Auckland Bioengineering Institute
The Auckland Bioengineering Institute was established in 2001 as a cross-faculty research institute dealing with the application of the mathematical and engineering sciences to biology generally and human physiology in particular. The primary goal of the Bioengineering Institute is to develop anatomically and biophysically based mathematical models for all aspects of human physiology from genes to whole organs, together with the experimental techniques and instrumentation required to measure cell and tissue properties and perform model validation experiments. The understanding of biological function gained through these models is applied to medical diagnosis, drug discovery and medical device manufacture.
A major part of this effort is the development of material property databases and computational and visualisation software. A secondary goal is to develop as many applications of this technology as possible. All research projects have the dual aim of, first, contributing to some aspect of healthcare by improving the understanding of physiological processes and hence the medical diagnosis and treatment of injury or disease, and, second, creating employment opportunities in New Zealand for our graduates, especially the new generation of bioengineers who will emerge from our new Biomedical Engineering (BME) degree program.
Most of the projects undertaken by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute involve a combination of experimental measurement, mathematical modelling and model validation. It is our strongly held belief that these three aspects of bioengineering research should be closely integrated. Mathematical modelling requires a firm experimental foundation, just as experimental research requires a mathematical framework with which to interpret complex results. The organisation of the Institute must therefore maintain a balance between software development and modelling on the one hand and instrumentation development, cell and tissue experiments and model validation experiments on the other.
Two important emerging features of modern medicine are the development of ever more sophisticated clinical imaging devices (MRI, microCT, ultrasound imaging, electrical field imaging, optical tomography, etc) and the development of new geneomic and proteomic techniques based on our recently discovered knowledge of protein-encoding sequences in the human genome. This will mean that the clinical assessment of an individual's medical condition can incorporate information from both diagnostic imaging and DNA or protein expression data for that patient. To relate these two ends of the spectrum, however, will require very comprehensive integrative mathematical models of human physiology based on detailed quantitative descriptions of anatomical structures and biophysical processes which reach down to the genetic level. An important strategic objective of the Bioengineering Institute is to therefore to develop mathematical models which link gene, protein, cell, tissue, organ and whole body systems physiology into one comprehensive framework.
The Diagnostic Cardiovascular Imaging section of UCLA Radiology is actively involved in the development and application of new techniques for detecting and evaluating cardiovascular disease processes with MRI and CT. We work closely with industrial partners, including Siemens Medical Solutions, using state-of-the-art MRI and CT scanners to perform specialized clinical studies, and to conduct research in a variety of areas including heart failure, congenital heart disease, pulmonary vascular disease, abdominal vascular imaging, extremity and and whole-body imaging. Due to the unique patient mix at both the Mattel Children's Hospital and the Ahmanson UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, we image a wide range of highly complex congenital cardiovascular disorders in both children and adults.
The members of our research group include attending radiologists, MR and CT physicists/engineers, bioengineering and basic-science researchers, and clinical and research fellows, whose diverse backgrounds bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the group. We have experienced MR and CT technologists who have specialized training in cardiovascular imaging. Furthermore, we maintain strong links with a number of collaborating research groups, both within the US, and internationally.
Our goal is to make continued contributions to the field of cardiovascular imaging through high-caliber research with advanced image-acquisition and analysis techniques and the implementation of novel clinical applications. We will continue to provide the highest standard of care to our patients and to deliver quality education to our physicians-in-training via specialized residency, fellowship and graduate-student programs.
Auckland MRI Research Group
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become recognised as an essential investigation in a variety of cardiac and related medical conditions. The superb precision and accuracy of MRI for cardiac parameters has led to increasing use of MRI by international pharmaceutical companies for investigating treatment benefit. This precision allows either the sample size for clinical trials to be dramatically reduced thereby controlling costs or for previously inaccessible endpoints to be obtained.
The Auckland MRI Research Group (AMRG) has researched, developed and tested clinical image analysis software in association with Auckland UniServices Limited. Part of this software has been licensed to one of the largest global MRI providers, Siemens Medical Systems. AMRG is recognised by Siemens as their no. 1 cardiac development site in the world.
Dedicated staff have extensive experience in the running of international pharmaceutical trials including study design, protocol definition, paperwork, site training (internationally), image transfer by CDROM and internet, and analysis and reporting of results. Extensive operating procedures have been developed for data management, including RAID server backup, DVD and CDROM archiving, documentation, database management and storage in fireproof safes.
Center for Computational Biology at UCLA
The Center for Computational Biology (CCB) is focused on the development of computational biological atlases of different populations, subjects, modalities and spatio-temporal scales.
The CCB develops novel mathematical, computational, and engineering approaches to map biological form and function in health and disease. CCB computational tools integrate neuroimaging, genetic, clinical, and other relevant data to enable the detailed exploration of distinct spatial and temporal biological characteristics. Generalizable mathematical approaches are developed and deployed using Grid computing to create practical biological atlases that describe spatiotemporal change in biological systems. The efforts of CCB make possible discovery-oriented science and the accumulation of new biological knowledge.
A Computational Atlas is a framework that:
A Computational Brain Atlas is an interactive, extensible and functional infrastructure that:
The Center has been divided into cores organized as follows:
Biomedical Imaging Research Unit
The Biomedical Imaging Research Unit (BIRU) provides research infrastructure and support.
We are dedicated to the advancement of research in biomedical imaging, and to fostering the development of innovative imaging technologies. The BIRU is located in the School of Medical Sciences on the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Grafton campus.
We offer a range of imaging modalities with individualised training.