Ms Giulia Core graduated cum laude from her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), and she then studied for a T.I.M.E (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) MSc in Biomedical Engineering, as a double degree between Politecnico di Milano and Lund University (Sweden). Giulia is now in her fourth year of her PhD studies at the University of Glasgow, and she is supervised by Dr Julien Reboud and Professor Jonathan Cooper.

Giulia Core received her Mercia Medal and £1,000 bursary from Warren East, CBE with Master Engineer Raymond Joyce. [image courtesy of Mark Witter Photography]

Giulia works in the field of Point-of-Care (POC) Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases in low-resource settings, where she merges technical aspects of microfluidics and bioassays with her longstanding desire to develop new technologies to alleviate the challenges faced by under-served communities in low- and middle-income countries. Her research reduces the waiting times for the diagnostic test results without requiring sophisticated equipment, and empowers underserved communities to access diagnostics effectively, resulting in less morbidity and thus improved education and work productivity. Giulia developed new biological sample processing methods to work with larger volumes (from water, milk, or urine) and new strategies for drying labile reagents within cartridges to enable long-term storage, into low-cost disposable devices. All these strategies aim at improving the user-friendliness and sustainability of point-of-care devices to facilitate use by untrained personnel. She has recently validated the dried reagents in an in-field study in Uganda, demonstrating the potential impact of her work on the health of children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Giulia is an extremely driven and motivated researcher, as evidenced by a prestigious award from UKRI and MITACS to work in a word-leading research group at McMaster University (Canada). From a similar motivation to enable sustainable practices, she explored enzyme-free bioassays for sustainable diagnostic devices to enable easier reagent storage on disposable diagnostic devices. While preparing for this application, she realised that the environmental impact of single-use POC devices in the field has been neglected and is generally overlooked in literature. Therefore, she delved into understanding the environmental impact of her research and setting up this new research agenda in the group, by seeking and developing completely new collaborations.

Outside of her research, Giulia advocates for sustainability and diversity in research. She currently serves as a Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) officer in the University of Glasgow new facility in the Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre. She also organizes events for women in STEM and inspires young students as a STEM Ambassador. Giulia is an outstanding researcher with a commendable work ethic and dedication.

The Mercia Award is made to a student for a postgraduate paper describing how engineering techniques are being used for the advancement of medical treatment and provides a medal and bursary towards the cost of a taught or research programme of postgraduate studies in Medical Engineering.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of poverty.