Biomedical Engineering is the discipline of applying
the quantitative and computational methods of engineering to
problems in medicine and biology. It is currently one of the
most rapidly growing fields of engineering all over the world.
The University, on receiving the gift of LEJ-NED Campus by the
Late Mr Latif Ebrahim Jamal, decided to establish a Bio Medical
engineering Department there, offering two BE degree programmes
– Bio Stream and Medical Stream. The Syndicate in its 134th
Meeting held on 29-9-2004 approved the concept paper presented.
The Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering
principles and techniques to medicine, biology, behavior, and health.
combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering,
with the medical,
to help improve patient health care and the quality of life of
It advances fundamental concepts; creates knowledge from the
molecular to the organ systems level; and develops innovative
biologics, materials, processes, implants, devices and informatics
approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease,
for patient rehabilitation, and health improvement.
Biomechanics: This is one of the oldest and best established areas in biomedical
engineering, focusing on the study of the body from a mechanical
perspective, including the mechanics of movement and posture, the
effect of trauma or surgery, the strength of bones, tendons, etc. An
important area related to biomechanics is bio ergonomics: The study
of how systems such as chairs, keyboards, steering wheels, tools,
etc., can be designed to minimize physical stress on their user's
Biosensors: Acquiring information about the body for study, diagnosis and monitoring
requires biologically compatible sensors that can be placed in
desired locations- often through implantation. The design and
fabrication of such sensors using solid-state devices, enzymes and
other biochemical agents are some of the extremely important and
active area of biomedical engineering. Recently, there has also been
great interest in using biological systems such as cultured cells,
glucose sensors and genetically modified bacteria which are some of
the few examples of biosensors.
Bio-MEMS / Nanotechnology: Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology
are the two most promising methods for creating microscopic implants
or injectables which can be use for sensing and drug-delivery
design. Two prominent applications for these technologies are "lab
on a chip" and injectable probes.
Bioinstrumentation: Some of modern technologies of diagnosis rely very heavily
on instruments such as EKG and EEG machines, monitors for blood
pressure, heart rate, etc., defibrillators, scanning systems (e.g.,
MRI, PET, etc.), dialysis machines, ventilators, endoscopes, etc.
Research in this area requires centrifuges, electronic instruments
and sophisticated tools for extraction and sequencing of DNA.
Training engineers to design, manufacture and maintain such systems
is a key focus in biomedical engineering.
Medical Imaging and Scanning: Aside from the issue of developing and implementing
scanning devices like X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT, PET, scanning
presents very complex challenges in image analysis and
interpretation. These include registration, segmentation, feature
extraction, pattern recognition and object identification of 2D and
3D images. Developing efficient algorithms and platforms for these
applications is a major research area for biomedical engineers and
Biomedical Signal Processing and Systems Analysis: Signals such as blood pressure, heart rate, EEG, respiration, postural
sway, etc., are often monitored over time in clinical situations.
Analysis of these time-varying signals provides very valuable
diagnostic and often prognostic information. A variety of tools such
as Fourier analysis, Statistical analysis, Wavelets transformation,
Neural networks, etc., have been applied to automate the processing
of biological signals in real-time. Recently, there has been great
interest in applying tools for nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory
(e.g., fractal dimensions,
exponents, entropies, etc.) to interpret complex biological signals.
Methods from systems theory- especially system identification are
widely used to model biological systems. Signals and systems is one
of the most mature sub-areas within biomedical engineering, and are
very accessible to students with basic training in engineering.
Implants and Prostheses: One of the most rapidly growing areas in biomedical
technology is the development of implantable systems. Neural
implants for disrupting seizures, Parkinsonian deficits and cochlear
problems are now well-established. In the near future, retinal, and
even cortical implants for vision problems will become practical.
There has also been great success in developing artificial limbs
that can be controlled by the nervous system and using neural
signals to control external objects (such as screen cursors, robots
and vehicles). Cardiac implants such as pacemakers are very widely
used. As understanding of biomechanics, neuroscience and systems
biology advances and nano scale devices become more feasible, there
is likely to be an explosion in implants for many applications.
Rehabilitation Engineering: With increased longevity and greater mobility in the
population, rehabilitation after trauma, surgery and disease
(especially stroke & diabetes) is a major medical problem. The
standard practice of physical therapy is now being strongly
augmented by prosthetics and orthotics in which a patient is
provided with artificial limbs or external supports. Started after
the Second World War, making and fitting a prosthesis/orthoses has
now become a research interest for many organizations and
scientists. Gait Analysis is another important area in which
problems such as repetitive motion injuries, slips and arthritis are
predicted through continuous monitoring and prevented by providing
patients with subsequent measures.
Biomaterials: When engineered devices or tissues are incorporated in the body, they
must meet stringent requirements to allow their integration into the
system. The materials used must be compatible with living tissue in
many different ways, and must not interfere with the body's normal
functioning. This applies to common implants such as replacement
joints and stents as well as to more exotic systems such as
scaffoldings for engineered tissue. Thus, the study of biologically
suitable materials has become a vast and growing field in its own
Tissue Engineering: As understanding of cellular and molecular processes in
living tissue has grown, it is becoming feasible to create
artificial tissues through biomaterials. This is called tissue
engineering. Typically, tissue engineering involves growing cells on
an artificially created scaffolding or matrix. This approach has
been used to create artificial skin and cartilage. In the future,
advances in stem cell research may allow the engineering of many
other tissues, and even organs, leading to a revolution in the
treatment of diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, cirrhosis,
lung cancer, heart failure, macular degeneration, and others that
can be treated through transplantation.
Bioinformatics (Genomics, Biostatistics, Intelligent Diagnostics, etc.):
Broadly, the area of bioinformatics covers all applications of
information technology and computer science to biological and
medical problems. This includes statistical analysis of
epidemiological data, pattern matching, sequence analysis, genomic
modeling and the construction, maintenance, mining and use of
biomedical databases. This reflects the fact that methods from
information and computer science apply more extensively to genetic
and molecular analysis than to any other area of biomedicine ---
mainly because genetics and molecular processes are inherently about
the representation and processing of information within biological
organisms. Bioinformatics is arguably one of the most dynamic and
significant areas within the biomedical sciences.
Telemedicine: With rapid improvements in communications and medical technology, many
developed countries are now improvising techniques to provide
competent medical services (like surgery, diagnostics and community
health services). Referred to as Telemedicine, this technology
allows patients anywhere to avail specialized medical expertise
available only in limited locations such as major hospitals and
research centers. Even in
level of Telemedicine is now emerging in many institutions and holds
great promise for scattered rural populations.
Computational and Systems Biology:
The human body can be understood at many levels, from the molecular
level upwards. However it is extremely difficult to organize the
enormous amount of experimental data available at all levels into a
coherent picture. Systems-level thinking has proved to be of
enormous value in this regard. Since all these systems are very
complex and even the most valuable, nonlinear mathematical analysis
cannot be applied in all situations. This leads to the use of
computational/numerical techniques. With computers becoming cheaper
and faster, computational biology has become one of the most active
areas of biology and biomedicine, and is being used to address all
kinds of difficult problems from the nature of cognition to the
prediction of heart failure. Advances in nonlinear dynamics,
information theory and discrete mathematics have contributed
enormously in this respect, and provide a fruitful nexus between
engineering and biology.
Molecular and Cellular Engineering:
One of the newest and most exciting possibilities in biomedicine is
that of manipulating living systems at the cellular and molecular
level. Many clinical disorders result from genetic variations or
faults in the metabolic reactions responsible for cellular function.
It is increasingly possible to think about fixing these problems by
altering the molecules involved, even changing the genetic code
within cells. Another application for such manipulation is in
creating organisms (typically bacteria) that can act as biosensors
or produce valuable chemicals. There is even speculation about
designing bacteria that can spontaneously assemble organic circuit
components, and there is now a well-developed science of DNA
computing that seeks to use the natural molecular processes within
cells to perform computations --- much like analog computers of old
and all living cells.
. Neural Prostheses:
Electronic neural networks can be used to build implants for retinal
and visual processing, cochlear implants for auditory perception,
and artificial limbs that can be controlled directly by the brain.
Medical experts in remote locations can examine patients by
accessing their records on the internet, communicating through
teleconferencing, and even perform physical procedures through
Therapies/Transplant Tissues: Drugs and transplant tissues (livers,
lungs, pancreatic cells etc.) can be customized for each patient
using their own DNA to prevent rejection and enhance efficacy.
Sensors/Support Systems: Wirelessly networked sensors and actuators
can be embedded in the clothing of disabled patients to continuously
monitor posture and prevent falls.
Control for the Disabled: Wheelchairs and other assisting systems
for profoundly disabled individuals can be controlled directly by
signals from the brain.
Who Needs Biomedical
. Rehabilitation Centers.
. Educational and Research Institutions.
. Biotechnology industry.
. Pharmaceutical industry.
. Medical instrumentation industry.
. Prosthetics and implants industry.
. Environmental and public health sector.
. Government regulatory agencies.
Biomedical Engineering at NED
Engineering Department at NED will be the leading national center
for high-quality education and innovative research at the interface
of engineering and medicine.
The mission of the
Biomedical Engineering Department at NED is:
. To train
biomedical engineers with the knowledge and skills necessary for
successful careers as productive professionals, both in Pakistan and
at the international level.
. To stimulate
innovative, world-class research by engineers, medical professionals
and biologists, leading to improvements in the quality of life and
health-care for all.
. To provide
hospitals, research institutions and industry with well-trained,
competent and effective professionals in all areas involving the
application of technology to the medical and biological sciences.
establish productive long-term relationships with other educational
and research institutions in order to foster a culture of
interdisciplinary learning, interaction, collaboration, and research
The Department of
Biomedical Engineering offers Bachelor of Engineering degrees in two
Medical Stream and
Both programs for
the B.E degree provide students with a strong basis in the
fundamentals of biomedical engineering, but differ in their
applications focus. Since the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical
engineering requires students to obtain a solid ground in biological
and medical sciences as well as in mathematics, physics, chemistry,
etc., the degrees require five years for completion. Programs for
postgraduate study in biomedical engineering will be instituted at a
The program began
in January 2006, at present 32 seats are allocated for each
discipline. The Department of Biomedical Engineering has the same
administrative structure as other departments of NED.
Given the diversity
of disciplines in biomedical engineering, the department is in close
ties with other departments of NED and with other educational and
research institutions such as medical colleges/universities and
scientific institutes as well. Some of the classes/courses are being
taught by visiting faculty from these institutions, and in addition
to that students of biomedical engineering department will also be
able to take the appropriate benefits from the facilities of these
institutions. Collaboration on research/senior projects are
encouraged across departments and institutions, so that the students
graduated by the Department of Biomedical Engineering have strong
practical experience in addition to their academic training.
The Medical Stream Program
Medical Stream program trains students primarily for clinical
applications pertaining directly to the diagnosis of diseases,
treatment, rehabilitation and general medical care. This includes
the design, manufacture, maintenance and use of instruments,
prostheses, implants, etc., the design, implementation and use
of diagnostic software, development and characterization of
biomaterials for implanted devices, rehabilitation engineering
and other clinically oriented areas.
Medical Stream program is motivated by the need to provide highly-trained,
productive engineers for hospitals, research institutions and
the biomedical industry. These engineers will not only be able
to understand, maintain and use existing technology, but will
also have the creative skills to develop innovative methods
for addressing complex clinical problems in practical settings.
Graduates of the Medical Engineering program will also be well-placed
to pursue careers in corporate research and to seek postgraduate
training anywhere in the world.
The BioStream Program
Bio Stream program will focus on the application of quantitative
methods to the understanding of the human body at all levels.
This will include the computational and mathematical modeling
of biological systems, development of algorithms for analyzing
biological signals, systems and processes, biomechanics, bioinformatics
(including genomics, proteomics and biostatistics), applications
of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology
(e.g., biosensors), development of signal processing and control
algorithms for artificial limbs and other implants, molecular
engineering (e.g., drug design), etc.
Graduates of the
Bioengineering program will be fully equipped for postgraduate
training and fundamental research in biomedical engineering at the
highest international standards.
Institute for Biomedical Research,
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
component of the effort to establish biomedical engineering as a
thriving field in
must be the promotion of high quality research in the field. The
best way to do this in the context of the planned Biomedical
Engineering program would be to concurrently establish an institute
within NED for the incubation and facilitation of biomedical
research. The proposed institute would have the following goals:
. To provide NED
faculty and affiliated researchers an opportunity to explore the
applications potential of their research ideas.
. To bring together
individuals from academia, industry and the medical profession in a
systematic way in order to create fruitful research collaborations.
. To serve as a
pivotal seed/leadership institution for the establishment of an
expanding biomedical industry in Pakistan.
institute would provide a formal nexus for academic researchers and
the consumers and promoters of such research to come together in a
way that leverages the strengths on both sides. Such institutes have
come to be fundamental components of successful engineering programs
throughout the world, and especially in the United States.