Health engineering encompasses challenges from personal to global, with remarkable devices, novel materials and enhanced processes all leading to better outcomes for our world.

Global challenges we are addressing:

Diagnosing disease

How can we diagnose disease and monitor treatment better?

Some of our research in diagnosing disease include:

Medical Diagnostic Technologies

Working across various biomedical projects, our medical diagnostic technologies research encompasses brain imaging, breast imaging, cardiac imaging, image mass spectrometry, sleep and respiratory projects and virtual microscopy.

With Queensland noted as the skin cancer capital of the world, our researchers have developed a novel way to improve the detection and diagnosis of skin diseases. Our terahertz laser technology employs a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that until recently, was almost impossible to use. The technology will safely provide a different view of skin structure than that achievable with visible light, leading to early detection of skin cancer which is still the only proven factor in improving the patient outcome.


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Food and water

Can we improve health through improved food and water quality and sanitation?

Some of our research in food and water include:

Improved Sanitation

In an effort to improve conditions for the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide with no access to safe sanitation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has set a challenge to reinvent a toilet that was low cost, completely self-contained and didn’t require a sewer connection, piped-in water, or outside electricity.

In collaboration with other 2 universities, UQ researchers aim to develop a transformative technological solution to human waste via an integrated process in which the solid waste is treated via self-sustained smouldering combustion, with the heat generated then used to dry solid waste and pasteurize liquid waste.

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Personalised medicine

Can we develop ‘personalised medicine’ to restore function to damaged joints and organs?

Some of our research in personalised medicine include:

3D cartilage mapping in joints

The general wear and tear of everyday life cause damage to your joints, and for a large proportion of the population, can lead to requiring surgery. UQ researchers are developing 3D MRI technology to diagnose damaged joints better to enable treatment specific to the patient.

Current methods of diagnosis using 2D slice-based acquisition, which isn’t sufficient to provide enough contrast between similar cartilage contact zones. Our work is aimed at using cartilage specific magnetic resonance imaging, which allows for acquiring the entire cartilage volume as one 3D image and proper detection of each grade.

Improving how we view cartilage damage will enable an earlier diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately a quicker recovery for the patient.

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Related research centres and groups

Biomedical Engineering

Our research covers the fields of magnetic resonance engineering, biomedical instrumentation, image analysis and biosignal analysis, with a focus on developing new tools to improve data acquisition, image reconstruction, and image analysis from medical images.

Food Engineering

Research concerning food considers processing and materials design, with particular emphasis on developing fundamental insights and technologies to allow the creation of next generation healthier food and beverages.

MedTeQ Centre

A centre for medical device and medical imaging innovation created under the Smart State scheme with laboratories in major hospitals and strong clinician engagement.

Nanomaterials Centre

The Nanomaterials Centre focuses on the synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials in the three key areas of energy, environment and health.

Systems and Software Engineering

The group’s research is aimed at enabling software and systems engineers to develop and evolve better software intensive systems more efficiently and effectively.

Systems and Synthetic Biology

AIBN’s Systems & Synthetic Biology group works both on developing the fundamentals of dry versus wet biology and synthesis versus analysis, and its application to a broad range of living systems.