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Research Group: Bioengineering Science

Currently Active: 

Head of Group: Professor Martin Browne Bioengineering covers the application of engineering mechanics in the human body. The Group has significant expertise in applying novel computational and experimental techniques for bioengineering applications.

Group Overview

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.

Research themes

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

Contact us

Engineering Sciences Unit

Engineering and the Environment
Building 5 (Eustice)
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Senior Administrative Officer: Sue Berger
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2871
Administrative Officer: Katherine Day
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2841
Administrative Officer: Gwyneth Skiller
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 5568



Orthopaedics tribology testing

Equipment for tribology testing of orthopaedic devices and materials available at Southampton:

  • 10-station wear simulator: for assessing wear performance of total and resurfacing hip replacement devices
  • Southampton proprietary hip comparator (using reciprocating pendulum test technology)
  • For small-scaling testing: Miniaturised benchtop tribology simulators, for recreating physiologically representative loads and kinematics in materials POD testing for hip/knee biomaterials

Other standard characterisation test equipment is also available for conventional materials performance testing. 

The following facilities are ‘shared' facilities with other research groups: 


Postgraduate opportunities



Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Mamadou T BahVisiting Research Fellow
David BarrettVisiting Academic
Neil W BressloffProfessor of Biomedical Engineering & Design
Martin BrowneHead of Bioengineering Science research group
Michele CarboniPostgraduate research student
Dario CarugoNew Frontiers Fellow
Andrew J ChipperfieldSenior Lecturer
Jim CoatesPostgraduate Research Student
Laura Jane CooperResearch Fellow
Keith DalyResearch Fellow
Alex DickinsonLecturer
Nicholas EvansAssociate Professor in Bioengineering
Yin Ki (Kiki) FongPostgraduate research student
Sammer-ul HassanResearch Fellow
Markus O HellerProfessor of Biomechanics
James HeppellPostdoc in Engineering and the Environment
Liudi JiangProfessor of Materials and Electromechanical Systems
Orestis L KatsamenisResearch Fellow
Maria Fabiola Leyva-MendivilResearch Fellow
Georges LimbertAssociate Professor
Alex MarterPostgraduate research student
Daniel McKay FletcherPostgraduate research student in Bioengineering
Xize NiuAssociate Professor
Simone PerazzoloPostgraduate research student
Katy RankinResearch Fellow
Tiina RooseProfessor of Biological and Environmental Modelling
Chloe Grace RosePostgraduate research student
Philipp SchneiderAssociate Professor
Bram G SengersLecturer
JunFen Shi Research Fellow
Joseph SmithProfessor of Biomedical Engineering
Joshua SteerPostgraduate Research Student
Rahul TareLecturer - Musculoskeletal Science and Bioengineering
Andrew TaylorVisiting Associate Professor
Mark TaylorVisiting Professor of Bioengineering Science
Philipp J ThurnerVisiting Academic
Christopher John WoodsKTP Associate
Xunli ZhangReader, Bioengineering Group

    Related Projects

    Related ProjectsStatusType
    3D printing small implantsActive
    Multiple femur finite element analysis of the resurfaced femoral headActive
    Abrasion-corrosion of cast cocrmo in simulated hip joint environmentActive
    Application of novel acoustic trapping perfusion bioreactor to generate 3-D co-culture system for modelling tumour microenvironment interactionsActive
    Application of ultrasound standing wave fields for augmentation of cartilage bioengineering strategiesActive
    Assesment of short-term knee arthroplasty function using clinical measure, motion analysis and musculoskeletal modellingActive
    Assessment of ankle arthrodesis with internal fixation using finite element analysisActive
    Blocking blood supply to starve cancerous tumoursActive
    Characterisation and computational modelling of acrylic bone cement polymerisationActive
    Cochlear implant device failuresActive
    Cochlear implantation on both sides of the age spectrum: in the very young and in the ageing populationActive
    Combined musculoskeletal and finite element modelling of total hip replacement to account for surgical and patient related factorsActive
    computational simulation of long term cement mantle failure in total hip replacement Active
    Designing biomaterials for tissue engineering and tissue regenerationActive
    Determining the optimal mechanical requirements for early intervention devices in the kneeActive
    Developing Hip Replacements: Simulations and Experimental MethodsActive
    Development and assesment of embedded acousitc emission technology of non-descructive assessment of cemented hip replacement constructsActive
    Development and evaluation of a new device for the clinical measurement of tissue blood flow and tissue oxygenationActive
    Development of a new knee replacement - DormantDormant
    Dynamic modelling of the effect of physical activity on glycaemic control in people with type 1 diabetesActive
    Effect of total knee replacement design and surgical technique on patello-femoral joint performance: an explicit finite element studyActive
    The effects of substrate mechanics on keratinocytes and epidermal stem cell behaviour at wound sitesActive
    EnDuRE: Hip Resurfacing Implants for Durability and BiocompatibilityActive
    Enhanced pre-clinical assesment of total knee replacement using computational modelling with experimental corroboration and probabiliActive
    The evidence-base for different auditory processing management strategies, programmes and softwareActive
    Experimental and analytical techniques for the assessment of in vitro implant migration in polymer foam modelsActive
    Experimental and Theoretical Investigations of Lymphatic Fluid Flows and ImmunologyActive
    Feature extraction in clinical dataActive
    Finite element analysis of a cementless proximal femoral stem in relation to early stem stability and interface bone strainActive
    Finite element analysis of the proximal implanted tibia in relation to implant losseningActive
    Finite element modelling of biological connective soft tissue - application to the ligaments of the human kneeActive
    Finite element simulation of surface wear in total knee joint replacementActive
    How does the stiffness of a wound affect how it heals?Active
    Imaging and modelling of the interference fit in cementless joint replacementActive
    Investigating effects of estrogen on trabecular bone mineralisationActive
    Large scale, multi femur computational stress analysis using a statistical shape and intensity modelActive
    Large scale population based finite analysis of cementless tibial tray fixationActive
    Local strain and microdamage assessment during micromechanical testing of single bovine trabeculae and cortical bone tissueActive
    Looking after our skinActive
    Micromechanical aspects of fatigue failure in conventional and carbon nanotube-reinforced acrylic bone cementActive
    Modelling our tiny uninvited guestsActive
    Modelling the Lymphatic SystemActive
    Modelling the mechanical behaviour of the interface between prosthesis and boneActive
    Multi-parameter computational and experimental investigations into the robustness of cementless total hip replacements Active
    Multiscale image based computational modelling of plant-soil interactionActive
    MXL project – Improving Joint SurgeryActive
    Nanoparticles for energy saving glazingActive
    National audit of bilateral cochlear implants - DormantDormant
    Optimising plant P use for arable farmingActive
    Organic nanoparticles for drug delivery – size mattersActive
    Probabilistic finite-element analysis of the uncemented total hip replacement Active
    Rapid Diagnosis of Allergy to Drugs using a Microfluidic PlatformActive
    Sensing Skin HealthActive
    Simulation of the passive and active motions of the replaced knee-effect of mal-alignment and ligament strainsActive
    Simulation of tissue differentiation in uncemented hip implants based on a mechanoregulatory hypothesisActive
    Structural integrity assessment of novel polymer based knee implantsActive
    Telemedicine in cochlear implantsActive
    The Temporal Processing and Dichotic Listening of Musicians versus Non-MusiciansActive
    The application of probabilistic methods for the assessment of hip implant performanceActive
    The computational assesment of mechanical fixation faliure in cemented total hip arthroplastyActive
    The effects of ageing on hearing and auditory processingActive
    The science and engineering of shape-shiftersActive
    Top-down processes and auditory processingActive
    Understanding the physics of wet shavingActive
    Validation of a spatial-temporal soil water movement and plant water uptake modelActive
    Wear Assessment and Forensic Analysis of Failed Hip ReplacementsActive
    X-ray Computed Tomography and image-based modelling of plant roots and nutrient uptakeActive
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