The Bioengineering arm of RIfI has direct access to the cross-disciplinary expertise of the Bioengineering Science Research Group which integrates the world-class research activities of six academic staff, one RCUK Academic Fellow, several postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students. The Group has significant expertise in applying novel computational and experimental techniques for bioengineering applications and has also established long-term collaborations with other leading groups in Europe and in the USA. This includes surgeons, biologists, mathematicians, computer scientists and other engineers.
Small and large multinational companies have been enjoying the research and consultancy services of the group over the years and numerous partnerships have been in place for over seven years since the creation of the group.
The Bioengineering arm of RIfI can offer a wide range of research and consultancy services in bioengineering and more particularly in the following areas:
Computational techniques have particularly focused on finite element modelling and its application in simulating adaptive and other time-related processes in the human body (bone/skin/ligament remodelling, wound healing, biomaterial failure and wear, etc).
A wide range of pre- and post-processing (IDEAS, Mimics, Amira, SolidWorks, Rhino, ABAQU/CAE and Patran) and modelling/analysis (Mathematica, Matlab, Fluent, MARC, ANSYS, ABAQUS/Standard/Explicit and PAM-CRASH) software applications are used. The Bioengineering Group use state of the art dual/quad-core workstations as well as large Linux-based computing clusters for large-scale multiphysics simulations. These models allow us to assess the performance of different prosthesis designs in specific patients. We have developed numerical methods to simulate long-term failure scenarios (bone cement fatigue, surface wear, bone remodelling) and are able to simulate complex interactions between bones at joints such as the knee and shoulder. Combined with probabilistic models, these methods have the ability to provide a holistic description of device performance and system response.
- Explore the behaviour of orthopaedic devices from the coupon level to fully implanted constructs, to improve their clinical performance from a patient's, surgeon's and manufacturer's point of view.
- Apply probabilistic methods to fully characterise the effect and relative significance of variability (e.g. bone geometry, implant alignment) on medical implant performance.
The School of Engineering houses the experimental equipment needed for this analysis, including confocal, epifluorescent and scanning electron microscopes, an atomic force microscope with nanoindentation module, micro-computed tomography, micro-mechanical testing equipment, servohydraulic and screw driven testing machines, as well as passive monitoring equipment (acoustic emission, thermoelastic stress analysis, digital image correlation).
- Experimental analyses of biological tissue at the cellular, tissue and organ levels during normal physiology and disease (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, wound healing)
- Delineate the response of biological tissues to mechanical stimuli (mechanobiology) using experimental and computational approaches.
- Develop tissue engineering approaches for regenerating biological tissues lost through disease or injury.
- Ability to formulate advanced material models describing the multi-physics (mechanical/biochemical/electrical…) behaviour of biological tissues.
- Implementation of mathematical models of biological tissues into large-scale commercial finite element software applications to simulate a wide range of bioengineering problems.
- Develop particle manipulation techniques within microfluidic systems to facilitate colloid processing, controlled acoustic particle and agglomerate manipulation.
- Design microfluidic chambers and channel networks integrating bio-sensing techniques to better understand cells and tissues within the microenvironment.
- Integrate microfluidic design, particle manipulation and sensing technologies to develop analysis platforms and Lab-on-a-Chip devices for biomimetic, biomedical device and tissue engineering applications.