Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences is dedicated to the development, clinical translation and clinical application of medical imaging and computational modelling technologies. Occupying facilities on the St Thomas’ campus, Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences is headed by Professors Rene Botnar and Alexander Hammers.
Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences consists of five academic departments: Cardiovascular Imaging, Cancer Imaging, Imaging Chemistry & Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Perinatal Imaging and Health. Staff and students comprise physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians and clinicians working together in a highly cross-disciplinary way. The chemists and biologists develop new contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals for molecular imaging, the physicists and engineers develop imaging hardware and instrumentation, and the computer scientists and mathematicians develop image-processing and computational modelling methodologies. Meanwhile, the clinicians apply them in the clinic.
Our objective is to facilitate research and teaching guided by clinical questions, understanding of physiology and pathophysiology as well as development of new diagnostic tools and therapies. In this way, basic science can be rapidly translated into clinical applications (and vice versa).
Translational research is not a one-way street – from research to product to healthcare – but rather a network of dialogues and interactions between partners in the three sectors.
Over the past 20 years we have built up a critical mass of basic science and clinical research with an outward-looking approach that engenders such dialogue in a way that would not be possible in a less integrated setting.
We are therefore perfectly positioned to answer questions in biology, physiology and pathophysiology, to develop new imaging techniques, contrast agents and computational models, to perform large-scale clinical trials and to offer the resulting new techniques for clinical application.
Our proactive approach to collaboration with other departments and schools, both in basic sciences and clinical sciences, means that we widen the use of imaging, which maximises the benefit to patients and the opportunities to innovate. This has led to a strong focus on imaging’s application in cardiovascular disease and cancer. There is a close and vital relationship in our work between problem solving in clinical and biomedical application areas and methodological research in the basic disciplines.
We are working together to develop innovative applications of imaging – especially Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-ray, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), gamma imaging (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Ultrasound (US). We place considerable emphasis on rapid translation into the clinic so that patients can benefit as quickly as possible.
We have strong links with large imaging equipment manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as small and medium-sized businesses and university start-ups that are developing devices and computational methods. Our links with our partner NHS trusts (Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley) are of increasing importance to foster translational research and so improve patient care, and these have been greatly strengthened with the creation of King’s Health Partners, our Academic Health Sciences Centre.