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Wellcome Trust EPSRC Centre of Excellence in Medical Engineering (MEC)

The King’s College London Medical Engineering Centre, funded by the Wellcome Trust and EPSRC, aims to break down the barriers between biology, medicine, and the fields of engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science and chemistry. Our work on medical imaging brings together basic scientists and medical researchers in a hospital setting, and we focus on the clinical translation of the underpinning science and technology. As well as moving towards clinical studies that show patient benefit, we aim to facilitate a closer partnership between the university and industry.

The programmes

Our six scientific programmes bring together strong basic science with clinical translation in the setting of an academic health science centre.

Guiding keyhole robotic surgery on the heart: we are developing new ways to improve the treatment of heart rhythm problems by keyhole robotic surgery. This includes the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualise the heart and the lesions made during treatment – which has the added benefit of avoiding X-ray radiation – as well as improving the automated guidance of the robots.

Computer simulations or coronary artery disease: With new computer simulations, we can increase the accuracy of diagnosis of suspected coronary artery disease, and improve the selection of patients for interventional treatment.

Atherosclerosis: we are building a specialist combined MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) scanner that, with special imaging agents, can characterise atherosclerosis accurately. This will allow us to improve predictions of patients at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Cancer: Using novel imaging agents to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Cancer surgery: Using tissue engineering to rebuild faces after cancer surgery.

Psychiatric illness: By developing new imaging and computational tools, we aim to improve the diagnosis of psychiatric illness as well as predictions of treatment effects.

We also have several general initiatives:

  • A multidisciplinary MSc and MRes programme to get the brightest undergraduates from mathematics and science and move into biomedical research.
  • Pump-priming of joint academic-industrial research initiatives that can be built upon to develop the Centre’s future programmes and allow its long-term sustainability.
  • Collaborations with international research groups that will bring leading scientists to visit the Centre, and allow our scientists to work at these sites for short periods to learn new techniques and set up new collaborations.
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