Engineering Solutions for Health

Engineering Solutions for Health is in this context used as a broad term for the general field of engineering materials, devices, and systems that interact with biological systems. The profile is divided into four sub-fields.
Medical signals and systems is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology.
Bioimaging deals with the representation or reproduction of an object's form, structure, or function using a visual representation, i.e. in the formation of an image.
Biomaterials develops and uses novel materials to replace malfunctioning organs or support tissue growth, with the objective to be able to generate soft tissues that can be used for transplantation.
Finally, all the above mentioned sub-fields benefit increasingly from electronic processes and communication, which has given birth to the emerging field coined eHealth. Here, modern ICT is utilized to improve the quality of the healthcare practice to be more patient-oriented, efficient, and safe.
Read more about each one of our sub-fields below!

Medical signals and systems

In the field of Medical signals and systems, we are conducting research on different medical devices including bone conduction hearing, control of prosthesis, respiratory system, and electromagnetics-based methods for medical diagnostics and treatment.
Two of the electromagnetics projects involves diagnostics of breast cancer and stroke using microwave technology, and diagnostics in neuro intensive care – or in the ambulance – of intracranial bleedings following head trauma. We also explore the use of microwave technique for new application areas, and perform research in microwave based hyperthermia treatment of tumours in the head and neck region, as well as of brain tumours in children. Furthermore, we develop methods to create patient-specific models needed for the diagnostic and treatment planning algorithms.
Man-machine interfacing via direct skeletal attachment and neuromuscular interfaces is the most intimate coupling currently used in artificial limbs. In our research we pioneer these technologies along with the decoding of motor volition from bioelectric signals to intuitively control assistive devices such as prosthetic limbs, as well as for therapeutic purposes in neuromuscular rehabilitation using robotics and virtual environments.
Considerable work is done in the area of bone conduction hearing, describing how vibrations in the skull bone are perceived as sound. The main part of the research in this area is on hearing aids, and especially on the new implantable device BCI, which is now in a multicenter clinical study. Extensive studies on patient rehabilitation in terms of audiometry, patient satisfaction, and localization are in progress, and on MRI compatibility of the implant. Comparisons between the BCI and other bone conduction hearing devices are also in focus. Furthermore, a new audiometric transducer for threshold measurements is investigated.
Another interesting area concerns improvement of ventilation of neonatals with defective breathing. Work is also in progress on high-transition temperature superconducting quantum interference devices for a variety of biomedical applications including MEG in combination with ultra low-field MRI.
Research staff involved:
Professor Mikael Persson  
Professor Bo Håkansson
Professor Paul M. Meaney
Professor Tomas McKelvey
Professor of Practice Bengt-Arne Sjöqvist
Senior lecturer Ants Silberberg
Associate Professor Andreas Fhager
Associate Professor Thomas Rylander
Associate Professor Fredrik Edelvik, Fraunhofer Chalmers Center
Associate Professor Justin Schneiderman, MedTech West
Associate Professor Sabine Reinfeldt
Assistant Professor Max Ortiz-Catalan
Assistant Professor Hana Dobsicek Trefna
Assistant Professor Stefan Candefjord

Bioimaging

Here we are focusing on the development of image analysis methods ranging from biomolecular and cellular imaging to drug discovery and medical diagnostics, including cervical cancer screening, MRI for breast cancer and musculoskeletal sports injuries, x-ray CT for forensic identification of human dental remains, and detection and characterization of prostate cancer using multimodal magnetic resonance imaging and quantitative image analysis. Another focus is on microwave imaging with application to breast cancer, stroke, and pharmaceutical drug processing. To make this possible, we are focusing on the development and use of a combination of physical, mathematical and statistical modelling tools for processing and analysis of biomolecular, cellular as well as medical images.
Common denominators are
• the development, implementation and use of methods for processing and presenting medical, biomolecular and cellular images as well as
• the development, implementation and usage of computational resources for reconstruction, registration, segmentation, visualization, and analysis of 2 or higher dimensional data sets from various modalities, and
• the development, implementation and usage of methods to detect and quantify structures in medical images and image sequences.

We further have activities on molecular microscopy where we develop and apply a new generation of microscopy techniques (Fluorescence microscopy, CARS, SHG, THG, TERS etc), forming tomographic images of the distribution of biomolecules (lipids, carbohydrates, structural proteins etc) in soft and living samples by mapping labeled entities or via inherent molecular vibrations. Recent developments of uttermost importance are single molecule and high-resolution optical as well as electron-microscopy imaging, which complements medical imaging, where focus is rather put on advancement of techniques and processes to create images of the human body and its functions for clinical purposes. An integral part of the research activities is to develop novel mathematical and statistical methods for image processing and analysis.
Research staff involved:
Professor Fredrik Kahl
Professor Fredrik Höök
Professor Mikael Käll
Professor Mikael Persson
Professor Paul M. Meaney
Professor Peter Olsson
Professor Rolf A. Heckeman, MedTech West
Associate Professor Andreas Fhager
Associate Professor Mats Jirstrand, FCC
Associate Professor Marica Ericson
Associate Professor Annika Enejder
Assistant Professor Olof Enqvist
Assistant Professor Marta Bally
Assistant Professor Elin Esbjörner Winters
Assistant Professor Gavin Jeffries

Biomaterials

The field of biomaterials is highly multidisciplinary and encompasses the development, evaluation, and use of materials in contact with living systems, such as to replace or regenerate tissues and organs, as well as within medical diagnostics and biosensing, including the use of materials for pharmaceutical applications. A strong tradition at Chalmers has roots in the development and study of titanium surfaces for dental implant applications and synthetic polymers derived for soft tissue implants and medical device applications. Today, research and development activities are focusing on biopolymers and biomimetic materials and the study of their performance and interaction with biological systems in in vitro and in vivo models. Biopolymers derived from wood, starch and other renewable resources, or obtained from bacterial fermentation in bioreactor processing, are being evaluated for use as artificial blood vessels, cartilage, urinary bladders and muscle tissue engineering, for example. Lipid membranes with specific functionalization are developed and evaluated for use in controlling stem cell growth and differentiation, drug delivery vehicles, biosensor interfaces and as cell membrane mimics for studying material-cell interactions. Various nanostructured and nanomaterial coatings, including calcium phosphates that mimic the mineral component of bone, are being exploited to enhance bone growth at the implant-tissue interface. In pharmaceutical technology we study fundamental physical principles of the effect of structures in biopolymer gels, films, solid dispersions and solid states on properties like swelling, dissolution, adhesion and drug release.
Research staff involved:
Professor Paul Gatenholm
Professor Fredrik Höök
Professor Sven Engström
Associate Professor Julie Gold
Associate Professor Martin Andersson
Associate Professor Anette Larsson
Assistant Professor Marta Bally

eHealth
The field covers improvement, innovation and transformation of the healthcare sector utilizing modern ICT as a fundamental tool. This leads to a more patient-orientated, efficient, distributed, connected and safe healthcare of a higher quality. The research in the field is carried out by two centres individually and in partnership; MedTech West (where Signals and systems is part) and Centre for Healthcare Improvement (CHI).
The research involves a number of different projects. In many of them a central basis and common denominator is to acquire insight and take part in designing and promote introduction of solutions where eHealth can improve prehospital care for example ambulance care, improve treatment compliance in for example chronic diseases, increase the patients’ perceived safety, improve the scope for personalized care, alert about deteriorating health on an individual patient level, obtain acceptance among users (both care providers and patients), and introduce eHealth based disease management systems into standard treatment procedures.
Research staff involved:
Professor of Practice Bengt-Arne Sjöqvist
Professor Bo Håkansson
Professor Mats Johansson
Professor Bo Bergman
Senior lecturer Lars Medbo
Senior lecturer Ants Silberberg
Senior lecturer Andreas Hellström, Scientific Director CHI (Centre for healthcare improvement)
Senior Lecturer Carl Wänström
Associate Professor Ida Gremyr
Associate Professor Henrik Eriksson
Assistant Professor Hendry Raharjo
Assistant Professor Leif Sandsjö, MedTech West
Assistant Professor Stefan Candefjord
Researcher Ruben Buendia
MD Svante Lifvergren, Scientific Director CHI

Published: Mon 18 Jun 2012. Modified: Fri 14 Oct 2016