Previous Departmental Seminars

2018

Drone-based hotspot: an internet-on-the-go service for disaster management

Wednesday 28 November 2018

We are living in the era where we all are connected through the internet to connect, share, and access knowledge or entertainment. However, with the assumption that infrastructure is available to keep us connected. In a situation of a disaster (e.g. earthquake, flood, and hurricane) this assumption is not valid, and we will need alternative solutions to connect users (people, objects, and their combinations). These solutions, in general, must support high data rates to entertain large number of users and have low latency for mission-critical or real-time tasks (e.g. remote surgery in a disaster). The vision of new wireless technology, the 5G network (5GN), encapsulates many applications e.g. mobile broadband, connected health, and intelligent transportation. To entertain such a wide variety of applications, the 5GN is required to support high data rates, few Gbps, and latency to a fraction of a millisecond as expected by the research communities, telecom manufacturer, and standardization bodies. Due to the support of the high data rates and the low latency, the 5GN is a suitable candidate to provide a reliable and secure connectivity platform in a disaster. However, how a 5GN or existing networks can be functional without infrastructure during a disaster leads to find new innovative solutions. Previously, consumer drones were used to monitor and record information by operators in applications like media coverage and site survey. The consumer drones are now getting much interest in research communities with the capability to offload network traffic in scenarios like a shopping centre, festivals, concerts and sports stadiums. However, most of the research work is limited to the theoretical aspect and still required validation from the experimental domain to improve and design new and more practical systems, particularly to overcome challenges in the situation of a disaster. To design a drone-based communication system, it is important to understand the radio propagation channel. This talk will provide an overview of the drone-based communication system, requirements and challenges particularly to conduct the radio propagation channel measurements and modelling.

Why EDA?

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools enable development of next generation semiconductor devices. Yet few beyond domain experts appreciate the design and algorithm complexity within such tools. Innovation and commitment to software engineering are key requirements for success in this ever-changing product space. In this talk, we will cover what Cadence brings to EDA and why you should consider a role in EDA in your industrial or academic career choices.

Developments in Auditorium Acoustic Design

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Auditorium acoustics is interesting in that objective science and engineering are employed to elicit subjective perceptions and emotions. This lecture discusses the auditorium acoustic design of concert halls, opera houses and theatres. It starts with describing some fundamental requirements for audiences, performers and other stakeholders. Both scientific and other factors are considered. The lecture will then look at how the art and science have developed over the last 35 years. This will include the use of scale and computer modelling, the paradigm shift of auralisation and the integration of architecture and creative digital audio. The scientific and engineering responses to changing artistic and audience needs will be examined.

From circuits to cancer therapy

Tuesday 9 October 2018

The human race has invested about a trillion dollars in the development of semiconductor electronics, and our lives have been improved greatly as a result. Smart devices are now taken for granted and permeate every aspect of our daily lives. One of the important products of this huge investment was the development of EDA, sophisticated design optimization and simulation tools to allow the largely automated design and verification of integrated circuits. Sometimes we in the EDA community do not realize quite how advanced we are in this field, and just how applicable much of the Silicon R&D work is to other areas... This talk will be about one such area, namely that of Cancer Radiation Therapy, where the Radyalis team, working with researchers at the Mayo, Mass General, and St. Jude Hospitals successfully applied knowledge from the VLSI area to radically improve the speed and accuracy of beam dose calculation -a cornerstone of radiation therapy. The result is a commercially viable tool more than 100x faster than the comparably accurate alternative and currently being evaluated by a number of potential partners.

Processing big-data with Nanoscale Memristors

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Recent advancements in nanotechnologies and smart materials have prompted the creation of a new class of devices that compared to conventional CMOS transistors, are capable of achieving ‘more’ functionalities (e.g. multi-bit operation) for ‘less’ energy/space. The ability of memristors to act as electrically tuneable multi-level, non-volatile resistive loads, combined with their inherently scaling-friendly, low power and back-end integrable fabrication processes has rendered them a highly promising candidate for use in emerging memory technologies. Nonetheless, memristive technologies have much more to offer; making the rich landscape of modern electronics design even more diverse. During this talk, I will present some examples from my group’s work on how memristive technologies can be exploited in several practical applications from neuromorphic systems to charge-based computing and even enabling bioelectronics medicines.

Bioelectronic Sensors and Systems

Wednesday 20 June 2018

In this seminar I will describe research at the University of Edinburgh into the development of microfabricated sensors and systems at the interface between biology and electronics. Much of this comes from the IMPACT project (Implanted Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy) which is developing silicon based sensors to measure the microenvironment within a tumour. In addition I will talk about my other work on biomedical applications of microelectronics and microfluidics, including a drug delivery system, impedance based cellular assays and 3D Lab on a Chip systems.

Low-cost and Open-source Swarm Robotic Platforms

Monday 18 June 2018

Bio-inspired Swarm Robotic is a fascinating topic for collaborative multi-robot research studies. The aim is to control a large number of simple robots by applying mechanisms inspired by nature in order to solve common complex tasks. Due to the hardware complexities and cost of robot platforms, current research in swarm robotics is mostly performed by simulation software. The simulation of large numbers of these robots is extremely complex and often inaccurate due to the poor modelling of physical conditions. Therefore, open-source and low-cost platforms (robots and experimental setup) will increase number of research studies conducted using real-world experiments. Two open-source low-cost robots, Mona and Colias, which have been developed as affordable swarm robotic platforms and two swarm robotic systems including: i) Perpetual Robot Swarm which provides long-term autonomy of mobile robots and ii) COSФ which is an inter-robot communication approach based on the bio-inspired pheromone systems will be presented. Currently we are using a combination of these platforms at The University of Manchester to study long-term uninterrupted scenarios in swarm robotics.

A mechanistic opinion about movement in mammals

Wednesday 30 May 2018

In my group, we have been exploring the rules of plasticity amongst the pathways that govern motor activity, via the spinal circuits, related to the hands and legs. Our focus is on the modulation of these spinal circuits during a task and when in disease or dysfunctional states like spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or strokes. We take a mechanical view of the nervous system, exploring the interaction between muscles, neuronal pathways and the environment in both animals and humans, examined by studying the functional outputs from these. We have established the role of co-operation and competition between pathways in short and long temporal scales for effective recovery from injuries influencing motor output, especially during cerebral palsy. In this talk, I will provide some basic evidence for the ideas above and how we are currently developing tools to identify the pathways active in people during specific tasks – synergies, but observing changes that occur within a period enough for a single synaptic event to influence the output without the involvement of the brain. I will give you some evidence for the change in inputs to the same muscles during different but almost identical tasks, suggesting tools that could be useful to allow both clinicians and engineers to develop calibration measures for individual patient. In other words, help stratify the population and diagnosis to know their current state of plasticity, allowing better therapeutics. The wishful thinking here is that it is likely to also aid in defining tools that are more effective in carrying out faster recovery from perturbation or adjusting to the demand.

Integrated Lab-on-Chip biomedical diagnostic chips: Printed Circuit Boards, Printing and beyond…

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Lab-on-Chip technology aspires to shrink biomedical laboratories in few cm microchips, in a technological revolution step analogous to the introduction of computer technology in the 20th century. In this presentation Dr Moschou will provide an overview of this technology and its impact on healthcare. She will then focus on manufacturing techniques for integrated Lab-on-Chip biomedical diagnostic chips and in particular the Lab-on-PCB technology that has been the forefront of her work for the past 8 years.

Network-based approaches to large scale biomedical data integration

Wednesday 21 February 2018

In this talk, Prof. Zheng will highlight her recent work in the development of network-based approaches to large scale biomedical data integration. The application to integrated metagenomics analysis and disease subtypes identification will be presented. The presentation will conclude with the discussion of challenges and opportunities in multiscale computing and multiplex networks.

Inaugural Lecture: Measuring ability in generic skills - should we and can we?

Thursday 1 February 2018

In relation to generic skills, Higher Education faces two fundamental questions: Should we be measuring the ability of students?; and secondly if we should, can we? The talk starts with the "should we" by looking at a model of the student first employment transition and what industry declares it needs. Some current research into the analysis of job adverts tells an interesting story in terms of what skills are sought by industry and, more interestingly how level of ability is articulated. The talk then addresses the obvious question of what are the generic skills and discusses the complexities in terminology and definitions. It then turns to the second question of can we measure ability in generic skills and discusses issues of accuracy, reliability, rater bias and fatigue and certification in relation to public speaking as an examplar. The conclusion? Should we and can we? Come along and find out some of the things that affect our ability to answer these questions and do anything.

The minimally manipulative separation of mammalian cells using surface acoustic wave-induced dielectrophoresis

Wednesday 31 January 2018

The ability to separate specific cell types from heterogeneous cell ensembles is fundamental to a growing number of state-of-the-art and emerging medical procedures. The increasing importance of these therapies is overshadowed by technological shortfalls in the efficient, minimally manipulative enrichment of specific, viable cell populations within intra-operative timescales. In particular, stem cell therapies require rapid, label-free enrichment of target populations to enable single-procedure autologous stem cell transplants, and to avoid post-operative cell expansion using Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facilities. Therefore in order to reduce costs, patient morbidity and complications arising from multiple surgical procedures, a fast, label-free cell separation technology is highly desirable. Current separation techniques (e.g. centrifugation or antibody-based selection such as MACS and FACS) are slow, exhibit poor specificity and/or require laborious and expensive labelling. Here we present a new cell separation technology that employs remote dielectrophoresis, in which an electric field is coupled into a microfluidic channel using surface acoustic waves. This produces an array of virtual-electrodes on the microfluidic channel surface, allowing: (a) dielectrophoretic cell separation without the significant drawbacks of conventional electrode-based dielectrophoresis; (b) direction of different cells into physically distinct channels, allowing continuous-throughput separation; and, (c) compatibility with high conductivity, physiological fluids.

Artificial Gene Regulatory Networks

Wednesday 24 January 2018

The behaviour of a biological cell is governed by a complex network of interactions that occur between genes and their protein products, known as gene regulatory networks. These networks are responsible for almost everything that goes on in biological organisms, from low-level metabolic control up to the high-level patterning of an organism’s body. Although gene regulatory networks are quite different to human-designed computers, the problems they solve are often comparable: for example, the need to process diverse incoming signals in an efficient manner, or to reach robust control decisions in the presence of noise. In this seminar, I’ll be talking about two related research topics in the field of artificial gene regulatory network research. First, the design of computational abstractions of gene regulatory networks, and the use of these for directly solving computational problems on computers. Second, the potential for using computer simulations to design artificial gene regulatory networks for use within biological cells, and how these might one day be used to control disease processes such as cancer.

CMOS Microelectronics for DNA detection using Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors

Wednesday 17 January 2018

In the last decade, we have seen a convergence of microelectronics into the world of healthcare providing novel solutions for early detection, diagnosis and therapy of disease. This has been made possible due to the emergence of CMOS technology, allowing fabrication of advanced systems with complete integration of sensors, instrumentation and processing, enabling design of miniaturised medical devices which operate with low-power. This has been specifically beneficial for the application areas of DNA based diagnostics and full genome sequencing, where the implementation of chemical sensors known as Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors (ISFETs) directly in CMOS has enabled the design of large-scale arrays of millions of sensors that can conduct in-parallel detection of DNA. Furthermore, the scaling of CMOS with Moore’s law and the integration capability with microfluidics has enabled commercial efforts to make full genome sequencing affordable and therefore deployable in hospitals and research labs. In this talk, I present how my lab is advancing the areas of DNA detection and rapid diagnostics through the design of CMOS based Lab-on-Chip systems using ISFETs. I will first introduce the fundamentals and physical properties of DNA as a target molecule and how it can be detected using different modalities through the use of CMOS technology. I will then present methods of design of ISFET sensors and instrumentation in CMOS, in addition to the challenges and limitations that exist for fabrication, providing solutions to allow design of large-scale ISFET arrays for real-time DNA amplification and detection systems. I will conclude with the presentation of state of the art CMOS systems that are currently being used for genomics and point-of-care diagnostics, and the results of our latest fabricated multi-sensor CMOS platform for rapid screening of infectious disease.

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Please contact Helen Smith, Admissions and Research Student Office, for more information.

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Events

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Student Seminars

The Department also runs a programme of Research Student Seminars given by PhD students in their 3rd year of study.