School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

What is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical engineering (BME) is a rapidly growing transdisciplinary field that bridges the gap between technology, medicine and biology. The core aim of BME is to find practical solutions in medical and biomedical sciences using engineering approaches and analyses. There are many areas in health care where engineering approaches are needed, for example, developing life support systems, designing devices to aid the impaired or disabled, or creating systems to allow better diagnosis of medical disorders. Consequently Biomedical Engineers are vital in the management of technology in hospitals and health care deliver.

For more information on Biomedical Engineering see the IEEE careers guide

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What do Biomedical Engineers do?

Working closely with health care professionals, Biomedical Engineers use their engineering expertise to analyse and solve problems in biological and medical areas with the aim of improving health care. This can include the design and enhancement of tools, devices and software, in order to develop new procedures, as well as carrying out research to solve clinical problems.

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What makes a good Biomedical Engineer?

A good Biomedical Engineer is someone who can define a medical problem in engineering terms and then find a solution to that problem that is able to meet the practical requirements of the medical arena as well as those in the Engineering. The Biomedical engineering field provides the opportunity to give back to the community by addressing the problems of medical care.

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What makes studying BME at UQ different?

At ITEE our research focus is on developing new tools to improve data acquisition, image reconstruction, and image analysis from medical images, such as magnetic resonance imaging and histological imaging. Our close links with industry and hospitals allow us to respond to clinical needs with immediacy through the alignment of our research. Furthermore, in 2007 our Biomedical Engineering Research Group received funding from the Smart State Innovation Building Fund to establish a $6.74 million facility for Medical Diagnostic Technologies in Queensland (MedTeQ). The facility will bring about significant advances in health technology by drawing together world-leading researchers with clinicians at Brisbane’s major hospitals.

The University of Queensland is a hotspot for biotechnological advancement in Australia, housing state-of-the-art facilities in a broad range of research fields. Extensive access to a multitude of well equipped laboratories at the University of Queensland ensures that we provide high-quality research and teaching in Biomedical Engineering. The staff guiding the Biomedical Engineering program are also engaged in highly active and successful research collaborations in local academia, hospitals and industries. Their research links include:

What can I do with a degree in Biomedical Engineering?

Study and work opportunities are limitless at the interface of biomedicine and engineering. As a biomedical engineer, you may be involved in the design, construction and development of:

  • health monitoring devices or computers, e.g. blood chemistry sensors, or devices for surgery, intensive care, or mobile use,
  • diagnostic systems, e.g. medical imaging systems (such as CT, PET, MRI, SPECT, ultrasound,)
  • therapeutic systems, e.g. surgical laser system, automated drug delivery, gene therapy, tissue engineering,
  • mechanical and computer models of physiological function, e.g. a virtual heart, aortic valve, biochemical pump,
  • prosthetics and implantable mechanical aids, e.g. cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, blood oxygenators, artificial vessels, organs, joints and limbs,
  • clinical laboratories and units utilising advanced biomedical technologies.

Study Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at UQ

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Career opportunities

Biomedical Engineers have experience in many disciplines within engineering, medicine and biology, consequently they are employed in a range of fields including:

  • universities
  • industry
  • hospitals
  • research facilities
  • teaching
  • government agencies

Employment opportunities in Australia and overseas include hospitals, biotechnology companies, medical equipment manufacturers, research institutes, regulatory authorities (e.g. FDA) and government health departments. Many Biomedical Engineering students go on to do further study in either Masters or PhD degrees at the University of Queensland.

For more information on careers in Biomedical Engineering

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