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Warwick Engineering in Biomedicine (WEB)

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The School of Engineering has a strong reputation for research within the Biomedical Engineering arena. Eleven academic staff work exclusively in biomedical engineering, with a further fourteen in biomedical related fields.

The School of Engineering Biomedical Theme links to the Science and Technology for Health GRP.

Warwick's Global Research Priorities (GRP) responds through research to global challenges, to focus Warwick’s world-class, multidisciplinary research on key areas of international significance, by bringing together scholarly expertise from across faculties and departments.


Research Areas


Warwick Engineering in Biomedicine breaks down into 6 core areas of research:
  • Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology is the design of new biological parts, devices and systems, or the redesign of natural biological systems, in order to obtain new, improved or desirable functionality, (e.g., tumor-seeking microbes for cancer treatment). Academics from the School of Engineering are playing a leading role in the development of the Warwick Centre for Integrative Synthetic Biology (WISB http://wisb.warwick.ac.uk/) which seeks to bring together academics from across the University to collaborate on projects in this exciting new field. Together with the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, Warwick was recently awarded an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology, which will recruit its first students in 2014 (see http://sysos.eng.ox.ac.uk/synbiocdt/).

Find out more about Synthetic Biology from Prof Declan Bates in this video (opens in new window).

  • Medical Sensors and Diagnostics

The development of novel and disruptive sensor technologies that can be applied to the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases is a major strength within the theme– leading to new medical tools that can be deployed to reduce the time to treatment and achieve this at a much lower cost to the medical profession. Our team are experts to creating new sensors based on a range of different micro-structures and electronic properties applying a range of different detection modes. Important areas are the creation of novel ultra-sound systems, near-infrared imaging and chemical sensors/artificial olfaction. Research activity in this area is extensive, with projects focussing on kidney stones, colon cancer, tuberculosis, liver disease, reproductive medicine and metabolic diseases. The group works closely with the Warwick Medical School, UK NHS trusts (including University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire) and collaborators across Europe and the US.

  • Systems Medicine

Systems Medicine applies computational or mathematical models and techniques to questions of direct relevance to clinicians. The goals of Systems Medicine are to incorporate data from all relevant levels (biological, clinical and/or environmental) to develop (a) a multifactorial systems-level understanding of disease aetiology and (b) novel treatment strategies based on multiple dynamic interventions. Research in this area at Warwick focusses on a number of different diseases and pathologies, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and cystic fibrosis, in collaboration with clinicians at the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter.

  • Neural Engineering

Neural Engineering uses engineering techniques to both understand as well as repair/ enhance neural systems. Through studying such neural systems Neural Engineers are uniquely qualified to solve problems at the interface of living neural tissue. Information can be extracted, or inferred, from neural systems, from the cellular or ‘whole brain’ level – this information can be used for diagnosis (e.g. Detection of epilepsy), prognosis, communication (e.g. Brain-computer interfacing) or rehabilitation/ assisted living (e.g use of BCI for communication; seizure onset prediction). The field is through necessity very multi-disciplinary involving biomedical engineering, computational neuroscience, neurology, signal processing and even elements from robotics, cybernetics and computer engineering.

  • Systems Pharmacology

Systems Pharmacology is an emerging discipline, which connects systems biology (i.e. genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) to quantitative pharmacology (i.e. mechanism-based PKPD modelling) to obtain fundamental insights in the interactions between drugs and diseases. Recently, interest in this field has increased substantially. It is seen as a novel scientific approach to the design of (complex) therapeutic interventions to modify disease processes. The field of systems pharmacology is highly multidisciplinary, with contributions from (molecular) biology, bio-analytical chemistry, pharmacology, bio-informatics, engineering, mathematics and statistics.

  • Nanobioengineering

Nanobioengineering is a new interdisciplinary research paradigm which bridges biomechanics, nanotechnology, biomaterials and cell biology for developing next-generation of therapies and diagnostics. Specifically activity in the area at Warwick focuses on measurement of soft biological materials using advanced techniques such as nanomechanical tester and atomic force microscopy, and the application of nano-biomechanical and nano-manipulation techniques for engineering and characterizing mechanics and adhesions of cell and tissue. The group works closely with the Warwick Life Science School and the Medical School of King’s College London.