Seminars for Biomedical Engineering

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Pain, learning, and technology-based treatment approaches.

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Ben Seymour, University of Oxford
Date: 21 May, 2021
Time: 15:30 - 16:30
Location: Zoom

Pain is an extremely useful sense, providing a sensory signal that warns us about impending tissue damage. What makes this an especially powerful sense is its ability to drive learning: allowing us to learn from painful mistakes to avoid harm in the future; and after an injury, shaping the way we change our behaviour to maximise protection and encourage recuperation. In the brain, the organisation of the pain systems seems to reflect its core role as a learning and control signal, and in my talk I will outline some of the computational and neurobiological findings that speak to a hierarchical organization of control systems. A central facet of this is the way in which the system tunes the perception of pain - termed endogenous modulation - to maximise the effectiveness of learning. However, it also seems likely that the learning processes that protect us after injury may make us susceptible to chronic pain, and I'll discuss evidence to support a role of brain learning mechanisms in clinical pain groups. As a corollary, however, this may provide insight into how learning-oriented technologies could help patients recover from chronic pain.

Past Events

Developing the rehabilitation technology of the future: Sir Jules Thorn Centre for Co-Creation of Rehabilitation Technology

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Andrew Kerr, Biomedical Engineering, University of Strathclyde
Date: 20 April, 2021
Time: 13:30 - 14:30

The global prevalence of severely disabling conditions is increasing (WHO).  Rehabilitation can improve functional capacity and quality of life when it is applied intensively,  the current workforce is, however, totally inadequate to provide evidence-based levels of rehabilitation in most countries, including the UK.


For nearly 60 years the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Group at the University of Strathclyde has developed and researched world leading rehabilitation technology, measurement techniques and clinical interventions related to disability, many of which are now routine in clinical practice. We and others have been developing advanced rehabilitation technologies to enable a model of rehabilitation at scale in which technology is used to enable the user to drive and manage their own rehabilitation. We understand that despite evidence of effectiveness these advanced rehabilitation technologies are not always cost effective, user friendly or widely available, limiting their adoption.

With an initial focus on stroke survivors, our co-creation centre will employ a novel, user-centred, research model coupled with our engineering and rehabilitation expertise to develop new, scalable, rehabilitation technology and associated processes; an approach we can then apply to other user groups. The value of enabling effective, community based, rehabilitation has never been higher, particularly given the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The effects of the virus are increasing the need for rehabilitation services, while also preventing patients, user groups and carers from accessing support from health professionals in the usual settings due to lockdown and health and safety measures.

Direct plasmonic detection of circulating tumor DNA in colorectal cancer patients

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Giuseppe Spoto, Università degli Studi di Catania Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche: Catania, Sicilia, IT
Date: 24 March, 2021
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

Standard clinical protocols for evaluating tumour profiling are usually based on tissue biopsy, which consists of sampling cells from the human body using special needles or surgery. Tissue biopsy constitutes a significant barrier for easy and frequent monitoring of cancer patients and is subject to limitations, including the difficulty in accounting for tumour cells heterogeneity. In a liquid biopsy, biological fluids are instead sampled to monitor the level of cancer biomarkers available in bodily fluids such as peripheral blood and blood-derived products such as plasma and serum. The detection of nucleic acid biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and patient follow-up based on liquid biopsy represents a challenging task for current biosensing platforms. Recently, several methods for detecting blood cancer mutations have been proposed, generally relying on multi-step and PCR-based, time-consuming and cost-ineffective procedures. PCR suffers from artefacts generated by sample contamination and recombination between homologous regions of DNA. Efforts have been made to identify innovative PCR-free protocols for DNA detection. Most of such protocols exploit strategies for signal amplification based on the use of enzymes or metallic nanostructures. In particular, gold nanoparticles have been used to achieve the ultrasensitive detection of DNA. Possibilities offered by nanoparticle-enhanced surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRI) in the detection of non-amplified human genomic DNA and DNA freely circulating in human blood will be discussed in the context of applications to cancer diagnosis based on liquid biopsy. By exploiting a liquid biopsy approach, we developed an ultrasensitive nanoparticle-enhanced plasmonic method for detecting attomolar tumour DNA in the plasma of colorectal cancer patients. The assay does not require the extraction of tumour DNA from plasma and catches it in volumes as low as 40 mL of plasma, which is at least an order of magnitude smaller than that required by state of the art liquid biopsy technologies. The assay was proven in plasma from CRC patients and healthy donors, and full discrimination between mutated DNA from patients over wild-type DNA from healthy volunteers was obtained, thus demonstrating its promising avenue for cancer monitoring based on liquid biopsy.

The presented work is part of the ULTRAPLACAD Horizon 2020 project (project n. 633937) activities. 




Giuseppe Spoto is a Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Catania. He is also an Executive Committee member of the Biostructures and Biosystems National Institute (INBB). He received his PhD in Chemical Sciences from the University of Catania. His primary research focuses on the development of innovative detection methods and assays. Plasmonic biosensing and microfluidics are today used in his lab to design new assays to detect biomarkers freely circulating in the blood of cancer patients. His research has been primarily supported by grants from the European Commission and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), and he is the author and co-author of over 100 journal articles and book chapters. Giuseppe acted as the scientific coordinator of the ULTRAPLACAD (Ultrasensitive plasmonic devices for early cancer diagnosis) Horizon 2020 project, cited as an example of what Europe does for cancer patients in the European Parliament portal “What Europe does for me”.

Deeper and gentler: probing cells and tissues mechanics by light

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Silvia Caponi, Istituto Officina dei Materiali, Italian National Research Council, Perugia, Italy
Date: 14 January, 2020
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 375

Special seminar, hosted by Massimo. 

Effects of polymer characteristics and conformation on complex flow behavior of polymer solution

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Ruri Hidema, Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, Kobe University.
Date: 19 November, 2019
Time: 15:00 - 16:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

The seminar related to dilute solution rheology and microfluidics will be composed of two parts.

The first part is the observation of sodium hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid Sodium salt, Na-HA) solution in planar abrupt contraction-expansion microchannels to discuss the effects of polymer flexibility and entanglement on elastic instability. As the rigidity of Na-HA depends on the ionic strength of a solvent, Na-HA was dissolved in water and phosphate buffered saline. The flow regimes of the Na-HA solutions in several planar abrupt contractionexpansion channels were characterized by rheological properties of the solution. It was found that the entanglement of Na-HA in the solution is a more dominant factor affecting the flow regimes than the solution relaxation time and polymer rigidity [1].

The second part of the seminar is measurements of drag force due to synthetic polymers in flowing fluids by using a scanning probe microscope (SPM). Methoxy polyethyleneglycol thiol (mPEG-SH) was attached to the cantilever probe of the SPM, which was further immersed in flows of glycerol and polyethyleneglycol (PEG) solutions. The mPEG-SH-bonded cantilever detects the extra force due to polymer-polymer and polymer-fluids interaction in flowing fluids. The conformation of the mPEG-SH polymer bonded to the probe of the cantilever was predicted, and the drag force due to the deformed mPEG-SH was calculated. The forces detected by experiments using the SPM and the forces obtained by model calculations were compared, and found to be reasonably close [2].

Understanding Self-Assembly for Nanostructure Fabrication

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Alexander Liddle, Chief of the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Division at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Date: 27 September, 2019
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 375

DNA self-assembly provides a route to scalable nanostructure fabrication with molecular precision.  It can be used to build functional, dynamic devices incorporating a wide variety of other nanoscale objects.  However, to fully realize the versatility of this technology requires that the rules that link yield to design and processing must be elucidated.  DNA origami, in which a long single strand of DNA is folded into a predetermined structure by the addition of ≈ 200 oligomers that bind sequence-specifically, is a common and representative system.  We are working to understand the thermodynamics and kinetics that govern nanostructure assembly – a task that is complicated by the high level of cooperativity that occurs during the origami folding process

Scaffold-Based Tissue Engineering – From bench to bedside back to bench

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Dietmar Hutmacher, Queensland University of Technology
Date: 26 September, 2019
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 355

Prof Hutmacher is a biomedical engineer, an educator, an inventor, and a creator of new intellectual property opportunities. He directs the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing at QUT, a multidisciplinary team of researchers including engineers, cell biologists, polymer chemists, clinicians, and veterinary surgeons. Prof Hutmacher is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine with expertise in commercialization. He has translated a bone tissue engineering concept from the laboratory through to clinical application involving in vitroexperiments, in vivo preclinical animal studies and ultimately clinical trials. His recent research efforts have resulted in traditional scientific/academic outputs as well as pivotal commercialisation outcomes. His pre-eminent international standing and impact on the field are illustrated by his publication record (more than 300 journal articles, edited 14 books, 70 book chapters and some 500 conference papers) and citation record (google scholar, more than  44,000 citations, h-index of 104 ).

Innovations in Electro-cardiology for Diagnosis & Management of Heart Failure

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Pavel Leinveber , FNUSA-ICRC, Brno
Date: 24 September, 2019
Time: 17:00 - 18:30
Location: Wolfson Building, Yudowitz Seminar Room

  • 5 pm         Registration
  • 5.30 pm    Evening Lectures - Yudowitz Lecture Room, Wolfson Medical Building
    • A Welcome form University of Glasgow (10 minutes)
    • An Introduction to FNUSA-ICRC, Brno (home of Mendel & genetics) (20 minutes)
    • “Innovations in Electro-cardiology for Diagnosis & Management of Heart Failure” Pavel Leinveber (30 minutes)
  • Questions: (15 minutes)

Microfluidics for novel diagnostics and therapies

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Prof. Zulfiqar Ali , Teeside
Date: 19 August, 2019
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Rankine Building, 108 LT

Zulfiqur has a first degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Instrumentation and Analytical Science from the University of Manchester. He was research fellow at the University of Warwick carrying development of an amperometric glucose sensor for diabetes monitoring. Zulfiqur has held academic positions in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Brighton and the School of Science and Engineering at Teesside University. He has been Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation as well as Dean of the Graduate Research School at Teesside University where he had responsibility for the University’s REF 2014 submission. He now has responsibility for the Healthcare Innovation Centre (HIC) which a partnership with TWI Ltd. Zulfiqur has research interests within novel electrochemical and optical transduction, micro and nanofabrication, microfluidics, bioprocessing and point-of-care testing. He is also director of Anasyst Ltd which is a spin-out company that has arisen from some of his research.

Hypnosis for Chronic Pain Management: Efficacy, Mediators, and Moderator

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Mark Jensen, University of Washington
Date: 23 May, 2019
Time: 13:30 - 14:30
Location: Queen Elizabeth Hospital - National Spinal Injuries Unit

Evidence suggests the possibility that brain mechanisms—specifically, slow wave brain oscillations, as measured by electroencephalogram—may play an important role in the beneficial effects of hypnotic treatment. This talk will present and discuss the findings from four studies to evaluate this possibility:

(1) a laboratory study examining the effects of a single session of four different pain interventions (hypnosis, meditation, alpha/theta oscillation biofeedback, and transcranial direct current stimulation or tDCS) relative to a sham tDCS condition,

(2) a clinical trial examining the ability of baseline oscillations in different bandwidths to predict treatment outcome, and

(3) two pilot studies evaluating the potential beneficial effects of theta oscillation neurofeedback for enhancing response to hypnosis treatment. 

Accurate simulation of the heart, from microtissues to organs - How data driven biophysical models of cardiovascular dynamics can provide insight in experimental and clinical investigations.

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Samuel Wall, Simula Research Laboratory, Oslo, Norway
Date: 10 May, 2019
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Biophysical models describing the function of the cardiovascular system promises improved understanding of the heart and its dynamics in health and disease.   However, the myocardium is a complex multiscale material, and while detailed models and constitutive laws have been developed to describe its behaviour, fitting these models meaningfully to actual data is often complicated by the large number, and the interaction, of required parameters.  Although numerous techniques, from trial and error to advanced optimization, can be used to fit data, challenges still exist, often due to the computational requirements when many parameters need to be varied.    This is particularly difficult when considering real observations, where heterogeneous noisy data sets are the norm, and often time constraints not compatible with long computational requirements.   Here we discuss a range of simulation approaches linked to such experimental and clinical data streams, where we perform rapid data assimilation in order to increase the information content of measurements.  Examples include creating new diagnostics for clinicians, or the ability to quantitate the molecular effect of tested drugs on key cellular pathways.  These data driven approaches are enabled by modern techniques in software and hardware that allow rapid solving of difficult optimization problems.  We consider cases from whole organs to engineered microtissues, with a unified goal of integrating in silico computational frameworks into measurement streams to improve the resolution of mechanistic understanding in complex systems.

Organiser - Nikolaj Gaadegard

BME Seminar - Investigating Cardiomyocyte Mechanosensing with Nanopillars and Nanopattern

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Thomas Iskratsch, Queen Mary University of London
Date: 18 April, 2019
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 514

Investigating Cardiomyocyte Mechanosensing with Nanopillars and Nanopattern

The composition and the stiffness of cardiac microenvironment change during development and/or in heart disease. Cardiomyocytes (CMs) and their progenitors sense these changes, which decides over the cell fate and can trigger CM (progenitor) proliferation, differentiation, de-differentiation or death. The field of mechanobiology has seen a constant increase in output that also includes a wealth of new studies specific to cardiac or cardiomyocyte mechanosensing. As a result, mechanosensing and transduction in the heart is increasingly being recognized as a main driver of regulating the heart formation and function. However, the molecular mechanism of cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing is still elusive.

To study the regulation of cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing on a molecular level we combine nanopillar arrays, PDMS gels with defined stiffness and FRET molecular tension sensors (Pandey et, Dev Cell, 2018). Moreover, because not only the stiffness but also the molecular composition of the adhesions change in pathological conditions (Ward et al, BBAMCR, 2019) we further want to study the implication of the changing adhesion structure and mechanics in detail. To this aim, we adapted a surface functionalization approach using DNA origami with conjugated receptor ligands (uni- or multivalent) that are placed onto nanopatterns fabricated with electron beam lithography (Hawkes et al, Faraday Discussions, 2019).

Together our approach indicates a specific cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing mechanism and gives new insights into the nanoscale organisation of cardiomyocyte integrins.

Functional Materials for Biomedical Science

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: William Peveler, University of Glasgow
Date: 11 December, 2018
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Colloidal (nano)materials offer a huge range of functionality derived by tuning their size, shape and chemical makeup, as well as their interface with the surrounding environment. I will describe several pieces of my work that utilise chemical control over these properties to solve specific biomedical challenges. In particular, I will describe new tools for fluorescent imaging, labelling and sensing derived from biotargetting interfaces on colloidal gold nanoparticles (spheres, rods and clusters) and quantum dots. I will then present recent work on the use of fluorescent polymers as a cross-reactive array-based sensor for liver fibrosis, and discuss the implications of this approach for biomarker detection and discovery. 


(1)        Peveler, W. J.; Yazdani, M.; Rotello, V. M. ACS Sens.20161(11), 1282.

(2)        Cortés, E.; Huidobro, P. A.; Sinclair, H. G.; Guldbrand, S.; Peveler, W. J.; Davies, T.; Parrinello, S.; Görlitz, F.; Dunsby, C.; Neil, M. A. A.; Sivan, Y.; Parkin, I. P.; French, P. M. W.; Maier, S. A. ACS Nano201610(11), 10454.

(3)        Peveler, W. J.; Landis, R. F.; Yazdani, M.; Day, J. W.; Modi, R.; Carmalt, C. J.; Rosenberg, W. M.; Rotello, V. M. Adv. Mater.201830(28), 1800634.

(4)        Algar, W. R.; Jeen, T.; Massey, M.; Peveler, W. J.; Asselin, J. Langmuir2018, 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b02733.


Dr William Peveler is a University of Glasgow Lord Kelvin Adam Smith (LKAS) Fellow working between the Division of Biomedical Engineering and School of Chemistry. 

After work with Dr Martin Grossel and Professor Harry Anderson FRS at the University of Oxford for his MChem, Dr Peveler moved to London to undertake a PhD in Chemistry at UCL, as part of the SECReT CDT. His research focussed on colloidal nanomaterials for array-based sensing applications, for which he was awarded the Ramsay Medal.

Dr Peveler then won an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship and Royal Society International Exchange Grant to undertake 2 years of postdoctoral work with Professors Claire Carmalt and William Rosenberg (UCL/Royal Free Hospital) and Professor Vincent Rotello (UMass Amherst). Here he sought to apply array-based sensing to the problem of liver disease. Most recently Dr Peveler moved to Canada to take up a Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, working on point-of-care diagnostic technologies the laboratory of Professor Russ Algar. Dr Peveler then returned to the UK and moved north to join the University of Glasgow in November 2018, beginning his independent research career.  

Integrating supramolecular chemistry and engineering principles for advanced and functional biomaterials design

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Alvaro Mata, Queen Mary University of London
Date: 19 July, 2018
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 816

Invited seminar

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Robert McMeeking, UC Santa Barbara
Date: 21 June, 2018
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Kelvin Building, Room 312

Invited seminar

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Michael Sheetz, Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore
Date: 20 June, 2018
Time: 15:30 - 16:30
Location: Davidson Building Lecture Theatre 208

Digital Manufacturing of Microfluidic Devices

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Albert Folch, University of Washington
Date: 02 May, 2018
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Location: To Be Confirmed

Digital Manufacturing (DM) - of which 3D-Printing is an example - has been applied with great success to improve design efficiency and part performance in the automobile industry, aeronautics, microelectronics, architecture, sportswear, and biomedical implants, among others. However, by comparison with other manufacturing fields, microfluidics has been slow to adopt DM. Microfluidic chips are still designed largely from scratch, the materials (usually thermoset or thermoplastic polymers) are often manually poured into a mold to form 2D-layer replicas, and the mold replicas are manually aligned and bonded to form the final device. The production of microfluidic devices by micromolding, while being optimized for mass manufacturing, cannot be optimized at the same time for design variety. These limitations are difficult for researchers to assimilate because micromolding has been the prevalent mode of microfluidics manufacturing for over two decades. On the other hand, the economics of DM are well-suited for microfluidics because, as opposed to molding approaches, the cost per device does not scale up with its 3D complexity ("complexity is free") and is insensitive to the size of the production batch, i.e. DM is ideal for project customization ("variety is free"). We are developing microfluidic devices through stereolithography (SL), a form of 3D-Printing, in order to make microfluidic technology readily available via the web to biomedical scientists. We have developed microfluidic devices by SL in PEG-DA-based resins with automation and biocompatibility ratings similar to those made with PDMS

Albert Folch received his BSc in physics from the University of Barcelona (UB), Spain, in 1989. In 1994, he received his PhD in surface science and nanotechnology from the UB's Physics Dept. During his PhD he was a visiting scientist from 1990-91at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab working on AFM under Dr. Miquel Salmeron. From 1994-1996, he was a postdoc at MIT developing MEMS under the advice of Martin Schmidt (EECS) and Mark Wrighton (Chemistry). In 1997, he joined the laboratory of Mehmet Toner as a postdoc at Harvard's Center for Engineering in Medicine to apply soft lithographic methods to tissue engineering. He has been at Seattle's UW BioE since June 2000 where he is now a full Professor, accumulating over 6,700 citations (averaging >82 citations/paper over his whole career). His lab works at the interface between microfluidics, cancer and neurobiology. In 2001 he received a NSF Career Award and in 2014 he was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows (Class of 2015). He serves on the Advisory Board of Lab on a Chip since 2006. Albert Folch is the author of four books, including "Introduction to BioMEMS", a textbook now adopted by more than 77 departments in 17 countries (including 40 universities in the U.S. alone). Since 2007, the lab runs a celebrated outreach art program called BAIT (Bringing Art Into Technology) which has produced seven exhibits, a popular resource gallery of >2,000 free images related to microfluidics and microfabrication, and a YouTube channel that plays microfluidic videos with music which accumulates ~133,000 visits since 2009.


Host: Professor Huabing Yin


Filtering without a filter - microfluidics-based approach for industrial cell separation

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Monika Tomecka and Dr Brian Miller, uFraction8 Ltd
Date: 17 April, 2018
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 816

uFraction8 is developing scalable, sustainable and gentle cell separation system for industrial scale biomass dewatering and concentration. uFraction8 system works with most cell types including yeast, microalgae, mammalian cells, bacteria and others, opening possibilities to enable sustainable bioprocessing in the broad spectrum of markets. They will present their developments and are looking to collaborate with interested researchers


Biomaterial physical properties in tissue regeneration

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Amaia Cipitria, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Biomaterials, Potsdam, Germany
Date: 11 April, 2018
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Cells respond not only to biochemical but also to physical cues, such as stiffness, geometry and matrix degradability. In-vitro studies showed that hydrogel elasticity or degradation properties alone can direct cell differentiation, while scaffold geometry can control tissue growth rate. However, little is known about how these findings translate to an in-vivo scenario. Bone defect healing experiments were used to investigate how the architecture of a semi-rigid scaffold may pattern the organization of collagen fibers and subsequent mineralization in-vivo, using a 30 mm critical-sized defect in sheep tibia as a model system. The hierarchical material structure and properties of regenerated tissue were investigated using a multi-scale and multi-modal approach. Next, alginate hydrogels with varying stiffness were used for in-vivo host cell recruitment and osteogenic differentiation in a rat femoral 5 mm critical-sized defect. Current activities focus on tailoring the spatio-temporal degradation properties of novel click-crosslinked alginate hydrogels to direct cell migration and proliferation, guide spatial distribution and directionality of extracellular matrix deposition, and pattern in-vivo tissue formation. 

From Superhydrophobic to Super-Slippery Surfaces

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Glen McHale, Northumbria University
Date: 09 March, 2018
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 514

On a wet day we need coats to keep dry, windscreen wipers to see and reservoirs to collect water and keep us alive. Our cars need oil to lubricate their engines, our ships need hulls that reduce drag and our planes need wings that limit ice formation. Nature has learnt to control water in a myriad of ways. The Lotus leaf cleanses itself of dust when it rains, a beetle in the desert collects drinking water from an early morning fog and some spiders walk on water. In all of these effects the unifying scientific principle is the control of the wettability of materials, often through the use of micro- and nano-scale topography to enhance the effect of surface chemistry. In this seminar I will outline recent examples of our research on smart surface-fluid interactions, including drag reduction and flow due to surface texture,1-4 interface localized liquid dielectrophoresis to create superspreading and dewetting,5-7 lubricant infused surfaces to remove pinning,8-10 and the Leidenfrost effect using turbine-like surfaces to create new types of heat engines and microfluidics.11-12


1.    Busse, A. et al. Change in drag, apparent slip and optimum air layer thickness for laminar flow over an idealised superhydrophobic surface. J. Fluid Mech. 727, 488–508 (2013).

2.    Brennan, J. C. et al. Flexible conformable hydrophobized surfaces for turbulent flow drag reduction. Sci. Reports 5, 10267 (2015).

3.    McHale, G. in Non-wettable Surfaces Theory, Prep. Appl. (Ras, R. & Marmur, A.) (RSC, 2016).

4.    Li, J. et al., Topological liquid diode. Science Advances 3, eaao3530 (2017).

5.    Brown, C.V. et al. Voltage-programmable liquid optical interface. Nat. Photonics 3, 403–405 (2009).

6.    McHale, G. et al. Voltage-induced spreading and superspreading of liquids. Nat. Commun. 4, 1605 (2013).

7.    Edwards, A.M.J. et al. Not spreading in reverse: The dewetting of a liquid film into a single droplet. Sci. Adv. 2, e1600183 (2016).

8.    Ruiz-Gutiérrez, É. et al., Energy invariance in capillary systems. Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, art. 218003 (2017).

9.    Guan, J.H. et al., Drop transport and positioning on lubricant-impregnated surfaces. Soft Matter 12, 3404-3410 (2017).

10. Luo, J.T. et al., Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and droplet transportation by surface acoustic waves. Phys. Rev. Appl. 7, 014017 (2017).

11. Wells, G. G. et al., A sublimation heat engine. Nat. Commun. 6, 6390 (2015).

12. Dodd, L.E. et al., Low friction droplet transportation on a substrate with a selective Leidenfrost effect. ACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 8 22658–22663 (2016).

Acknowledgements The financial support of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Reece Innovation ltd is gratefully acknowledged. Many collaborators at Durham, Edinburgh, Nottingham Trent and Northumbria Universities were instrumental in the work described.


Biography. Glen McHale is a theoretical and experimental applied and materials physicist. At Northumbria University, he combines leading the Smart Materials & Surfaces laboratory with his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering & Environment. His research considers the interaction of liquids with surfaces and has a particular focus on the use of surface texture/structure via microfabrication and materials methods, and the use of electric fields to control the wetting properties of surfaces. His work includes novel superhydrophobic surfaces, surfaces with drag reducing and slippery properties, and electrowetting/dielectrophoresis to control the wetting of surfaces. Glen has written invited “News and Views”, highlight, emerging area and review articles for a wide range of journals covering superhydrophobicity, dynamic wetting, liquid marbles and drag reduction. He has published over 170 refereed journal papers. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the RSA, a Senior Member of the IEEE, a member of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College, and he was a panel member for the "Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials" unit of the last UK-wide national assessment of research (REF2014). Along with colleagues at Northumbria, Nottingham Trent and Oxford Universities, he has developed a public understanding of science exhibition, "Natures Raincoats" (

Infection diagnosis in the clinical settings in India

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Neelam Taneja, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, India
Date: 29 January, 2018
Time: 12:30 - 14:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Professor Taneja Dr Taneja heads the Enteric Division at Dept. of Medical Microbiology at PGIMER, Chandigarh which is a tertiary care referral Institute in north India well known for postgraduate teaching, diagnostic services and research. As a clinical microbiologist at a 2000 bed tertiary care centre, she as the specialist in-charge provides diagnostic and other services in the field of diarrhea, food borne infections and urinary tract infections. The work entails isolation of all food and water borne pathogens including V. choleraeSalmonellaShigella,diarrhoeagenic E. coliAeromonas and Yersinia and monitoring the antimicrobial drug resistance in these pathogens. She holds an international patent for a putative shigella vaccine based on reverse vaccinology approach, which was filed through ICMR and is published on WIPO. She has published 125 peer-reviewed articles in esteemed journals such as Emerging Infectious Diseases and Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Journal of Clinical microbiology. She has handled many extramural project grants from WHO, ICMR and DST.

Dr Taneja has various international honours including a WHO fellowship, a Pasteur Institute fellowship, International Development award for young woman scientist conferred by International society of infectious Diseases. She is the founder member and secretary of Society of South Asian Countries Society for Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infection.

Human hepatocytes as a tool for understanding the mechanisms of hepatotoxicity and the development of safer new drugs"

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Prof Jose Vicente Castell-Ripoll,, Health Research Institute Hospital La Fe (IIS La Fe)
Date: 24 January, 2018
Time: 09:30
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Prof Castell-Ripoll is a pioneer in the development of human hepatic cellular models and its application to drug development (study of drug metabolism and hepatotoxicity), metabolomics applied to toxicity studies and hepatocyte transplantation, as well as studies on the differentiation and control of gene expression of human hepatocytes. He is Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Valencia where he holds the chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1999. He also lectured at the Autonomous University of Madrid and at the University of Freiburg. His research training was at the Institute of Biosciences of CSIC in Madrid, ETH Institutt fur Molekularbiologie in Zurich and Max-Planck Institut fur Biophysikalische Chemie in Gottingen. He has served in the advisory board of several Pharma companies, EU- Framework Programs, international institutions and is co-founder of two biotech companies. He was Director of the La Fe Hospital Research Foundation for 14 years until 2016. He has promoted several succesful partnership programmes between clinical researchers, academics and industry partners, including setting up an innovative startup incubator in La Fe Hospital (Biopolo La Fe).

Membranes for dirty jobs: lithium extraction, isotope enrichment and extraction of water from highly saline liquid

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Tao He, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SARI-CAS)
Date: 14 December, 2017
Time: 11:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 816

Professor Dr. Tao He was educated as a Chemical Engineer from Sichuan University (B.E. 1994); Dr. He started his membrane research in Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (M.Sc. 1997), and Membrane Technology Group at University of Twente (Ph.D. 2001). Dr. He went to industry working in the RD department of X-Flow/Norit (NL) and Aquasource/Degremont (France) till 2006. In 2007 he joined Nanjing Tech University as a professor for membrane technology. In 2010, Dr. He moved to Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SARI-CAS) and founded Laboratory for Membrane Materials and Separation Technologies (2MST). He is also an adjunct professor of ShanghaiTech University (from 2013).

Dr. He is the recipient of 2017 Newton Advanced Fellowship (2017-2020), 2016 Leaders in Innovation (the 2nd price) from the Newton Fund, Royal Academy of Engineering, and 2016 Vice-Chancellor International Scholar Award (VISA), University of Wollongong. Professor He published more than 60 scientific papers, 10 book chapters, and 27 patents. He serves as Co-editor for Desalination and the subject editor for PSEP.

He is experienced in manufacturing hollow fiber membrane/modules and application of such membranes in wastewater reuse. The current research interests of his team include: interfacial interaction at the water/polymer/air interface, membrane distillation, forward osmosis, acid/solvent resistant membranes, membrane extraction for precious metals and isotope separation, high temperature solid battery barriers.

Talk by Professor Martin Schwartz

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Professor Martin Schwartz, Yale University
Date: 08 November, 2017
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

My lab studies fundamental mechanisms of mechanotransduction in the cardiovascular system and their roles in both normal physiology and disease. Our recent work has revealed novel biophysical aspects by which cells sense matrix stiffness, applied strains and fluid shear stress. We also have new results on how these mechanosensing pathways participate in vascular remodelling, atherosclerosis and cardiac fibrosis. I will present our new data that integrates molecular, cellular and animal studies.

Yale University

Additive Manufacturing of Metals for the Internet of Things (IoTs)

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Prof Robert C. Roberts, University of Hong Kong
Date: 02 November, 2017
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

The Internet of Things (IoT) is projected to create an unprecedented number of smart and connected systems, yielding a pervasive sensor and actuator network, able to interact with the real world. The diversity and complexity of these applications requires engineers to rethink their manufacturing strategies to enable rapid prototyping, lower cost, and allow customization of low-volume components that cannot be achieved using conventional mass manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing (AM), aka 3D printing, has the potential to meet this increasing demand for flexible personalized engineering, by enabling the direct manufacturing of complex components, directly from a digital design. In particular, the additive manufacturing of metals has great potential for IoT applications by enabling the fabrication of components with both useful electrical and mechanical properties. This talk highlights some developments in metal additive manufacturing technology using both inkjet-based deposition and selective laser sintering (SLS).  Inkjet additive manufacturing offers promise of low-cost microfabricated electronics, sensors and actuators on unconventional substrates by making use of organo-metallic nanoparticle based “inks” and thus requires a fundamentally different approach when compared to conventional microfabrication techniques. The process dependence on the electrical and mechanical characteristics of the resulting metal structures is explored for both Gold and Silver.  These insights are then applied to numerous applications including multilayer RF structures, microfluidic sensors, printed batteries, and strain gauges.  In contrast, Select Laser Sintering uses a laser to thermally fuse dry metal powder into solid structures. These metal structures then offer great potential not only as mechanical components, but also as sensors and actuators. Again, process parameter variation is shown to enable the modification of the electro-mechanical properties of the materials and is explored for 316L and 17-4PH Stainless Steel. SLS is then demonstrated for multiple applications including microwave horn antennas, and high-density 3D microelectrode arrays to highlight the exciting future of additive manufacturing for the Internet of Things. 

Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Chris Yang, Cardiff University
Date: 28 October, 2017
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 816

Abstract: Medical ultrasounds are sound waves with frequencies above audible range. Clinically, 2- to 20-MHz ultrasounds are applied in imaging anatomical structure of the human body and measuring the blood velocities in arteries and veins by using the Doppler effect. By reconstructing the Doppler signal superimposing on the brightness-mode ultrasound imagine (B-mode), the venous and arterial angiography and neovascularisation can be imaged without the use of ionising radiation. The wall shear stress of the blood vessel derived from the velocity profile can be easily measured by using clinical ultrasound scanner. On the similar frequency range, surface acoustic waves are also introduced in actuating cellular particles within whole blood sample for separating target cells, such as circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which is the surrogate of cancer progression and the factor of cancer metastasis. The integration of the acoustic and microfluidic technique has shown the feasibility of manipulating CTCs for downstream characterisation by using microwave resonators.
Biography: Xin Yang is lecturer of Medical Engineering and director of Medical Ultrasound and Sensors Laboratory (MUSL) at the school of Engineering, Cardiff University, and adjunct professor at Lanzhou Jiaotong University, China. He studies Biomedical Engineering at Beijing Jiaotong University from 2001 – 2005. He was awarded the MSc in Medical Electronics & Physics in Queen Mary, University of London in 2006. He worked as the CEO and CTO for two years in Beijing BJ Device Ltd. He was awarded PhD in 2011 for work in Doppler ultrasound in quantifying neovascularisation. He was the British Heart Foundation (BHF) research fellow working at Doppler ultrasound phantoms and wall shear stress measurement at the Queen's Medical Research Institute, The University of Edinburgh. He started his current position in Cardiff University since 2013 and was awarded his EPSRC First Grant in 2016. He has published refereed journal papers on Doppler ultrasound and is principal author of 8 books in the subject of electronics and microcontrollers.

Microengineered Surfaces for Advanced Technologies

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Dr Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer, School of Chemical Engineering - University of Birmingham
Date: 28 October, 2017
Time: 10:00 - 11:00
Location: Rankine Building, Room 514


Dr Oppenheimer’s research interests lie in nano and submicron structure formation (please see the group website: Advanced Nano-Materials, Structures and Applications) at surfaces and in thin films, including pioneering the potential use of hierarchical electrohydrodynamically generated functional structures to develop novel polymer- based nano-detection devices. She brings detailed expertise in creating and aligning a wide range of nanostructures in polymers, carbon nanotube-based nanocomposites, crystalline materials and a synergistic interest in biomimetics, including the use of polymers with 10-nm morphologies as templates to create inorganic functional devices.

Over the past three years she has given five invited talks at major international conferences. Her publications include regular papers in leading journals such as Advanced Optical Materials, Advanced Functional Materials and Small. In 2012 she was awarded the Carl-Zeiss Prize in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. As a result of her research, several images were published as cover images including the Science Magazine of the University of Cambridge, the Carl-Zeiss Imaging Competition at the Department of Electrical Engineering and the 2012 annual reports of the University of Cambridge featuring her image named 'We all fall over sometimes' as a cover.

Event hosted by Professor Jon Cooper

UESTC Design of an Ambulatory EEG amplifier and its future applications in rehabilitation

Group: Biomedical Engineering
Speaker: Tiejun Liu, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)
Date: 04 May, 2017
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Location: James Watt South Building, Room 526

Recently, computational neuroscience has become one of the most important disciplines in neuroscience to understand and to model neural activity. There are different ways to measure the activity of the brain, such as Electroencephalograph (EEG), Magnetoencephalogram (MEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). EEG has been an indispensable tool due to the advantages of high temporal resolution, easy setup and low cost. Inexpensive portable EEG solutions are increasingly being used for neurorehabilitation purposes.

In this presentation, I am going to address the most common weaknesses of the existing ambulatory EEG systems and explain our approach to minimize this problems in our novel EEG amplifier design. The quality of the EEG signal and the performance of the amplifiers have been tested and verified under different conditions in our Lab (University of Electronic Science and Technology of China). I will also describe future applications of this EEG amplifiers in rehabilitation and in Brain Computer Interface.

The amplifiers will be demonstrated following the presentation.

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