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BIO@ECS Group:

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BIO@ECS is a new virtual group responding to the volume of research in ECS that is inspired for and by biology and the biomedical sciences.

Current Research Activities

BIO@ECS staff are currently developing a new training programme in Complexity Science.

There is a good precedent for the creation of a group to straddle across the School and twenty-six ECS academics in IAM, ISIS, EPE, ESD, Nano (Bioelectronics ) and the ORC indicated their existing programmes on this interface before the recent EPSRC doctoral training programme application. Moreover, the strategy of the EPSRC, BBSRC and the MRC as well as Foresight reports on Cognitive Systems and Healthcare all echo the same view that the technology for the future lies at the interface of the life sciences with computational and electronic/engineering technologies.

The virtual BIO group will have the potential to create a truly unique world leading consortium for the university, whose interface spans research groups from other disciplines within and outside the university. Professors are currently being recruited to ECS with expertise in Adaptive Systems and Bioelectronics, and a new Natural Systems group has been formed. This will further strengthen the capability to research and teach in these important new biologically inspired disciplines.

The goal of BIO@ECS is to undertake fundamental research on the computational and engineering principles underlying both biological systems and novel computational methods/devices. This includes both computational and engineering research that enhances our understanding of biology, and biological research where it contributes to our understanding of computational and engineering methods.

BIO@ECS currently pursues two strong complementary research programmes:

  1. Research on new micro and nanotechnologies, and the application of these to exploring and exploiting the interface between life sciences and engineering, including:
    • Micro-analytical devices and systems (including the lab-on-a-chip) for fundamental research in cell biology and biochemistry, and in the development of new generations of chemical and biochemical sensors.
    • Bio-nanotechnology to understand the behaviour of single molecules both in micro-devices and in cell membranes, and the development of ultra sensitive single molecule sensors.
    • Microfluidics for cell and molecular manipulation and sorting, and also electrohydrodynamics in micro and nano-channels for fundamental studies of the physics of fluids.
    • Bio-electrostatics and bioelectro-dyamics of cells and microorganisms.
  2. Information processing principles of biological systems, including:
    • Biologically inspired computation (e.g. neural networks, evolutionary algorithms) including connections back to the biology that inspired it
    • Computational biology (e.g. individual based modelling, simulation of adaptive behaviour) where this contributes to new computational methods/understanding (e.g. multi agent systems, SAB-control)
    • Bio-computation/devices (e.g. wetware) contributing to our understanding of computational/control principles of bio-molecular function
    • Bioinformatics where this contributes to new computational methods/understanding (e.g. inter-relationship of structure, function and computation, distributed/robust encoding/control/function)

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