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Advanced Materials in Medicine

A stylised electronic circuit board map is overlaid on a graduated purple to blue background.

Bioelectronics

Working with novel materials, we move them towards components in complete devices which may sense a physical system, or provide electrical stimulation of cells or tissues. This theme involves close collaboration with materials research to make the sensitive instrumentation required for using materials as a sensor and electrical actuation.

This crosses a wide number of discipline areas with an overarching driver in personalised healthcare: data driven treatment delivery using novel materials for sensing or for drug release; non-pharmacological “bioelectronic medicine” where nerves are stimulated directly to provide alternative therapeutic routes. In addition, biosensor diagnostics and medical devices based on nano-chips, nanowires and nano-channels are expected to be a major component in the next generation of electronics and healthcare diagnostics with great potential in particular for detecting disease biomarkers at a very low concentration.  

A major focus is on closed loop devices – where the actuation isn’t only on or off, but changes dynamically based upon simultaneously sensed data. This necessitates low latency signal processing and analysis together with the advanced materials, and provides interfaces to the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to provide insights into health data.