8th IST / FMUL Biomedical Engineering Meeting 2010-2011
Another edition of the Biomedical Engineering Annual Meeting took place on 17 November 2010. These meetings are carried out by turns at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FMUL) and at the Higher Technical Institute (IST). This year it was ITS’ turn. The session also celebrated the 10th year of the entry of the first student contingent in the Biomedical Engineering degree. This degree, which is now an Integrated Master Degree, has met with huge success, both in terms of student demand and in the employment rate of graduates. The degree is the result of a close partnership between IST, which is responsible for organising the degree and 80% of the classes, and FMUL, responsible for 20% of classes. It is the only degree in Biomedical Engineering in the whole country with a partnership with a Faculty of Medicine, which is an obvious advantage, not only in terms of teaching of contents, but also because it allows deeper contact with the medical reality.
The target audience of the Biomedical Engineering Annual Meeting is students and alumni of the Degree in Biomedical Engineering, and aims to expose and debate multiple intervention areas in this field. Each session has the participation of speakers from FMUL, IST and guests from other institutions.
The 2010 meeting focused on Regenerative Medicine, Neuroelectronics and Multimodal Imagiology. The opening session had the presence of Professor Cruz Serra, President of IST, and of Professor J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Director of FMUL. Both stressed the two institutions’ interest in maintaining and extending their interaction in the fields of Biomedical Engineering, both within the Lisbon Medical Academic Centre, which involves FMUL, Santa Maria Hospital and the Institute of Molecular Medicine, and within the recently created Department of Bioengineering at IST, in addition to units for research in Biomedicine associated with the two institutions.
In the session on Regenerative Medicine, Professor Manuel Abecassis, Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Programme of the Portuguese Cancer Institute, participated actively. Besides addressing issues related with transplants, he focused on the importance of developing new technologies, which have helped reduce the risks associated with transplants and speed up processes regarding bone marrow donation. This was followed by the presentation of Professor Domingos Henrique, from FMUL, who spoke about technology based on stem cells. In the same vein, Professor Cláudia Lobato da Silva, from IST, spoke about technological aspects to increase the efficacy of increasing stem cells use at a clinical scale, and their application to the transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells.
The session on neuroelectronics was attended by Professor Myriam Pannetier-Lecoeur, from the Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission Sacley, France, who talked about recent advances in the conception of magnetic signal sensors and their potential application to Magnetic Resonance, paving the way for imaging techniques using low intensity magnetic fields. This was followed by the presentation by Ana M. Sebastião (FMUL) on micro-eletrophysiological records in distinct types of neuronal contacts (synapses), and who addressed some scientific issues that can provide an answer to this methodological approach. Afterwards, Professor Susana Cardoso (IST) spoke about issues related to the construction of magnetic sensors to record magnetic currents formed by action potentials in neurons. The neuroelectronics session ended with the presentation of Professor Moisés Piedade (IST) on the development of visual prostheses based on acquisition electronic circuits and signal processing.
The session on Multimodal Imagiology started with a presentation by Professor Louis Lemieux, holder of bachelor degree and PhD in Physics, and currently a member of the Neurology Institute of the University College London. He argued how quantitative electroencephalograms (EEG) can be combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect causal relations in neural networks. This was followed by a presentation made by Professor Sónia Gonçalves, holder of a first degree in Physics by IST and of a PhD in Biophysics by the University of Lisbon, and currently a member of the Medicine Academic Centre of the University of Amsterdam. She also talked about the applications of the simultaneous recording of EEG-fMRI in the study of neural networks. The session ended with the presentation of Professor Alberto Leal, a neurologist at Júlio de Matos Hospital in Lisbon, who highlighted the importance of using multimodal techniques of imagiological and functional evaluation in epilepsy surgery decision-making processes.
As usual in this type of meetings, the last session was attended by graduates in Biomedical Engineering or similar degrees. This year the session was titled Biomedical Engineering beyond the University, and was attended by Hugo Gambôa (PLUX Wireless Biosignals), Cláudia Ranito (Medbone) and Nuno Gonçalves (S24 Group), who spoke about their experience in the corporate world, particularly in companies they set up themselves, or helped to set up.
Ana M. Sebastião
Pharmacology and Neuroscience Institute of the Faculty of Medicine and
Neuroscience Unit of the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Lisbon