Introduction to Biomedical Engineering.
Oxford is a leading centre for medical research in the UK, and we collaborate with clinicians and medical researchers who are dealing with a huge range of issues in human health.
The work of this group encompasses both clinical and pre-clinical research (cancer, cardiology, surgery, women's health). Work on breast and colorectal cancer is based on x-ray, MRI, ultrasound and the fusion of data from such images. The development of 2D and 3D functional image analysis techniques for quantifying disease progression and regression as well as organ function constitutes one of the major areas of research.
The Biomedical Signal Processing Group has built up a great deal of expertise in the last 15 years in the development of signal processing algorithms for medical problems. These include techniques for feature extraction and selection, data visualisation, classification, and regression and, more recently, data fusion. The Computational Health Informatics (CHI) Laboratory focuses on (i) very-large scale data fusion, from genomics to patient-worn sensors, and (ii) extensions for affordable healthcare in developing countries.
Having been traditionally perceived as a diagnostic modality, ultrasound is rapidly emerging as a most useful tool for non-invasive therapy and drug delivery. Novel therapeutic applications being explored within BUBBL include non-invasive tumour ablation by High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (in close collaboration with the clinical HIFU Unit at the Churchill Hospital), acoustic filtration of blood components, and targeted drug delivery and activation by ultrasound in the context of cancer therapy.
Modelling plays a key role in interpreting physiological phenomena. Work in this area focusses on areas such as fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, cell motility and transport phenomena, which play a central role in a number of clinical and biological applications, ranging from drug delivery to the onset of stroke. Frequently, this is done through a combination of advanced signal/image analysis and a range of mathematical models, ranging from the micrometre scale to the whole organ.
Orthopaedic conditions affect the body's mechanical system of muscles, bones and joints, giving rise to pain and loss of function, severely affecting daily activities. Building on the success of the mechanical analysis of this system in advancing orthopaedic healthcare there is ongoing work to develop an understanding that integrates the complex interaction of mechanics and biology at the cell and tissue level with knowledge of the mechanical demands of locomotion at the body and limb scale. Additionally, bio-reactor technologies are being developed to enable bone, cartilage, tendon and skin culture to grow, with the ultimate aim of bulky tissue growth from stem cell cultures and the development of novel monitoring techniques. A further area of interest is the study of cryopreservation and vitrification to preserve living cells and engineered tissues, in order to ensure their off-the-shelf availability to clinicians.