South Bank Applied BioEngineering Research

Founded in January 2011 at London South Bank University (LSBU), targets to be a globally acknowledged interdisciplinary research centre of excellence.

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The South Bank Applied BioEngineering Research (former BiMEC), founded in January 2011 at London South Bank University (LSBU), is a growing hub for multidisciplinary research, involving collaborations with all schools at LSBU, international universities and research centres. As an interdisciplinary research centre, South Bank Applied BioEngineering Research provides advanced research and training in a wide range of areas including: Microwave Imaging, Ultrasound Imaging, Skin Imaging, Wearable Technologies, AI for Image and Signal Analysis, Modelling and Analysis of Deformations, Human Biomechanics, Evolutionary Biomechanics, Human Biological Variation, Adaptive Structures and Biomimicry.

Did you know? Bioengineering is a highly interdisciplinary field, at the interface of technology, engineering, biology and healthcare. Its main goals are improving the understanding of biological systems and developing technologies, models as well as diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitation devices.

Top Funders

     

The South Bank Applied BioEngineering Research (SABER) is led by Dr Sevan Harput.

Sevan Harput

Sevan Harput is a Senior Lecturer in the division of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Before joining LSBU, Sevan worked at Imperial College London (postdoctoral researcher), King’s College London (visiting researcher) and University of Leeds (research fellow).

His research expertise are in high frame-rate ultrasound imaging, super-resolution imaging, ultrasound contrast agents, signal processing for biomedical imaging, nonlinear acoustics, ultrasound sensor modeling, and biomedical device development. In addition to his academic work, he has been providing technical consultancy for SMEs and start-ups for over 10 years. He worked as an Associate Editor (2018-2022) for the IEEE T-UFFC. He has presented his research in several invited talks and seminars, including the STEM for Britain at the UK parliament.

     

Our Mission & Values

  • to preform internationally leading research in bioengineering;
  • to deliver excellence, professionalism, integrity, inclusivity and creativity in bioengineering research, as explained by our EPIIC values;
  • to facilitate the development of colleagues and early career researchers (ECR);
  • to respond to the changing research landscape;
  • to promote training and innovation;
  • to enhance PhD cohort;
  • to contribute to teaching and education at every level (BSc, BEng, MSc, MEng, MRes); and
  • to promote industrial engagement.

LSBU

     

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Working with SABER, using our facilities, geting consultancy service, collaborating on big projects, joining as a PhD or postdoctoral researcher, becoming an associate member, or learning about new opportunities.

Did you know? You might be able to use our facilities for free or collaborate on projects while your expenses paid. Contact us to find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), Innovate UK grants and other opportunities.

SABER Members

Staff directory

To view the full staff list available for SABER

Research Pillars

Imaging & Sensing

UWB imaging (breast, brain and skin cancer), ultrasound imaging (overall human body including bone and microvascular imaging), infrared and electronic sensing technologies for skin measurements, wireless sensor networks for biomedical applications, indoor radar and artificial intelligence for image and signal analysis.

Biomechanics

Modelling and analysis of deformations (of biological tissue and granular systems, which also has applications in climate sciences), gait analysis and modelling of mechanics of animal whiskers.

Anthro-Engineering

Primate evolutionary biomechanics and human biological variation. World’s first course in Anthro-engineering, merging the fields of anthropology and engineering.

Bio-inspired Technologies

Biomimicry (focused on insect wings and insect adaptations), adaptive structures and smart manufacturing.

Research Pillars



Our flagship projects:

Guiding treatment for individuals with eating disorders and dementia using masticatory efficiency
EPSRC 2022 - 2025

Eating disorders

Chewing efficiency, i.e. the ability to break foods down into smaller pieces, is directly linked to nutritional intake, physical well-being, and quality of life. Health conditions can lead to muscle weakness, and as a consequence many individuals experience reduced chewing efficiency. Two such groups include individuals who have experienced a long-term eating disorder and individuals with dementia. At the moment, chewing efficiency is overlooked by the healthcare services, with no long-term treatment plans to help prevent or improve deterioration. As a consequence, preventable premature deterioration is leading to significant negative impacts. Individuals are experiencing decreased physical and psychological well-being linked to shorter lifespan, decreased quality of life, and social isolation. Their loved ones also experience significant physical and mental stress. Service users in these groups report feeling forgotten and overlooked by the healthcare service. We propose a solution to help address this. Our novel system will provide users with a simple, accessible, non-invasive solution to remotely measure their chewing efficiency from the comfort of their own home.

Evolution's edge: How sutures shaped the diversification of the mammal skull
Leverhulme Trust 2022 - 2025

Skull

The mammal skull performs numerous critical functions, from prey capture and feeding to protecting the brain to fighting. These functions impose enormous pressures which are buffered by the skull’s shock absorbers: cranial sutures. These highly variable joints between skull bones are intimately linked with ecology and development, but their complex 3D anatomy makes them tricky to capture. As a result, we know almost nothing about their evolution. Bridging imaging, machine learning, cranial function and evolution, this project will reconstruct suture evolution and its role in one of the most important events in the history of life: the rise of mammals.

Our aim is to create a long-term positive change that benefits the society, the economy and the environment.

To achieve real world impact, SABER members leverage their high-quality academic research by actively collaborating with national and international institutions and industrial partners. These collaborative activities have led to over 5 million pounds of funding, research visits, new partnerships and joint publications.

Within the last decade, SABER members involved in joint research projects that resulted in new technologies, real world products and world-leading research outputs in various areas of bioengineering.

 

Examples of our impact:

Microwave Imaging


Skin Imaging

 

Publication Highlights (Members and Associate Members):

asa barberProf Asa Barber

Goel, S., Hawi, S., Goel, G., Thakur, V.K., Pearce, O., Hoskins, C., Hussain, T., Agrawal, A., Upadhyaya, H., Cross, G. and Barber, A. (2020). Resilient and Agile Engineering Solutions to Address Societal Challenges like Coronavirus Pandemic. Materials Today Chemistry.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtchem.2020.100300

M BerthaumeDr Michael A. Berthaume

Berthaume, M. A., Barnes, S., Athwal, K.K. and Willinger, L. (2020). Unique myological changes associated with ossified fabellae: a femorofabellar ligament and systematic review of the double-headed popliteus. PeerJ. 8, pp. e10028-e10028. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10028

Sandra dudleyProf Sandra Dudley-McEvoy

Hajderanj, L., Chen, D., Grisan, E. and Dudley-McEvoy, S (2020). Single- and Multi-Distribution Dimensionality Reduction Approaches for a Better Data Structure Capturing. IEEE Access.

ghavamiProf Mohammad Ghavami

Ghavami, M., Ghavami, N., Tiberi, G., Sani, L. and Vispa, A. (2021). Empirical Assessment of Breast Lesion Detection Capability Through an Innovative Microwave Imaging Device. EuCAP 2021. Online 22 - 26 Mar 2021

GeoffDr Geoff Goss

Dougill, G., Starostin, E.L., Milne, A.O., van der Heijden, G.H.M., Goss, G.A. and Grant, R.A. (2020). Ecomorphology reveals Euler spiral of mammalian whiskers. Journal of morphology.https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.21246

EnricoDr Enrico Grisan

Squarcina, L., Villa, F.M., Nobile, M., Grisan, E. and Brambilla, P. (2021). Deep learning for the prediction of treatment response in depression. Journal of Affective Disorders. 281, pp. 618-622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.11.104

Sevan HarputDr Sevan Harput

Harput, S (2020). 3D Super Localized Flow with Locally and Acoustically Activated Nanodroplets and High Frame Rate Imaging Using a Matrix Array. IEEE IUS. ONLINE 07 - 11 Sep 2020

Ben LishmanDr Ben Lishman

Lishman, B, Marchenko, A, Shortt, M and Sammonds, P (2019). Acoustic emissions as a measure of damage in ice. Port and Ocean Engineering under Arctic Conditions. Delft, The Netherlands

Hamed RajabiDr Hamed Rajabi

C. Lietz, C. F. Schaber, S. N. Gorb, H. Rajabi, “The damping and structural properties of dragonfly and damselfly wings during dynamic movement”, Communications Biology, 2021, 4:737.doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02263-2

Perry XiaoProf Perry Xiao

Fanghour, S., Chen, D., Guo, K. and Xiao, P. (2020). Lip Reading Sentences Using Deep Learning with Only Visual Cues. IEEE Access.

a VilchesDr Antonio Vilches

Viola, G, Chang, J, Maltby, T, Steckler, F, Jomaa, M, Sun, J, Edusei, J, Zhang, D, Vilches, A, Gao, S, Liu, X, Saeed, S, Zabalawi, H, Gale, J and Song, W (2020). Bioinspired Multiresonant Acoustic Devices Based on Electrospun Piezoelectric Polymeric Nanofibers. ACS applied materials & interfaces.https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c09238

SauravDr Saurav Goel

Daminabo, S.C, Goel, S., Grammatikos, S.A., Nezhad, H.Y. and Thakur, V.K. (2020). Fused deposition modeling-based additive manufacturing (3D printing): techniques for polymer material systems. Materials Today Chemistry. 16, pp. 100248-100248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtchem.2020.100248

Philip HowesDr Philip Howes

Howes, P. D., Chandrawati, R., & Stevens, M. M. (2014). Colloidal nanoparticles as advanced biological sensors. Science, 346(6205), 1247390. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1247390

 

You can find our partners and collaborators world-wide:

Key facilities

chamber

Microwaves: 40GHz Anechoic Chamber and Test Equipment

  • A radio frequency (RF) anechoic chamber at LSBU is one of the finest in London.  This can test devices radiation emission up to 40GHz alongside associated test equipment.
  • There are also PCB production facilities for circuit design, probing stations for device characterisation and software enabling intensive circuit and antenna design, circuit simulations.

aquaflux epsilon

Skin Measurments: AquaFlux and Epsilon

AquaFlux™ evaporimeter and the Epsilon™ contact imaging system are the state of the art skin measurement technologies that were originally developed at London South Bank University and later converted into commercial instruments through the university spin-out company - Biox Systems Ltd (www.bioxsystems.com). AquaFlux™ and the Epsilon™ measure quantities such as TEWL, SSWL, hydration, perspiration, membrane integrity, wrinkles & skin topology (micro-relief).

The Epsilon™ is a contact imaging system that responds to capacitance. Its proprietary technology maps the sensor’s non-linear response onto a linear scale with a capacitance range from air to water. Its calibration ensures that every pixel in the image provides a reproducible measurement that can be interpreted in terms of hydration.

The AquaFlux is a TEWL measurement device with a unique patented technology that overcomes challenges of the closed measurement chamber through a condenser that continuously removes water vapour by converting it to ice. AquaFlux out-performs all its competitors in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, repeatability, reproducibility and versatility (supported by numerous studies available).


highspeedultra

High Speed Ultrasound System

A next generation ultrasound imaging system is not available in the clinics yet. It is equivalent of a slow-motion camera that can capture more data than any commercially available ultrasound system. It can be used for medical and industrial applications. For example; high resolution imaging, cancer imaging, ultrasound treatment, bone imaging, pipeline inspection, flow measurements, defect detection in composite materials and several others.

UARP-II is a state-of-the-art ultrasound research imaging systems with 256 channels designed for fast acquisition times. It can acquire at a rate of 20,000 fps and has a data transfer rate of 64 GB/sec. Receiver front end has a capability of 80 MSPS with 12-Bit ADCs. Available with trigger inputs and output for synchronizing with other devices.

This equipment is the most advanced imaging system and it is currently used for following research projects: ultrasound bone characterisation, super-resolution ultrasound, microvascular imaging, ultrasound elastography, and blood flow measurements.


calibration

Ultrasound Pressure Calibration

This is a specialised high precision ultrasound pressure calibration setup. It is equivalent of an underwater microphone. High-speed ultrasound system and the ultrasonic testing system are regularly calibrated using this setup. It can be used for medical and industrial applications. For example; measuring microbubble response, testing liquid composition, calibrating ultrasound imaging systems.

This calibration system consists of a needle hydrophone that can operate 1 – 25 MHz range. The sensor material is a 9 micron thick gold electroded Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) film with a typical probe sensitivity of 55nV/Pa. It is mounted on a CNC system for scanning a full 3D ultrasound field.

This measurement setup is used to calibrate the medical ultrasound imaging systems for the super-resolution ultrasound, microvascular imaging and ultrasound bone imaging projects. Without this the performance of the imaging system might be compromised.


3D ultrasound

Modeling & Ultrasound Simulations

3D ultrasound wave simulations require high processing power and memory. We have the required software and the necessary processing capabilities to successfully run models. This simulation environment can be used for medical and industrial applications. For example; designing a high strength bolt (by simulating ultrasound waves in a heavy duty bolts used in bridge construction see left bottom figure) or designing new ultrasonic sensors (by estimating the ultrasound pressure and the ultrasonic field).

The simulation environment uses Matlab and specialised C scripts to simulate ultrasound wave propagation in hard and soft materials. It can perform linear and non-linear wave propagation simulations by running Field II, K-wave or Simsonic tools. It can be used to estimate harmonic generation through nonlinear propagation and shock waves. Microbubble oscillations under ultrasound excitation can be simulated.

This high-end simulation environment is used for the 3D super-resolution ultrasound, ultrasound bone imaging and needle pressure sensor for compartment syndrome projects.

To discover more regarding ultransound research please visit Dr Sevan Harput's SPE3D (/speed/) Ultrasound Research Lab.


LifeDesign Lab

LifeDesign Lab by Hamed

LifeDesign Lab is led by Dr Hamed Rajabi, he is a Lecturer in the School of Engineering at LSBU. He has an interdisciplinary research background. He received his first PhD in Mechanical Engineering followed by a second one in Biology. Collaborations with researchers from various fields have enabled him to employ methods and techniques from different fields into his research and, thereby, answer questions that can be addressed only using multidisciplinary approaches.

Hamed is passionate about biological systems and their ‘technological’ complexities. He leads LifeDesign Lab, where he and his group aim to unravel these complexities, learn from them to develop nature-inspired concepts, and elaborate them into a technology readiness level that can be converted into marketable products, especially in the areas of structural reinforcement, lightweight construction, healthcare and robotics.

Hamed has contributed over 50 publications in international journals, one book chapter and two patents. He has won several national and international awards. He has supervised/co-supervised 38 postgraduate students. Hamed is currently providing service as a member of the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering and Journal of Bionic Engineering, and as a Standing Member of the Youth Committee of the International Society of Bionic Engineering.

Further information can be found on Dr Hamed Rajabi's LifeDesign Lab.


MammoWave

MammoWave Microwave Medical Imaging Apparatus

In 2019, SABER acquired a newly developed device by the UBT Tech Srl, called MammoWave which allows illumination of the breast using electromagnetic fields to measure the correspondent scattered electromagnetic fields and to process the measured field through a dedicated algorithm, obtaining the image of the breast and highlighting tissues inhomogeneties.


Additional Equipment

  • Lasers and detectors:Er:YAG laser, Nd:YAG laser, OPO laser, He -Ne laser, Nitrogen laser, MCT detectors, laser energy monitor, optical tables/benches.
  • TimeDomain’s PulsON 400 (x3) PulsON 410 (x20) Impulse Radio Ultra Wideband IR-UWB ranging, communication and radar modules
  • Vector Network Analyser (VNA), Vector Signal Analyser (VSA), Spectrum and Impedance Analyser
  • Precise LCR components Analyser
  • PCB Prototyping machine
  • Generic equipement: HP Digital Oscilloscopes, Picoscopes, HR Proscopes, multimeters, signal generators, IBM x3400 servers, Fingerprint sensors.