David Delpy
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK

Dave Delpy is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK.

He graduated from Brunel University in 1970 with a degree in Applied Physics, following which he spent a two year period in industry at Darchem Ltd in Darlington, UK. He subsequently joined the Medical Physics and Bioengineering Department at University College Hospital, London on an MRC studentship. Between 1976 and 1986 he worked as a Medical Physicist in University College Hospital. In 1986 he was appointed a Senior Lecturer in the department (now part of University College London (UCL)) and in 1991 became Hamamatsu Professor of Medical Photonics and the Head of Department. In September 1999 he was appointed a Vice Provost of UCL, responsible for the faculties of Engineering Sciences, the Built Environment and Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and in 2004, Vice Provost for Research. He joined the EPSRC in 2007. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, Academy of Medical Sciences, Institute of Physics, Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine and the Royal Society of Arts.

His research is in the broad area of physiological monitoring, with a particular interest in the monitoring of preterm infants. Over the years he has worked on catheter tip blood pressure sensors, catheter tip oxygen, carbon dioxide and pH sensors; and transcutaneous oxygen and carbon dioxide sensors using electrochemical, mass spectrometric and gas chromatographic techniques. He subsequently worked on the early application of 31P NMR Spectroscopy for the study of brain metabolism in neonates and in 1983, the group he collaborated with reported the first in vivo human 31P brain spectra, measured in preterm infants. The group subsequently described for the first time the phenomena of delayed metabolic brain damage following an hypoxic/ischaemic insult, and later reported the significant reduction in damage that can result from brain cooling.

His group is probably best known for its developments of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and imaging (NIRI) techniques for the study of tissue oxygenation and metabolism. Following Frans Jobsis’s 1977 report of NIRS in the cat brain, the group developed a NIRS system capable of measuring changes in haemoglobin oxygenation and cytochrome oxidase redox state in the neonatal brain. This instrument formed the basis of the NIRO1000, marketed by Hamamatsu Photonics. Subsequent collaborations with Hamamatsu led to a series of commercial NIRS systems (the NIRO 500, 300, 200 and 100). The group first described the “time of flight” method for quantifying optical pathlength in tissues, enabling absolute quantitation of concentration changes, and subsequent techniques involving physiological manoeuvres which enabled absolute quantitation of tissue blood volume and flow. The NIRI work led to the development of a 32 channel “time of flight” system for imaging both the neonatal brain and the breast. Over this period the group also led the development of diffusion based models of light transport in tissue and the inverse problem of image reconstruction from NIR data. A detailed description can be found at: http://www.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/research/borl/.