Videos > Anna Wojna - How helium makes lungs visible

About the talk:

Anna Wojna is revolutionising the possibility of diagnosing lung diseases through her work on imaging lungs using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and polarised noble gases. Her research will make it possible to perform a non-invasive diagnosis of lung diseases at an early stage of their occurrence – something that simply hasn’t been possible before.

Recorded during: TEDxKraków 2012

About the speaker:

When not sailing or painting, Anna Wojna is a PhD student at the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science at the Jagiellonian University, and her dissertation involves viewing the lungs using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the help of polarized noble gases (3He and 129Xe). As part of her PhD she’s building a polarizer (it's not something that comes with an instruction manual!) which will prepare xenon atoms to be used in the study of lungs.

What's so exciting about the method Anna is developing is that it represents a massive improvement over the current methods used for lung imaging, which are either ineffective or harmful in the long-term, and they often miss the earliest stages of lung cancer, for example. The method being pioneered by Anna and her colleagues could allow for much earlier detection of abnormal changes in the lungs, including tumors. This multidisciplinary combination of atomic physics, medicine and nuclear magnetic resonance methods will make it possible to perform safe, non-invasive diagnosis of lung diseases at a very early stage.

In addition to revolutionising lung imaging, Anna also actively promotes physics through participation in the annual Science Festival in Kraków and the Science Night. She is the website administrator of her research group, where you can find out the latest  on the progress of her work on lung imaging using polarized Helium and Xenon.

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