Feb 08 2011 Posted: 00:00 GMT
The major national conference on biomedical engineering, Bioengineering in Ireland 17, was hosted by NUI Galway on 28 and 29 January, and attended by over 180 researchers from Universities, Institutes of Technology and industry in Ireland and overseas. Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering techniques to improve understanding of the human body in health and disease, and to develop new medical therapies and devices. Engineers and scientists at the conference discussed latest findings on topics as diverse as the design of new stents for treatment of arterial and heart disease, analysis of sport technique, and the forces experienced by cells in tissue-engineered constructs. Keynote speaker Mr. John Power, CEO of Galway-based Aerogen, spoke about the development of the company's innovative nebulisers, which are in use worldwide for the treatment of respiratory and other diseases. Another guest speaker, Dr. Kerem Pekkan of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, spoke about his research into the mechanics of blood flow and the implications for congenital heart disorders in new-born infants. Professor Peter McHugh of NUI Galway was presented with an award by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, in recognition of his career achievements in biomedical engineering. The conference organiser, Dr. Nathan Quinlan of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, commented "Biomedical engineers study the human body in terms of classical engineering concepts of force and motion, and design devices that work with the body's cells and organs, alongside medication and surgical procedures. We've seen lots of examples at this conference of engineers working closely with clinicians to solve some clinical problem. Often this work is done in close collaboration with the medical device industry, which is one of the most important employers in the country, particularly here in the West." In association with the conference, IMDA, the organisation of the medical device industry in Ireland, held an event in which researchers spoke to an industry audience about technology concepts which have emerged from their work in university laboratories. "More and more, we see biomedical engineers in Universities and ITs working closely with industry," said Dr. Quinlan. "Discoveries made in academic laboratories get translated into new products and better medical treatments." Bioengineering in Ireland 17 was sponsored by the Irish Medical Devices Association, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Zwick-Roell, KHPB Scientific, National Instruments, Stryker, Aerogen and IDAC.