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Introduction to Clinical Engineering and Physiological Systems - ELE00085H

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Peter Ellison
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Mathematical and engineering sciences are used to highlight principles governing the function of physiological systems. Simulation of normal and disease states are used in understanding, devising, and testing systems for intervention. This module aims to equip students with the foundational knowledge on the interface between engineering and medicine at the biological, physiological and clinical levels. The module will aim to convey the general engineering principles governing the body coordinating and integrating systems, the design and realisation of such medical devices, and the introduction of technology to hospitals and healthcare settings.

Learning will be achieved through case studies, exercises, models, and laboratory exercises.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Subject content aims:

  • Introduce physical features and engineering principles governing the principal body coordinating and integrating systems.

  • Develop integrative understanding of circulatory, heart (ECG) and brain electrical (EEG) activities, cell membrane, and nervous systems.

  • Develop understanding of the introduction of technology to hospitals and healthcare settings, including the need for a clinical protocol, ethical and regulatory approvals, GDPR compliance, and post-market surveillance procedures.

  • Develop understanding of the clinical need and represent this within Engineering specifications.

Graduate skills aims:

  • Investigate healthcare challenges, needs, and requirements development.

  • Develop system concepts that are derived from requirements, and then realised in physical and process form.

  • The establishment of means to verify, validate, and deploy healthcare systems that address the need and meet requirements.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Describe anatomy, physiology, pathology, biology, and chemistry in the context of biomedical device development.

  • Describe the design and range of medical devices and technology involved to understand pain management, medicine delivery systems, monitoring and evaluating equipment and imaging systems etc.

  • Explain genetic technology and its clinical interpretation.

  • Discuss genetic information and ethics in biomedical device development.

Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Learn about cell culture and tissue engineering, the foundational concepts that come from biology as well as the techniques used.

  • Define the following terms: cell (human), extracellular matrix (ECM), and tissue engineering. State the basic conditions required for in vitro cell culture and explain why they are necessary. Describe different methods that you can use to influence cell behaviour in vitro. Define the basic approaches used in tissue engineering. Explain how bioreactors work and their importance to the in vitro culture of 3D tissues.

  • Learn the basic biological and physiological processes of wound healing, or spontaneous tissue regeneration, and how we can augment healing using regenerative medicine. Define the following terms: tissue regeneration and wound dressing. Describe the process of natural wound healing (spontaneous tissue regeneration). Describe general approaches of regenerative medicine as well as specific approaches of regenerative medicine for healing skin.

  • Learn what biofabrication is, why it can be advantageous compared to other approaches and the principles of 3D bioprinting. Define the following terms: biofabrication and bioink. Describe the tools and methods used to evaluate bioinks. Evaluate which combination of bioink(s) and 3D bioprinting technique could be most suitable for a given application.

Module content

Professional Skills

  • Laboratory practice: Students will be expected to follow good laboratory practice procedures.

  • Health and safety: Students will be introduced to health and safety in the wider context including relevant legislation as it affects product development.

Graduate skills

  • Teamwork: Students will be introduced to the need to establish communications, coordination and control mechanisms within their group to help deliver efficiently and effectively. The groups will be guided in the establishment of these by their academic supervisor. They will be expected to describe their approach and any problems they encountered in their individual report.

  • Research: Students will determine the research needs for their project and seek out appropriate resources. They will be expected to maintain accurate and professional records of their research and report it through accurate and full referencing.

  • Communication: Students will be expected to document the work undertaken in their project to a professional standard, producing appropriate information for technical and non-technical audiences. Examples of technical information include specifications, test reports, etc. Examples of non-technical information include user manuals, etc.

  • Ethics: Groups will be expected to decide, in conjunction with their group academic supervisor, what ethical approval is required and then produce and gain appropriate approval for it.

  • Project management: Students will be introduced to formal project management tools and required to produce a planned and managed project plan.

  • Meetings & meetings management: Students will be expected to record their weekly meetings and track actions allocated. They will be introduced to the concept of Design Reviews and be expected to hold them as part of the project.

  • Risk management: Students will be introduced to risk management as a manageable activity, including how to quantify risks and use a risk register as a tool to manage risks. They will produce a risk register for their project.

  • Time management: Students will be responsible for their own time management and will be expected to write a reflective critique of their time management in the individual section of their project report.


Task Length % of module mark
Individual Project Report
N/A 60
Group Project Demonstration
N/A 40

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will be graded based on their individual performance. Each student will be tasked with a specific role on the mechanical, electronic, software and medical aspects of the project.


Task Length % of module mark
Individual Report Reassessment
N/A 100

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading

Robert Plonsey and Roger C. Barr (2014) Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach. 3rd edition. New York: Springer

Northrop, R.B. (2010) Signals and Systems Analysis In Biomedical Engineering. 2nd edition. Boca Rato: CRC press.

Webster, J.G. (2009) Medical Instrumentation Application and Design. 4th ed. Chichester: Wiley.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.