The University of Newcastle, Australia

Unexpected partnerships in engineering and biomedicine

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Engineers are leading the way in finding surprising solutions to complex problems using interdisciplinary thinking.

Unexpected partnerships in engineering and biomedicine

How can we build robots that act like living organisms? What will it take to develop an artificial pancreas or create intelligent medical nanotechnologies?

New intellectual spaces for interdisciplinary thinking are encouraging engineers to work with bioscientists to find surprising solutions to such complex problems.

At the University of Newcastle (UON), engineers have a long history of involvement with biomedical research, including developing genetic markers for Alzheimer’s disease, smart assistive devices for stroke rehabilitation and medical image processing, and carrying out artificial pancreas work and logistics and planning for health care.

Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UON, Rick Middleton said that engineering is increasingly being seen as having value beyond the technical and is now being applied to broader areas, including the life sciences.

“UON is working towards an enterprise collecting multiple faculties in STEMM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine, including plans for new multidisciplinary spaces,” Professor Middleton said.

“We have also revised our undergraduate programs to encourage cross-disciplinary specialisations to be taken along with any engineering degree.”

Aimed at tapping into global thought leadership, UON is hosting a public lecture in November by Professor Frank Doyle, Dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, titled ‘Convergence: unexpected partnerships in engineering and biomedicine’.

Professor Doyle applies systems engineering principles to the analysis of regulatory mechanisms in biological systems.

He describes convergence as “the merging of distinct technologies, industries or devices into a unified whole.”

His presentation will explore new pathways and opportunities that result from not only the convergence of systems engineering with the life sciences, but also the emerging opportunities that result from embedding engineering into design, business, law, arts and humanities.

Find out more and register here to attend Professor Doyle’s lecture, which will be held on Thursday 3 November at 6.15pm at 45 Watt St, Newcastle.