Our computational work is particularly focused on finite element modelling to simulate time-related and adaptive biological processes. We use a wide range of pre- and post-processing (IDEAS, MIMICS and Patran) and analysis software (MARC, ANSYS, ABAQUS and PAM-CRASH) to generate models of human bones and joints from computed tomography data. These models allow us to assess the performance of different prosthesis designs in specific patients. We have the capabilities to generate specimen-specific FE models from computed tomography images and have developed numerical methods to simulate long-term failure scenarios, for example bone cement fatigue, surface wear and bone remodelling.
We also have significant expertise in experimental analysis of biological and engineered biomaterials at the cellular, tissue and organ levels. We are interested in the response of precursor cells to mechanical stimuli in developing tissue engineering approaches to enhance the regeneration of biological tissues in vitro. We are also interested in characterising matrix material properties of healthy and diseased tissues and the correlation of these differences to changes in composition and ultrastructure. We have expertise in the manipulation and handling of particles and cells, as well as characterisation using lab-on-chip technologies.
In 2008, a state-of-the-art bioengineering laboratory facility was established to support the main research activities of the Group. The £500,000 development, funded as part of the University’s strategic thrust in bioengineering, has four main suites for cell culture, tissue characterisation, microscopy and fabrication of lab-on-chip devices. The development has included major investment in equipment, including an atomic force microscope (with a nano-hardness stage) and an epifluorescent microscope. The laboratory provides an excellent platform for expansion of research in the areas of mechanobiology and sensors in biology.
Our research themes fall into four distinct categories:
- Performance assessment of orthopaedic implants
- explore the behaviour of orthopaedic devices to improve their clinical performance from a patient's, surgeon's and manufacturer's point of view
- apply probabalistic methods to fully characterise the effect and relative significance of variability (eg bone geometry, implant alignment) on medical implant performance
- Mechanobiology and applications in regenerative medicine
- experimental characterisation of biological tissue at the cellular, tissue and organ levels during normal physiology and disease (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis)
- 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
- Plant bioengineering
- modelling of plant soil interaction
- modelling of plant and crop growth
- x-ray CT scanning of plant root growth
- optimisation of plants and soil amendments in changing climate
- Microfluidics and fluid flow modelling in biological systems
- development of particle manipulation techniques with microfluidic systems to facilitate colloid processing, controlled acoustic particle and agglomorate manipulation
- design of microfluidic chambers and channel networks integrating biosensing 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-chip devices
- modelling and homogenisation of fluid flow and drug delivery in the circulatory system
- modelling of lymphatic development, lymphangiogenesis and function
- modelling of tissue fluid balance and immune