In the medical technologies research theme at the Furtwangen University Institute for Applied Research, interdisciplinary research in medicine and engineering is carried out in the following areas:
- Ventilation systems of the future
- Molecular diagnostics and biomarkers
- Statistics in biology and medicine
- Microbiology and hygiene
- Tumour biology
- Cardiovascular engineering and simulation
- Exercise medicine and und physiological stress diagnostics
Research work is carried out in close cooperation with companies in the medical engineering sector and with hospitals worldwide. They are also involved in teaching of students in the Medical and Biomedical Engineering programmes at Furtwangen University through the assignment and supervision of thesis, course project work and doctoral work.
The interdisciplinary Innovation and transfer partnership CoHMed - Connected Health in Medical Mountains is sponsored through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, "Strong universities of applied sciences - impulse for the region (FH-Impuls)" funding stream. HFU is one of only 10 universities in Germany which receives funding in this programme.
Innovative ventilation systems allow doctors to predict patients' reactions to different therapy parameters. Furthermore, on request, the systems can indicate optimal ventilation settings based on a patient's pathology. Mathematic models enable the precise calculation of a patient's reactions using a vast variety of simulations that far exceed the replication of the mechanics of the human respiratory system. For more information, please visit our website.
The focus of this area of research is the identification and development of biomarkers in personalized and predictive medicine, particularly for applications in molecular diagnostics, therapy control and therapy optimization. This includes potential markers of all types of biomolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites) as well as aspects of pathobiochemistry and the systemic biology (data integration) with emphasis on (mi)RNA and metabolites. Methods employed include micro-arrays, nucleic acid sequencing and metabolomics (mass spectrometry).
Design, modification and principles of new analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nano-particles are a further area of focus.
In the area of lipid-carried cellular signal transmission for pathomechanisms, sphingolipid-carried mechanisms are also examined, using for example synthesis and the application of bioactive model compounds.
Nowadays statistical evaluation methods play a central role in the life sciences. The main reason for this is the technological advances in high-throughput biochemical analysis of intracellular processes, such as RNA/DNA Microarrays or Next Generation Sequencing which have revolutionized biological research and are the foundation for innovation in clinical medicine and industry. However, utilizing these data to improve our understanding of the living world and to develop useful applications in biotechnology and medicine remain separate and challenging propositions. This type of analysis results in huge amounts of raw data.
Since the 1990s, many hospitals have collected the data in patient data management systems (PDMS). All diagnoses and therapies for individual patients is entered and can be centrally-accessed by hospital medical staff such as doctors and carers. The ability to access patient information is also important for hospital administrative staff for planning and costing purposes.
The enormous amounts of data in these databanks can only be adequately evaluated and used by the hospitals by means of specially-developed bio-informational and bio-statistical methods. It is important to have reliable statistical methods which produce very little or no variance.
Microbiology is the science and study of micro-organisms, organisms which are invisible to the naked eye such as bacteria and fungii. Micro-organisms can be found in huge numbers almost everywhere. For human beings they can be deadly pathogens or vital symbionts. The following are currently the main research topics of the Microbiology and Hygiene AG at HFU:
- symbiotic and pathogenic human microbe interaction, particularly in the area of digestive and skin microbiology
- hygiene research in the workplace, the household and in body hygiene
The research projects focus on the isolation and identification of micro-organisms from many different sample types, the evaluation of the findings with respect to their importance for human health, and the development of measures for targeted manipulation of microbiota in the samples examined.
The work group is also working with HFU biotechnological projects on the cultural and molecular-biological characterisation of microbe communities in fermentation plants.
- Bilateral R&D industrial cooperation in the area of "Microbiology and Hygiene"
The development, growth and metastasis of tumours is controlled by complex interactions within the body. To examine the exact process, in vitro tissue models are used. The use of such models allows defined growth conditions to be simulated and individual processes in tumour growth to be researched. The 3-dimensional tissue models create conditions which are as realistic as possible.
Research focuses on the development of 3-D tumour tissue models and microfluid models to examine tumour-induced new building of cells and cell-related tumour processes.
The focus and core of this work is the development of medical simulators specifically adapted to the particular requirements of cardiovascular engineering. Current simulators are the basis for new developments in the fields of cardiovascular and anaesthetic engineering, miniature bypass systems, and innovative ventilation systems. It serves as a platform for the development of software for medical devices and for the continuing technical training of doctors and medical staff. Further information is also available at: www.cardiosim.de.
This research area looks at the health-supporting effect of physical activity and the development and optimisation of measurement methods to record and document the resulting physical adaptation processes. The target group of the scientific developments are healthy people and patients, e.g. for secondary prevention or rehabilitation through movement therapy. A further focus is the software-supported, algorithmic evaluation and analysis of the physical ability in all secondary aspects. Focus of the research here includes the development and examination of the appropriate information and motivation systems.