. Validation of SPECT-CT image reconstruction for the Mediso AnyScan SCP scanner in STIR, IEEE NSSC MIC 2019).

Warda’s passion for physics is demonstrated by her active contributions to science, being a member of the IOP, registered technician of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSciTech) and ex-president of the Physics Society at St Mary’s University.

She often attends IOP’s lectures and meetings, and in 2019, gave a talk at the Early Careers Fair to inspire others to pursue a career in physics.