Engineering seminar series 7/1_2010: Engineering in the Human Body

Professor David Hukins, Head of Mechanical Engineering Department Birmingham University, UK

Date: 2010-04-30
Time: 12:00 to 12:30
Venue: Plenary Theatre


This talk is concerned with the application of engineering to practical problems in medicine. Specifically, it will cover understanding the principles involved in repairing the mitral valve of the heart, development of a device to prevent sternal dehiscence (following heart surgery) and the problems that arise when putting synthetic materials in the body (illustrated by encrustation of catheters). It will then review using engineering principles to provide successful replacements for part, or all, of the intervertebral disc of the spine. These applications of engineering in the body will lead to a brief discussion of minimising the inherent risks of replacing natural structures with synthetic implants. Finally the talk will consider the future need to move away from engineers thinking about replacing specific parts to considering how the body works as a number of integrated systems; this approach will be illustrated by current work on attempting to understand the stability of the spine and back pain.

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