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Education And Training

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Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering

City, University of London

Program Description

The Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering (RCBE) at City, University of London was founded in the mid-90s with the aim of pursuing research in the emerging field of Biomedical Engineering, a discipline that applies the principles of physics and engineering to the complex medical devices used in the diagnosis and treatment of the sick and injured. The Centre occupies state of the art laboratories and has built a global reputation, offering world-class facilities and expertise to researchers and collaborators including scientists, engineers and clinicians from around the world. Working in close partnership with leading hospitals and healthcare technology companies, researchers in the Centre develop medical devices, biosensors, and signal and image processing techniques for applications across a wide range of medical specialities, addressing patients’ and societal needs including breakthroughs in diagnosis, monitoring, treatment and prevention of disease.
Our shared vision is to develop novel medical technologies to address some of the main challenges in global healthcare including;
  •  the early non-invasive screening of cardiovascular diseases
  • non-invasive blood and tissue biochemistry
  • diagnostic and monitoring technologies in mental health
  •  technologies for improved clinical monitoring and management of neurodegenerative conditions
Our main areas of research are:
Biomedical Optical Sensing
The Biomedical Optical Sensing Group has over two decades of knowledge in the areas of tissue optics, haemodynamics, vascular mechanics, multi-wavelength photoplethysmography, static and dynamic spectrophotometry, in vitro modelling and chemometrics. This knowledge is applied to the design and development of novel optical sensors and medical instrumentation for use in a wide range of applications including pulse oximetry, tissue and organ perfusion, cerebral/muscle near infrared spectroscopy, tissue gas measurement and non-invasive monitoring of blood analytes and disease biomarkers.
The underpinning focus of the group’s activity is to elicit broad understanding of the physics of the light-tissue interaction applicable to optical path determination, spatial intensity distribution and propagation dynamics through biological tissue structures.   These models are validated by rigorous in vitro and in vivo experimental work using cardiovascular circuits and tissue phantoms to evaluate sensor designs. Specific areas of experimentation include evaluation and parametric characterisation of light sources, detectors, free optics and fibreoptic sensor systems, conventional spectroscopy studies on biomaterials, volumetric and directional photometry and spectrometry in scattering media.
The design of novel sensors for use in a wide range of applications is based on the data generated by these models.  Experimentation with novel optoelectronic materials enables technological advancements such as miniaturisation, reduced power consumption and improved biocompatibility of implantable sensors.  The advancements open new avenues of research and clinical application of non-invasive diagnostic technologies.
Optical and Impedance Spectroscopy
The Optical Spectroscopy Group is devoted to understanding the optical properties of biological media and tissue, with the aim of developing the next generation of multi-wavelength optical sensors for biomedical applications. The laboratory houses various spectroscopic instruments and techniques to conduct such work. This includes sophisticated UV-Vis-NIR and FTIR, fluorescence and flame photometry instrumentation, whilst expert techniques include fibre optic handling and dip-coating, and micro-volume sampling.  The work carried out involves in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo testing of concentration, and identifies the spectroscopic ‘signatures’ of various gases and analytes of interest. This serves as the basis of biosensor design and development for physiological monitoring or disease diagnosis. Instrument and sensor evaluations are often carried out on human volunteers and through clinical trials.
The Impedance Spectroscopy Group carries out blood analysis research, mainly towards increasing sensitivity to small variations of analytes, such as lithium, which is used extensively by bipolar patients. Impedance instrumentation research includes the use of FEM simulations (COMSOL) for the design and assessment of electrode topologies and fluidic channel designs, as well as design of circuits for improved sensitivity, impedance range and frequency range in application-specific solutions. Some of the instrumentation includes analogue electronic circuit design for waveform generation and differential output ac current sources, as well as mixed-signal design for multi-electrode adjustable topologies. Combining both optical and impedance spectroscopy allows spectra to be ‘cross referenced’ to detect specific low-concentration analytes with unprecedented sensitivity.
Biomedical Signal and Image Processing
The Biomedical Signal and Image Processing Group works on establishing novel and sophisticated computational and mathematical tools to deal with challenging biomedical data sets, such multi-dimensional data sets, as well as to integrate information from multiple biomedical modalities at different scales, i.e. from macroscopic levels to microscopic levels like histopathology and biometrics.
The group also utilises advance linear and non-linear signal processing techniques such as Time-Frequency Distribution (TFD), Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) etc., to extract features from biosignals, such as Electrocardiograph (ECG), Photoplethysmograph (PPG), and Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), that will provide useful physiological information related to the haemodynamic and cardiovascular state of a person.
The image processing activities of the group utilise open-source software ( and on-line repositories of cancer image analysis ( to produce specialised algorithms, in particular: Segmentation and Tracking of Immune Cells, Measurement of Microvascular Permeability, Tissue Texture Segmentation and Classification, Feature Selection for Multidimensional Data Sets, automated segmentation of vasculature and stenosis grading, multi-scale reconstruction of Electrical Impedance Tomography images. The group also promotes soft field imaging modalities as an alternative to the use of ionising radiation through the development of a unified theoretical framework for the Forward and Inverse problems.
Biomedical Instrumentation
Design of biomedical instrumentation is at the heart of our research activities. Medical devices must meet exceptionally high standards of reliability and precision under demanding conditions.  They must also be ergonomic, intuitive and adhere to rigorous standards of patient safety, accuracy and quality control. Devices, such as patient monitoring systems, are sometimes custom-made for specific projects, or flexible multi-channel monitoring platforms may be adapted to a specific application.  Our medical instruments are designed using a ‘top-down’ approach, where the medical application and needs of the patient are considered from the earliest stages of the design process.  Discrete and integrated circuits, power supplies, interfaces and housings may be designed and fabricated in house.  Novel sensor technologies are designed in the Centre and where necessary are mass-produced by our industrial collaborators.

Programs offered in: English

Duration & Prices

Start Date
Continual Enrolment
Continual, PhD Studentships 3-4 Years, Post Doc Positions 6 Months to 3 Years

Part time|Full time|Other

£4,500 (FT) Home/EU , £9,600 (FT) OVERSEAS
All Year, depending on available positions