Saskia van Heumen: TU Delft Best Graduate 2022

News - 22 November 2022

Today, at the TU Delft Best Graduate Award Ceremony 2022, eight recently graduated engineers presented their research and results of their excellent master thesis. Ir. Saskia van Heumen, graduate of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE), received the prestigious title TU Delft Best Graduate 2022. For her graduation research, Saskia developed a method to accurately image lymphatic vessels in patients.

Saskia will start her doctoral research at the Amsterdam UMC in January 2023. Focussing on the diagnostics of lung cancer using bronchoscopy, a tube with a camera attached to the end which helps you see the lungs from the inside. It will help doctors make better diagnoses.

“Winning the TU Delft Best Graduate Award is the cherry on the cake. Considering all the great Best Graduate nominees, I didn’t expect to win at all. Without the support of my friends and family, I couldn’t have done it.”

Saskia van Heumen

Winner TU Delft Best Graduate 2022

Technology is helping the medical world progress and it is an important motivating factor for Saskia van Heumen, who graduated cum laude at the end of 2021 from the Faculty of 3mE. Her research into using LED photoacoustics in medical imaging brought the medical world a step further. 

Prof. Rob Mudde, Vice Rector Magnificus/Vice President Education, and Chairman TU Delft Best Graduate Jury: “Saskia’s work is a wonderful example of the contribution clinical technicians can make to improve patient outcomes. It is convergence in practice, and it also really embodies our mission of creating impact for a better society.”

Saskia’s work is a wonderful example of the contribution clinical technicians can make to improve patient outcomes. It is convergence in practice.

Prof.dr. Rob Mudde

Vice Rector Magnificus / Vice President Education

Better operations with LED photoacoustic imaging

In her thesis, Saskia developed a method to precisely visualize lymphatic vessels in patients. This will enable precision surgery that will restore quality of life for patients with severe lymphedema. 1 in 7 women in the Netherlands will develop breast cancer. A large fraction of these women develop lymphedema after chemotherapy, impacting their use of their arms. 

Prof.dr. Gijs van Soest, head Invasive Imaging Erasmus Medical Centre, and Saskia’s graduation supervisor: “Saskia literally started with an empty lab and concluded with a rich patient data set acquired in an innovative imaging study. She is a remarkably versatile scientist and technical physician, someone who can write computer code and perform meticulous data analysis, but also interact with patients. Her impeccable organization and collaborative spirit enabled her to do an unbelievable amount of work. She can move mountains.”

Saskia literally started with an empty lab and concluded with a rich patient data set acquired in an innovative imaging study.

Prof. dr. Gijs van Soest

Head Invasive Imaging Erasmus Medisch Centrum and graduation supervisor

Saskia literally started with an empty lab and concluded with a rich patient data set acquired in an innovative imaging study.

Prof. dr. Gijs van Soest

Head Invasive Imaging Erasmus Medisch Centrum and graduation supervisor

Eight winners

During the TU Delft Best Graduate Award Ceremony, organised by Delft University Fund, all eight Best Graduates - one from each Faculty - were put in the spotlight. These excellent engineers all received exceptionally high grades from the examination board for their graduation research. 

Read the stories of all Best Graduates 2022 below

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