Student Maeve Geary is swapping Bolton for Boston to conclude her PhD studies at one of the world’s top pediatric medical centres.

Maeve leaves Bolton next month 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 with us 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 just this fall announced a first of its kind partnership with award-winning Hollywood special effects company Fractured FX to create ultra-realistic models of patients’ anatomy for surgical and medical training.

Maeve Mixed Martial Arts

Maeve, who completed her undergraduate degree in Visual & Special Effects, said: ‘The SFX department at the University were critical in supporting me throughout my journey, in particular with my idea for the PhD.

‘The opportunity to now move to Boston and work with the SimPeds team at Boston Children’s Hospital is huge for me.

‘The doctors, researchers, engineers and designers are at the forefront of innovation in medical simulation. There is nowhere else with such specific knowledge and experience.

‘The prospect of completing my PhD in collaboration with SimPeds is amazing – greater than my wildest dreams.’

Said her supervisor, Professor of Engineering Analysis and Design, Dr Peter Myler: ‘Maeve’s work will further develop the emerging research at the University of Bolton in the areas of simulation related to Biomedical and Clinical Engineering. It will also enable co-operation with one of the world’s foremost pioneering teams in this developing area.

‘We are looking forward to welcoming her back in two years’ time and further developing this prestigious link.’

Maeve will now have to give up her life in Bolton, including running the University’s Mixed Martial Arts Society which she founded after discovering the sport during her part-time job as a bouncer.

‘I used to be a bouncer for quite a few years in Manchester and then I started working on the doors in Bolton,’ said Maeve.

‘My first exposure to it came when I was working in a nightclub and they were holding a Mixed Martial Arts event. When I saw it I thought “I’d really like to try that”.

‘I joined the Salford Mixed Martial Arts club where I did a fair bit of training and even participated in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu completion.

‘It was there where I met Sam who I brought in and is now a coach at our society.’ Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is the fastest growing sport in the world encompassing disciplines from various martial arts and Olympic sports, such as boxing, kick-boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, taekwondo, wrestling and judo.

Maeve Mixed Martial Arts 2

The weekly class held in Bolton One now boasts 30 devoted attendees and has included talks from the University’s Sports Rehabilitation lecturers on weight training.

‘There’s a combination of people doing it for fitness and for MMA,’ said Maeve.

‘We had originally separated the two classes into female self-defence and male MMA but the girls wanted to drop that pretty quickly, they wanted to do MMA too and enjoy the full contact aspect.

‘MMA athletes are some of the fittest in the world, they have to be well rounded and the ground game particularly, is like chess.

‘The amount of thinking and foresight required is incredible and takes an awful lot of brain power. I think that compliments a student quite well.’

Whilst Maeve will be heading for pastures new, coach Sam Burke has big plans for the MMA society.

‘I want the society to continue to grow and become a recognised club at the University,’ said Sam.

‘Maeve did a charity boxing match in September and since then two of our students have been inspired to do the same charity competition in March.

‘I compete semi-professionally and we’re trying to set up a varsity match between Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Bolton.’

‘I hope that we can begin to be involved in charity events and a university league and if it takes off the University of Bolton even hosting an event!’

For anyone wishing to take part and experience Mixed Martial Arts, sessions take place on Thursdays between 4.30pm and 6.30pm in Bolton One sports hall.






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