Science and Engineering

Biomedical engineering and medical physics

Overview

What is biomedical engineering and medical physics?

Biomedical engineering and medical physics combines biology, medicine, engineering and physics to design and develop new equipment and methods that improve the quality of human health and life.

Practitioners in these fields design everything from surgical devices, prosthetics and artificial organs to systems for medical monitoring, radiation therapy, patient monitoring and diagnosing disease.

Biomedical engineers and medical physicists have developed life-saving technologies that have made enormous advancements in healthcare and the quality of people's lives.

Research

Our discipline comprises multidisciplinary researchers and educators who focus on clinical problems of the musculoskeletal system.  Our researchers aim to advance knowledge and technologies to ultimately help patients and physicians, with a focus and strength in discovering how:

  • advanced materials can replace and regenerate tissues
  • robots and smart devices can improve treatment
  • mechanics and biology influence each other
  • novel imaging technologies can be used for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease and treatment response
  • to best deliver radiation to optimise cancer treatment.

Rankings

Our research has made significant contributions to QUT's recent Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings. We received a 4 (above world standard) in biomedical engineering.

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Centres, institutes and facilities

Our researchers are based at a range of nationally and internationally-significant research locations, including:

We use cutting-edge facilities for conducting in vitro and in vivo studies at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Translational Research Institute and the Medical Engineering Research Facility.

We have infrastructure and expertise in quantitative medical imaging techniques such as MRI, CT and ultrasound, as well as laboratory techniques including SEM, AFM, and histology in the Central Analytical Research Facility.

Research groups

We collaborate on projects in specialised research groups across disciplines and institutions in:

Teaching

Our courses include:

We also offer an innovative research masters, in collaboration with partners in Europe, to train future leaders in the emerging field of biofabrication.

Projects

The Category 1 funded and major research projects we are currently leading are:

Antibacterial impact assessment of nanopillar surfaces on titanium implants

Leaders
Professor Prasad Yarlagadda, Associate Professor Hongxia Wang, Dr Indira Prasadam.
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Dates
2018-2020
Project summary

This project aims to further understand the bactericidal properties of nano-pillared/textured surfaces, onto orthopaedic implants by mimicking the nano-pillar structures derived from cicada wings by using Helium ion microscopy (HIM) and also Hydro Thermal techniques. The project also aims to study the physical mechanisms of the fracture of bacteria using numerical modelling.

This project will result in new generation implants with minimal bacterial infection that could result in cost savings to the Australian healthcare, improved quality of life in aged population, and may lead to the establishment of new implant industry sector in Australia.

Novel multiscale model to investigate mechanical properties of cartilage

Leaders
Professor Yuantong Gu, Professor Kevin Burrage, Associate Professor Travis Klein.
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Dates
2018-2020
Project summary

This project aims to develop a new multiscale model to investigate anisotropic and inhomogeneous mechanical properties of cartilage. The new model is proposed based on a new constitutive relation in the macroscale and a novel algorithm to obtain local stress distributions in the microscale as well as through rigorous experimental validations.

This model will be a powerful tool to understand cartilage mechanical properties. It will accelerate the design of mechanically viable artificial cartilage biomaterial, which will provide significant economic benefits and place Australia in the forefront of modelling and biomaterials.

ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing

Leaders
Distinguished Professor Dietmar Hutmacher, Associate Professor Travis Klein, Professor Yin Xiao, Professor Prasad Yarlagadda, Professor Mia Woodruff , Adjunct Professor Michael Schuetz.
Grant scheme
ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres
Dates
2017-2021
Project summary

The ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing will bring together leading researchers and industry to develop and translate key technology platforms for personalised treatments of challenging medical conditions, and provide the breakthroughs required to establish synergistic and innovative technologies needed for personalised therapies.

New class of intelligent robotic imaging system for keyhole surgeries

Leaders
Professor Ross Crawford, Dr Davide Fontanarosa, Dr Anjali Jaiprakash, Dr Ajay Pandey, Professor Jonathan Roberts .
Grant scheme
Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF)
Dates
2017-2020
Project summary

Current state of the art robot-assisted surgeries are mostly limited to open surgeries, and so far there is a lack of reliable vision and tracking system that can identify and track soft tissue and interfaces between soft and hard (bones) tissues intra-operatively.

This project is a step towards overcoming this limitation, as we aim to develop a new class of medical imaging system for minimally invasive surgeries by combining the latest advancements in miniature depth camera technology, deep learning algorithms and 3D-ultrasound imaging. Expected outcomes also include reduced training, acquisition and maintenance costs for hospitals as potential end users.

One shot three-dimensional reconstruction of human anatomy and motion

Leaders
Professor Ross Crawford, Professor Clinton Fookes, Emeritus Professor Sridha Sridharan, Professor Jonathan Roberts, Dr Anders Eriksson .
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Dates
2017-2019
Project summary

This project aims to accurately estimate 3D structure of non-rigid human anatomy. It will create dense 3D reconstruction techniques which can manage non-rigid human anatomy using only two-dimensional images from medical imaging devices (X-rays and video sequences) in one shot – from a single image.

This approach is expected to be used for the 3D visualisation of x-rays such as in clinical practice, human pose estimation, and 3D planning for orthopaedic minimally invasive surgery.

A high-resolution x-ray microtomography system for southeast Queensland

Leaders
Distinguished Professor Dietmar Hutmacher, Professor Christian Langton, Associate Professor Travis Klein, Professor Yin Xiao, Dr Roland Steck .
Grant scheme
ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities (LIEF)
Dates
2017-2018
Project summary

This project aims to establish a Scanco microCT 50 high resolution X-Ray microtomography system, to non-destructively visualise and quantitatively characterise complex samples, including advanced composites, tissue engineering constructs, biological tissues, minerals and fossils.

The project will enable progress in advanced composites, additive bio-manufacturing, physiology of biological tissues and palaeontology which will benefit Australian science. Through commercialisation the project could result in economic and health benefits to the wider Australian population and economy.

Dissecting the cell signalling cues for periodontal regeneration

Leader
Dr Yinghong Zhou
Grant scheme
NHMRC Early Career Fellowship - Peter Doherty Australian Biomedical Fellowship
Dates
2016-2020
Project summary

The project will first demonstrate that periodontal ligament cells have the ability to differentiate into osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and cementoblasts (tooth root cementum-forming cells), which can be enhanced by the activation of signalling cues (Wnt/β catenin signalling). This will lead to the development of a novel material with cell signal enhancing properties, and present a new treatment option to repair and regenerate the three-dimensional structures of the tooth-supporting tissues.

Development of a 3D culture model of triple negative breast cancer that mimics reality

Leader
Dr Laura Bray
Grant scheme
National Breast Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Dates
2016-2019
Project summary

Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for approximately 15 per cent of all breast cancers. They are challenging to treat because they are typically more aggressive and don’t respond to current treatments.

This project aims to upgrade the existing practice in culturing tumour cells by developing a more sophisticated, 3D culture technology to create experimental models that better reflect real breast cancer interactions, and have greater clinical relevance.

It will also identify key biomarkers that can predict the response to breast cancer therapy, and develop a model system to test patient biopsies to help determine if a cancer is likely to develop into metastatic form of triple negative breast cancer, and to individualise treatment programs.

Coupling an injectable gel and MSC microtissues to enhance cartilage repair

Leaders
Professor Ross Crawford, Associate Professor Michael Doran, Associate Professor Travis Klein, Professor Yin Xiao.
Grant scheme
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Dates
2015-2018
Project summary

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of pain and disability in Australia. This project aims to use a photo-activated hydrogel containing growth factors and stem cell-derived cartilage microtissues to repair cartilage defects. The gel and small diameter microtissues combination makes this innovative repair process compatible with less invasive and less costly orthoscopic surgical procedures. Effective cartilage defect repair will delay or prevent the onset of Osteoarthritis.

Student topics

Are you looking to further your career by pursuing study at a higher and more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research with us. Contact our staff to find out more about research opportunities, or take a look at our student topics.

Contact

School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

  • Level 7, O Block, Room 703
    Gardens Point