April 2014

UCD Diagnostic Imaging Success at the European Congress of Radiology 2014

Sat, 26 April 14 17:00

Reflecting its major European leadership position in radiography, the UCD Diagnostic Imaging group was well represented at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) which was held from the 6th to the 10th March 2014 in Vienna, Austria.  The UCD delegation gave a large number of oral and poster presentations, winning several prizes and commendations including best scientific presentation in the radiographer category by Dr Louise Rainford and rising star awards by several of our student presenters.  UCD staff hold important leadership positions within the conference organising committees and are the lynch pin in several European research collaborations.  UCD Diagnostic Imaging also featured heavily in ECR Today, the daily congress newspaper with a circulation of 4,000 and was among the top ten influencers on conference-associated social media.

We report here a flavour of some of the contributions by UCD Diagnostic Imaging staff and students which serves to highlight the group’s major international profile in both education and research and include:

  • Conference Leadership
  • UCD Staff Presentations & Awards
  • European Research Leadership
  • Higher Education Network in Radiography Education
  • UCD Student Presentations 

Conference Leadership

The European Congress of Radiology is a trend-setting, dynamic and service-oriented congress, well-known as one of the most innovative meetings within the scientific community, embedded in a unique and inspiring ambience. The ECR represents the medical specialty of radiology throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.  This annual congress attracts radiologists and radiographers not only from Europe but internationally for what is the largest Radiology Conference in Europe with in excess of 23,484 delegates from 130 countries in attendance this year. 

With over 1,500 presentations across 343 sessions, the conference is a major logistical challenge.  The ECR comprises a Congress Committee, a Programme Planning Committee, and 17 Scientific Subcommittees which pull together a stimulating and thought-provoking programme each year.  Mr Jonathan McNulty, (Head of Teaching and Learning, UCD Diagnostic Imaging) chaired the Scientific Subcommittee for the category of Radiographers. 

UCD Staff Presentations

Louise Rainford + Jonathan McNulty + Michelle O'Connor at ECR 2014

Several of the UCD Diagnostic Imaging staff and Doctoral students were invited to speak across a number of themes in the Postgraduate Educational Programme, including:

Child Protection Issues: Raising Awareness Among Medical Imaging Professionals

  • Professional Responsibilities: An International Perspective (Dr Michaela Davis)
  • Risk communication in paediatric examinations: Mr Jonathan Portelli (UCD PhD Student / Lecturer at the University of Malta).

Innovative Approaches to Educational Enhancement : Teaching and Assessment

  • Educational challenges for radiographers  (Mr Jonathan McNulty)

How Important are State-of-the-art Displays to Radiology?

  • Is a smartphone all that is required?  (Dr Rachel Toomey)

Evidence-based Practice in Medical Imaging: a Tool to Improve the Quality of Care

  • Justification and optimisation in medical imaging: (Ms Joana Santos, UCD PhD Student / Lecturer at the Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Coimbra, Portugal)

Best Scientific Presentation

Dr Louise Rainford (Head, UCD Diagnostic Imaging) was awarded best ECR Scientific Presentation (Radiographers Category) for her presentation of a European collaborative research study investigating paediatric cardiac interventional radiation dose levels (D. Catania, , L.A. Rainford, , M. Pasquato, , L. Masterson,, S. Foley.)

The research presented involved three clinical centres comprising Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (Dublin), the San Donato Centre (Milan) and Great Ormonde Street Hospital (London). Interventional Cardiac Radiography Clinical specialists from the three centres collected radiation dose data for commonly performed paediatric cardiac interventional procedures. This data was subsequently reviewed to identify the potential for reductions in radiation dose to both patients and staff by modifying technique and exposure parameters applied during imaging.

This work is on-going and demonstrates the positive impact collaboration across European centres can achieve.  AITRI, the Association of Italian interventional radiographers with principal AITRI collaborators Diego Catania and Marta Pasquato visited UCD in the early stages of the study and the research was co-ordinated and supported by Dr Rainford and Dr Shane Foley (Lecturer, Diagnostic Imaging).

Ms Liz Masterson, (Radiography Service Manager) and Ms Veronica Maguire (clinical specialist in the cardiac angiography suite) at OLCHC assisted with data collection locally. In Great Ormonde Street Hospital, Ms Clare Mc Claren and Michelle O Connell liaised in the research activity.

Louise is no stranger to this award as it had been won in the past two years by members of her research group.  University of Malta students Dr Francis Zarb (2012) and Mr Jonathan Portelli (2013) were supervised by her.  

European Research Leadership by UCD Diagnostic Imaging

Dr Rainford is on the management team for the Higher Education Network for Radiography in Europe (HENRE) initiative. Part of her role is to promote research development in the profession of Radiography within the European Federation of Radiography Societies (EFRS).  In 2013 Dr Rainford also initiated and co-ordinated two other collaborative projects, these involved researchers in Portugal, Malta, Denmark and Slovenia. Both these projects were presented at ECR 2014.

  1. An investigation into the application of optimised CT protocols for head examinations across clinical centres in Malta and Denmark. 1F Zarb, 3S Holm, 2LA Rainford (1Malta, 3Denmark, 2Dublin).
  2. A European collaborative investigation into the impact of additional copper filtration upon dose and image quality for adult chest examinations. 1NMekis, 3LA Rainford, 1T Starc, 2G Paulo, 3S Foley, 2J Santos (1Ljubljiana, 3Dublin 2Coimbra).


 UCD Diagnostic Imaging Radiography ECR 2014 Scientific Presentations

In total 14 scientific presentations originated from UCD Diagnostic Imaging. The research involved collaborative research involving universities and professional groups in Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Denmark, the United States, the UK and Italy.

  1. A European collaborative investigation into the impact of additional copper filtration upon dose and image quality for adult chest examinations. N Mekis, LA Rainford, T Starc, G Paulo, S Foley, J Santos: Slovenia, Dublin, Portugal.
  2. Determining the value of non traditional approaches to conventional radiographic imaging of neonates in the post mortum setting. NP Burke, JP McNulty, N Pelletetier, T Grgurich, R Lombardo, B Hennessy, G Conlogue:  Dublin, Hamden CT/USA.
  3. Decision making and variation in radiation exposure factor selection by radiographers: an eye tracking study. S Darcy, LA Rainford, R Toomey: Dublin.
  4. An investigation into the impact of lead shielding application on radiographic image quality during lumbar spine examination of obese patients. J Lowe, E Cronin, LA Rainford: Dublin.
  5. The development of diagnostic accuracy and search pattern behaviour in the interpretation of chest radiographs. BS Kelly, LA Rainford, EC Kavanagh, R Toomey: Dublin.
  6. Optimisation of paediatric head computed tomography examinations: an experimental and clinical approach. J Santos, S Foley, G Paulo, LA Rainford: Dublin, Portugal.
  7. Pyschophysical evaluation of CT image quality using human observers and software analysis. F Zarb, LA Rainford: Malta, Dublin.
  8. An investigation into the application of optimised CT protocols for head examinations across clinical centres in Malta and Denmark. F Zarb, S Holm, LA Rainford: Malta, Denmark, Dublin.
  9. Do radiographers inform parents? An investigation into disclosure of radiation risks in paediatric CT in Ireland. K Foley-Friel, LA Rainford, ML Butler: Dublin.
  10. Risk factors leading to coronary heart disease within the Maltese population: further factors for consideration. K Borg Grima, LA Rainford, P Bezzina, D O’Leary: Malta, Dublin.
  11. A European collaborative research study investigating paediatric cardiac interventional radiation dose levels. D Catania, LA Rainford, M Pasquato, L Masterson, S Foley: Italy, London, Dublin.
  12. Suppression of the CT beam hardening streak artefact using predictive correction on detector data. JG Stowe, KM Curran: Dublin.
  13. Best single-slice CT location to measure visceral adipose tissue in children. M O’Connor, J  Ryan, S Foley: Dublin
  14. Neuroimaging in dementia: a national survey of non-radiology specialists, radiologists and radiographers in Ireland. ML Butler, A Ciblis, J Durkin, A Bokde, P Mullins, D O'Neill, JP McNulty: Dublin, Gwynedd/UK


Desiree O'Leary + HENRE Delegates at ECR2014

Several UCD Diagnostic Imaging staff played key roles in the delivery of an evidence-based practice seminar during the HENRE (Higher Education Network for Radiography in Europe) meeting on Thursday 6th March 2014.  Dr Rainford led the seminar and Mr John Stowe and Dr Marie Louise Butler assisted in facilitating group work on the day. This event was attended by colleagues from across Europe from academic institutions delivering Radiography Degree programmes.

The event was co-ordinated by Dr Louise Rainford, as part of her role on the HENRE management team within the EFRS (European Federation of Radiography Societies). Dr Terry Barrett from UCD Centre for Teaching and Learning was the invited speaker for the interactive EBP seminar. The seminar was deemed a great success.  Group discussions and the sharing of EBP material on the HENRE eforum were seen as hugely beneficial to all those attending and an important repository of knowledge for those who could not attend.

Stage 4 Radiography students Chole Sweetman and James Harding represented Irish Radiography students at a parallel student session and presented their discussion outcomes to the HENRE members after the EBP Seminar.

UCD Student Presentations

As previously reported, our students were also well represented and among the award winners at the ECR 2014 and related events.  The ECR2014 is attended by over 1,400 students from across Europe and there is considerable competition for the top 15 Rising Star awards.  This year two of our Student Summer Research Award (SSRA) students were invited to present at ECR2014.

UCD SSRA Students Brendan Kelly & Sarah Darcy present at ECR2014

UCD Radiography graduate and now UCD Graduate Entry Medicine student, Mr Brendan Kelly added to his 2013 SSRA Gold Medal success by taking a coveted Rising star award and finishing in runner up place in the overall competition. This tremendous achievement arose from his expertly delivered presentation entitled:

The academic/student partnership: the ideal combination for developing teaching/learning packages. (Tattersall A, Ennis R, Ryan B, Creane D, Kelly B, Last J, Giles S.)

Brendan also presented the subject of his SSRA research to a radiology audience during an Interstitial lung disease, lung function and infection Scientific Session in a presentation entitled:

The development of diagnostic accuracy and search pattern behaviour in the interpretation of chest radiographs. (BS Kelly, LA Rainford EC Kavanagh, R Toomey).

A second 2013 SSRA participant, Sarah Darcy presented her eye tracking research project entitled Decision making and variation in radiation exposure factor selection by radiographers: an eye tracking study. (S Darcy, LA Rainford, R Toomey).

Both Sarah’s and Brendan’s presentations were well received by the large audiences which included UCD Diagnostic Imaging staff and students in support of the presenters. Our congratulations to both students for their professionalism while presenting at this international conference. We hope the experience they gained will be beneficial as they progress in their medical careers.

Social Media Leaders

Social media discourse has become an established and increasing feature of modern scientific meetings.  ECR2014 was no different with 3,262 conference tweets over the four days by 640 participants receiving over 7.5 million impressions (source: Symplur).  Irish delegates at ECR2014 reported strong visibility of @UCDMedicine and @mcnulty_J (Dr Jonathan McNulty) among the top 10 conference tweeters.  Not content to simply moderating sessions and make presentations, Jonathan was also the conference’s top tweeter.


Overall, ECR2014 can only be described as another tour de force by the UCD Diagnostic Imaging group.  The multiple contributions by staff and students are a fitting tribute to their growing international reputation as Europe’s leading Radiography centre.