Biomedical Engineering involves the application of engineering principles to understand, modify, or control biological systems. The objective is to generate solutions to health-related problems. This area is diverse and multi-disciplinary, taking concepts from chemistry, mechanics, biochemistry, cell biology, and physiology. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities, research efforts in this field within the Department of Chemical Engineering revolve around polymer biomaterials, microfluidics, tissue engineering, and biosensors. The Biomedical Engineering Group covers the spectrum of concerns — from fundamental, basic science questions to bench-to-bedside translational research through collaborations with clinical, basic, and engineering researchers at Queen’s, throughout Canada, and abroad. This stimulating research environment provides an excellent training experience at all levels, from undergraduate to postgraduate.

The group’s existing strengths include the synthesis and characterization of polymer biomaterials for use as implantable drug delivery devices and as cell scaffolds for regenerative medicine and soft connective tissue engineering, stem-cell-based tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. 

The group’s emerging strengths include additive manufacturing for tissue engineering scaffold preparation (see Figure 1), investigating the material-host tissue interaction both in vitro and in vivo (see Figure 2), microbioreactor design, systems biology, and biosensor development. Research in this area frequently involves collaboration with colleagues at Queen’s (e.g. Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), as well as researchers at other Canadian universities.

A researcher uses an emerging 3D printing process called melt electrowriting
Figure 1: A researcher uses an emerging 3D printing process called melt electrowriting. He uses it to form structures from biodegradable polymers that can be used in combination with stem cells and bioreactors to create replacement load-bearing soft connective tissue.
A researcher studies biomedical polymers in zebrafish embryos
Figure 2: A researcher studies biomedical polymers in zebrafish embryos to better understand how the cells of our immune system recognize materials used in medical devices and how to improve integration between implanted materials and living tissues.

Members of the group include the Donald and Joan McGeachy Chair in Biomedical Engineering, a Fellow of the EIC and a Fellow of the Society of Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Members have also received the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) Mind to Market Award, the Queen’s University Chancellor’s Research Award, a Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal, and two Premier’s Research Excellence Awards.