Biomedical engineering is the fastest growing, most exciting, and most challenging area in engineering today.
It is the fastest growing because there has been an explosive growth in our understanding of how biological systems work. This understanding is being driven along by new technologies like high throughput DNA and protein sequencing, new imaging systems and wireless communications, which are all underpinned by cheap high-speed digital computing.
This intersection between new technologies and new understanding of how biological systems work makes for a heady mix that is both exciting and challenging. Exciting because it offers unsurpassed opportunities to do new creative things. Challenging because to take an idea and turn it into a reality is not always easy, usually requiring a detailed knowledge of both biology and engineering.
Our central aim here at Melbourne University is to make you fluent in both the languages of biology and engineering, so as to place you at the epicentre of this 21st century revolution in medicine and the treatment of disease.
10 major challenges
There are at least 10 major challenges in biomedical engineering today:
- Personalised medicine
- The human genome project has unlocked a treasure trove of information that will enable medical advice, diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients.
- Cell signalling
- If you can understand how cells communicate with one another, and process information about their environment internally, then you can devise new effective treatments.
- Developmental biology
- If you understand the miracle of a single fertilised cell turning into a beautiful baby, then you can begin to devise ways of ensuring that everyone has a healthy start to life.
- Medical bionics
- We aspire to perfect the seamless integration between engineered materials and devices and living tissues.
- Biomimetic engineering
- Devise ways of re-engineering biological processes for another purpose.
- Computational biology
- We use engineering methods to process data and build mathematical models of normal and abnormal physiology, and then use these models to control or increase understanding of how these systems work, and so inform better medical treatment.
- How the mind works
- The greatest mystery today is how the mind works--understand this and unlock a new era in understanding who we are and what it means to suffer mental illness.
- Improving patient outcomes
- Working with health professionals on how to improve the treatment and management of hundreds of pressing medical problems ranging from prosthetic devices to cardiovasular disease to long-term care following spinal cord injuries.
- Health informatics
- How to ensure the timely availability of all the important information for making appropriate and informed decisions.
- Technology transfer
- How to turn all the discoveries arising from the above into new products that are safe and effective.
This is a huge challenge that will take many decades of dedicated effort to realise, but you could be part of this unfolding revolution here at Melbourne University.
In the Parkville Precinct we are fortunate to have: The Royal Melbourne Hospital; The Royal Women’s Hospital; The Royal Children's Hospital; The Royal Dental Hospital and a range of world class research institutes including: Biomedical Research Victoria (a biomedical, biotechnology research cluster supporting collaborative projects, shared technology platforms, business development and education programs); the Florey Neurosciences Institute (focusing on brain research); the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (focusing on immune system, infection processes and cancer research); the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (focusing on life-saving medical research and community health research for babies, children and adolescents); and many others close by such as St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne; the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital; The Bionics Institute (focusing on the bionic eye, bionic ear and epilepsy) and The National Vision Research Institute (focusing on the bionic eye)
In others words, it is Australia’s premiere clinical and bioresearch hub.
Melbourne University is a comprehensive university with the full range of student social and sporting clubs and events. Further, the Melbourne School of Engineering is only a short walk to Melbourne’s Central Business District, meaning you can always be assured of something interesting and exciting to do with your friends.
What better place to study Biomedical engineering?