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Research University - Warsaw University of Technology

Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering

(English subtitles available)

Global and local challenges

The most serious health risk for the Polish population in the coming years are the civilization diseases: cardiovascular diseases (including hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke), malignant tumors, kidney diseases, diabetes and obesity, mental illnesses (including depression) or dementia diseases. Therefore, research works concerning broadly understood biotechnology and biomedical engineering, in particular the development of new diagnostic methods, as well as new effective forms of therapy of civilization diseases, especially in the domain of oncology and cardiology, are an important goal of the scientific policy of European countries and are consistent with national scientific research programs. Research in the healthcare field, in particular the development of diagnostic techniques, new drugs and regenerative medicine, is the dominant scientific area of many medical universities and should be extended to technical universities. A good example of this synergy is the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) with its outstanding

international position. Therefore, a sharper focus should be given to multicenter and interdisciplinary scientific projects involving engineers, computer scientists but also chemists, biochemists, molecular biologists, physicians and pharmacologists, to achieve significant progress in biotechnology and biomedical engineering. Such research policy, vital for keeping Europe globally competitive, is important from the point of view of society and public health. It is highly innovative in character and important in terms of future applications.

Scientific excellence

The Warsaw University of Technology is a technical university where many R&D teams operate at the interface between technics, technology with a wide range of BIO area.

This synergy is one of the four "strategic thematic areas of research and the development of technology in Poland", incorporating an essential element of biology, medicine and other areas of the life sciences.

The selected subfields within the framework of the "POB" in Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering:

  • design of receptor layers and the development of new (bio)sensors and (bio)assays for the determination of important analytes as well as the synthesis and modification of nanoparticles for applications in bioanalytics and theranostics;
  • studies and development of novel analytical methods in bioanalytics and clinical analytics using miniaturized analytical systems Lab-on-a-Chip. Research and development within biomedical sciences have the highest priority in the whole world and their dynamic progress are observed;
  • the research concerns dynamics of dispersed systems (colloids in a micro- and nanometric scale) and complex fluids in the relation to biomedical applications, including drug delivery systems and toxicity assessment;
  • design and construction of (bio)sensors and sensor array systems useful in bioanalytical applications – from environmental and process monitoring to medical diagnostics, with a particular focus on the fabrication of miniaturized devices using electrochemical transducers electronic tongue systems;
  • research in the area of "Biosurfactants and biopolymers" covers basic research and industrial applications of surface activity of natural molecules;
  • research concerns new methods and their software implementations for the analysis of images of various types of lesions of tissues, addressed both to descriptions of detailed objects, as well as contextual analyzes of large-area data.

Research plans

In October 2016, the Interdisciplinary Platform for Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering of the Warsaw University of Technology (InterBioMed_PW) was established. It brings together over 30 research and development teams from 10 faculties interested in cooperation within the University (including cooperation of doctoral students or teaching) and coordinated application for projects. The aim of the Platform is to create at the Warsaw University of Technology a network of integrated and closely cooperating specialized research laboratories based on individuals already having extensive experience in the fields of biotechnology, bioengineering and bioinformatics. Such a large concentration of research teams dealing with the subject of Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering creates a good basis for conducting advanced interdisciplinary research in this field.

The Warsaw University of Technology has also rooms and laboratory infrastructure in the framework of the BioNanoTechMed Platform, located in Building Technology (BT) Centre for AdvancedMaterials and Technologies (CEZAMAT).

This set of laboratories and research infrastructure was founded with a view to the implementation of research and development in the area of biotechnology, medical diagnosis, therapeutic systems, bioengineering, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Description of the objectives and implemented the work has been included in the annex (POB_Platforma_BioNanoTechMed).

One of the basic elements of the planned research is the search for new diagnostic methods. The fact that these studies do not require the involvement of as large financial resources as searching for innovative drugs or new therapeutic techniques is very important from the point of view of international development opportunities.

As we are looking for diagnostic techniques that are as noninvasive as possible, our research work does not require expensive clinical studies. As a result, it can be successfully carried out by academic laboratories, such as those concentrated around Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering. The new diagnostic techniques sought as part of the work of the teams gathered within this POB are designed to help physicians to make quick decisions about the course of further therapy (it is of great importance, for example, when it is necessary to quickly determine whether the patient has been effectively dialyzed) and allow the patient to easily monitor the course of treatment and disease development at home, in the way comparable to the one used in today’s pregnancy tests or urine drug tests. The use of advanced materials and technologies allows the development of new analytical tools with increased selectivity and sensitivity, designed to analyze a wide spectrum of bioanalytes. An important element of the work is the search and synthesis of dedicated molecular receptors which upon introducing into the chemosensitive layers, create sensors with unique metrological parameters that are competitive in relation to biochemical analytical methods. Due to the excessive use of nonrenewable resources, research in the field of biotechnology is increasingly aimed at replacing previously used synthetic products. Research aimed at the further analysis of these phenomena, conducted as part of the Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering research area will help to build a strong position of Polish science and economy in the field that is the focus of interest not only for university research groups in Europe, Asia (Japan, China) or the US, but also for the companies such as Unilever or Procter & Gamble.

The planned research in the area related to biotechnology is crucial for improving the well-being of the society and is of great application importance, which is documented, among others, by cooperation with domestic and foreign entrepreneurs. The results of these studies are published in good and very good peer-reviewed journals), and the research is funded under the National Science Centre and National Centre for Research and Development. The works to be implemented are in line with the National Research Program (towards civilization diseases, new medicines and regenerative medicine), the objectives of the state's scientific policy and will have a major impact on the development of science, innovation and the national economy.

The conducted research has significant development potential, due to its importance for modern medicine, including the effectiveness of drug delivery and controlled drug release, personalized medicine and the development of new (bio)sensors, (bio)assays and point-of-care devices. The miniaturization of diagnostic devices allow, among other things, the transfer of complicated determinations from clinical laboratories to nonlaboratory conditions, which promotes their widespread application. The work on the synthesis and modification of nanoparticles used in theranostics should also be considered future-proof. The work on digital data analysis, including images of microscope preparations or respiratory parameters obtained from the impedance pneumograph, has considerable development potential.

The new biosurfactants and biopolymers investigated, thanks to the significant increase in the understanding of their mechanisms of action and their unique adsorption properties, will form the basis of new cosmetic formulations. Moreover, work carried out in the field of brain-inspired electronics for the development of new electron technologies is important in telecommunications, multimedia, data acquisition and storage, and the development of artificial intelligence.

The research in biotechnology and biomedical engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology is possible thanks to funds from various research projects (Polish and international ones, including these won in cooperation with centers conducting research in the field of medicine), research cooperation with pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, as well as financial contribution of companies commercializing the results of conducted research. These activities will result in improved effectiveness of scientific research, which, in turn, will translate into an increased number of scientific publications and conference presentations.

Education

Students of the first and second cycle studies and especially students pursuing diploma theses (mainly students of Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Process Engineering) are involved in the conducted research. In particular, the framework of the second-cycle studies is strictly linked with the currently conducted research work, on the basis of which the didactic content of many subjects is formulated. It refers, among others, to Sensors and biosensors, Analytical methods in biotechnology, Pharmaceutical product engineering, Transport processes in living organisms, Bioprocesses, Cell cultures, Neuroinformatics and neuroimaging or Biomaterials. It is worth emphasizing that the cooperation developed with both Polish and foreign research entities, and companies, allows adapting the programs of studies and ongoing research to global trends as well as current and future market needs. Importantly, the research in the field of biotechnology and biomedical engineering involves PhD students, many of whom carry their studies in a framework of prestigious research projects financed from both European and national funds. PhD studies are also conducted in cooperation with other scientific entities, including Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology and the University of Warsaw, which gives a broader scientific perspective and allows the access to the most modern research techniques. In cooperation with various companies which are active in the field of biotechnology and biomedical engineering, the so-called implementation PhD studies are carried out.

They allow access to the best scientific knowledge, to the employees of these companies and simultaneously bring the research closer to the market reality. Such PhD studies also allow confronting the conducted research with the experience resulting from working in the bio-industry.

Human capital

Biotechnology and biomedical engineering area includes over 100 researchers at WUT specialised in biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering, physics, material sciences, electrical and mechanical engineering.