Embedded Systems and Ultrasound for Robotics

You will build on the outstanding track record of the Instrumentation and Ultrasound group (led by Steve Freear) which has excellent research in ultrasound sensing and therapeutics for medical applications and a significant portfolio of industrially-funded research in the area of industrial inspection and monitoring. Over the REF 2014 period, the group attracted a research portfolio in excess of £3M. Sources of funding varied with EPSRC (EP/I000623/1 Engineering therapeutic microbubbles and EP/K029835/1 Sound bullets for enhanced biomedical ultrasound systems) supporting blue skies medical research. The microbubble project focussed on a new therapeutics for colorectal cancer, which is a strong interdisciplinary theme at Leeds. The group was successful in a Leverhulme Fellowship application (Nano-bombs for breast cancer diagnosis). The group has a rapidly-developing portfolio of patents with 5 recent submissions.

A significant strand of the research relates to ultrasonic instrumentation underpinned by embedded system design – particularly advanced digital signal processing hardware using FPGA platforms. The group has successfully attracted significant sources of industrial funding due to the broad technology appeal, including: National Grid, BP, PACE, Speir Hunter, GL DNV, Ardent, MMI Engineering, Sellafield, TSB and fostered 4 KTPs. Embedded systems is recognised as a broad platform that brings together elements of signal processing, sensing, computing, robotics and communications. This broad technology platform can therefore allow a fertile mix of high risk fundamental research balanced with more applications-driven industrially-funded research.

The main focus of your research will be on embedded systems for ultrasonics in surgical and inspection robotics. This is already a research topic featured in the National Facility for Innovative Robotics Systems and this post will strengthen and expand this theme. Surgical and inspection robotics are two of the three key areas of research of the new Centre for Mechatronics & Robotics.

Ultrasonic techniques have applications not only in diagnosis but also in therapeutics. Therefore the group is already part of the recent robotics activity which will combine robotic positioning systems with targeted therapies for breast cancer involving high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) and photoacoustics. The group received circa £150k equipment investment through the robotics Facility to stimulate this activity, which builds on a significant investment in laboratory infrastructure.

University Grade 8 (£38,511 to £45,954)

For informal enquiries about the role please contact Dr Steve Freear, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, tel: +44 (0)113 343 2087, email: S.Freear@leeds.ac.uk.

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