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08 November 2019

Learning hub launched to bridge gap between medicine and engineering

Earlier this year, the Clinician Engineer Hub was launched as an international engineering training programme for medical students and early career doctors.

Clinician Engineer Hub

The hub was set up by Dr Mads Bergholt, Lecturer in Biophotons in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, Dr Ali Yetisen, Imperial College London and Dr Neel Sharma, University of Birmingham to support doctors' and medical students understanding of engineering-based solutions.

The hub aims to bring together the clinical and biomedical engineering field and provide medical students and early career doctors exposure to the world of clinical medicine, the challenges doctors face in diagnosing and treating patients and how to potentially solve these issues with cutting edge engineering solutions.

In its first programme earlier this year, international medical students were invited to spend a week at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham meeting patients on the ward, in the clinic or in the endoscopy department, observing patient treatments and learning how engineering principles could be used to improve current diagnostic and management approaches.

The students then spent a week at King’s and Imperial College gaining exposure to an array of theoretical and lab-based engineering methods including wearable sensors, tissue engineering and biomedical optics.

Clinical medicine as we know it is on the verge of undergoing significant changes. For instance, technologies such as laser diagnostics and artificial intelligence have the potential to revolutionise medicine by reducing subjectivity and improving the diagnostics for our patients. Clinicians with engineering expertise will be at the forefront of medicine in the future.

Dr Mads Bergholt

Dr Neel Sharma added: “We constantly use a range of engineering tools in medicine to diagnose and treat patients, from pacemakers to ventilators and dialysis machines, but often we’re unaware of how and why they work. As doctors, we experience first-hand limitations in how patients are diagnosed or managed. This knowledge, however, falls short without adequate engineering know-how. The Clinician Engineer Hub is an opportunity for future doctors and engineers to work together and better understand how each discipline can influence and inform the other, creating better patient outcomes in the long-term.”

Dr Ali Yetisen commented: “The hub offers a wide range of in-depth practical training to medical students and early career doctors to learn hands-on skills and will play a pivotal role in the stimulation of the cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial efforts to develop medical devices in the UK and globally.”

The programme, which is free for participants, will run again in December and feature robotics and training in 3D printing.

For further information click here.

In this story

Mads Bergholt

Senior Lecturer in Biophotonics