- Description of the Thematic Lines +
This thematic area aims to explore the tremendous advances over the last decades in technology and exact sciences for applications in Life Sciences, including Biology and Medicine. Our ultimate goal is to deepen synergies between these two fields and facilitate new developments in medical diagnosis, therapeutic tools, clinical aids, assisted living and rehabilitation, as well as in the study of biological systems.
While impressive progress in biomedical imaging techniques leads to increasingly more accurate and faster disease diagnosis, lab-on-a-chip solutions emerging from micro-and-nano-technologies offer portable capabilities for clinical in vitro and low-cost point-of-care diagnostics. A recently developed and rapidly changing field with great strategic value is that of Neuroengineering, which employs engineering methodologies to address the problems of understanding, repairing, enhancing or otherwise exploring the properties of neural systems.
Teams at LarSyS have made significant contributions in several of these areas in the past, and there are clear complementarities to be exploited in the future for the development of novel methods and products. Novel biomedical image acquisition and analysis techniques are being developed for biological and physiological measurements (ISR-LaSEEB and ISR-SIP). Work is being carried out on the use of fluid mechanics and heat transfer processes towards applications in advanced lab-on-a-chip diagnostic techniques (IN+). Progress has also been made in data processing and information extraction from different biomedical modalities, in the scope of Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD), Computer Aided Therapy (CAT) and Computer Assisted Surgery (CAS) (ISR-LaSEEB, ISR-SIPG, M-ITI and IN+). Virtual reality and human computer interfaces have been developed for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from strokes (M-ITI). In parallel, systems theoretical approaches have been used for modeling, simulating and testing of biological, cognitive and neuronal systems, contributing to the development of more "intelligent" artificial systems as well as to our understanding of such systems (ISR-VisLab and ISR-IRSg).
Research in this area at LARSyS has been supported by well-established collaborations with life scientists, clinical partners, and a number of end-users (Hospitals; Healthcare Organizations; Rehabilitation Institutions; Retirement Homes). Namely, cooperation with the following institutions will be continued and further intensified:
In addition, it has been shown that there is a need to develop new regulatory frameworks and risk governance strategies to bridge the gap between high potential emerging technologies (as those described above), the development of prototypes and commercial applications as well its diffusion among users. LARSyS coordinates IRGC-Portugal (International Risk Governance Council-Portugal), a network of five Associate Laboratories in Portugal oriented to foster the analysis of risk governance, and a major task for the coming decade is to help deepening our understanding and implementation of smart regulatory frameworks.
MAIN SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVE
Our grand challenge is to develop engineering approaches and tools for specific applications in the Life Sciences, include disease diagnosis and monitoring, brain-computer interfaces and assistive technologies. A complementary objective is to develop bio- and neuro-inspired robots that can better perform some of their tasks taking advantage of the natural results of evolution in animal and human behavior, simultaneously serving as research test beds for the biological and neurosciences.
- Structure of the Thematic Line +
This thematic area is organized through the structured cooperation between groups with complementary expertise and converging objectives aimed at specific application areas related with the life sciences. The governance structure of the Thematic Areas relies on the work of the contributing groups who have the responsibility of maintaining their experimental platforms, technical personnel and research staff and will be in regular contact with each other. The coordination of the thematic area will be done through the Thematic Area Coordinator (TAC) and the Thematic Area Management Board (TAMB). The TAMB is composed of the TAC and a member of each of the groups involved in the TA (ISR-LaSEEB, ISR-SIPG, ISR-IRSG, ISR-ViLab, M-ITI and IN+). Decisions will be taken primarily by consensus and the coordinator has the ultimate responsibility also with respect to the Managing boards of LARSYS.
In addition to the research activities, the thematic areas will offer a framework for advanced training opportunities, where the involved students, faculty and researchers will enjoy the possibility of engaging in exchange periods or lab rotations to make the best possible use of the available experimental facilities and share the experiments and data. In addition to general meetings to coordinate the work in the different dimensions of the thematic areas, we will specifically monitor the progress achieved in the main application areas.
- Objectives of the Thematic Line +
The specific aims of this thematic area are: