Case study

Changing Lives: From Bolton to Boston

09 Mar 2017

University of Bolton student Maeve Geary swapped Bolton for Boston last year when she travelled to the US city to conclude her PhD studies at one of the world’s top pediatric medical centres.

Maeve moved to Boston to begin working with the Simulator Programme (SimPeds) at Boston Children's Hospital, which is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

She began her PhD at the University of Bolton in September 2014, looking at how special effects could be used to increase the level of realism in medical training. Specifically, Maeve has been exploring whether increasing the realistic look and feel of mannequins can impact training and trainees’ ability to learn.
This area of research resonates well with the SimPeds team, who entered into a unique partnership with award-winning Hollywood special effects company Fractured FX to create ultra-realistic models of patients' anatomy for surgical and medical training.

Maeve, age 30, completed her undergraduate degree in Visual & Special Effects at the University of Bolton. She credits the SFX department at the University as critical in supporting her throughout her journey, in particular with her idea for the PhD.

She said: ‘One interesting point has been that since I have been here the advisors and mentors have encouraged me in formulating my PhD to actually create an addendum on how you go from doing a practical subject, like this, and taking it into an academic realm. I don’t think there has been any Special Effects PhDs before and I’ve changed the pathway from a thesis based PhD to a practical portfolio based PhD. Hopefully students from the University of Bolton, as the Special Effects department expands, will look outside of the film and television industry and actually see there are other ways in which to apply those skills.’

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