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Research - Biophysical Communication Engineering Laboratory

TLDR: We work on biophysical signal propagation, cellular signal processing, and molecular communication engineering.

Overview

Signalling by tumour cellsOur long-term objective is to use communications and signal processing tools to improve the understanding of biophysical processes and how to interact with them at a microscopic level. As examples, we're interested in answers to the following questions:

  • Could we disrupt signalling to prevent a biofilm from forming or a cancerous tumour from developing?
  • Could we stimulate a neuron to transfer as much information as possible?
  • Could we support a diseased system to maintain signal integrity and prevent degeneration?
  • Could we safely add a network of nanorobots to a body without disrupting natural signalling processes?

Ultimately, we hope that this research can be coupled with advancements in nanotechnology to aid in the advancement of medical treatments and other applications that rely on the release and detection of molecules.

Our underlying research lens is communications engineering. We look at molecular communication as an inter-disciplinary domain at the intersection of communications theory, physical chemistry, and biology. Progress in this field can improve our understanding of biological processes while also enabling the design and deployment of novel communication networks in biological and fluid environments. Novel systems based on molecular communication could advance applications such as targeted drug delivery, sensitive environmental monitoring, and lab-on-a-chip systems.

Below are some of the topics that we are currently working on. You can also refer to our recent work on the Publications page.

Image from Using Game Theory for Real-Time Behavioral Dynamics in Microscopic Populations with Noisy Signaling, submitted for publication (2017).


Transceiver Behavior in Molecular Communication Systems

fig_sketch_cells.pngIn conventional communications analysis, the devices are ideal nodes that operate as intended. For a molecular communication system, this is suitable for establishing tractable limits on communications performance. But in reality, transmitters and receivers might have different intended purposes and may not cooperate as desired, especially if some nodes are normal biological cell and others are manufactured synthetically.

Image from Using Game Theory for Real-Time Behavioral Dynamics in Microscopic Populations with Noisy Signaling, submitted for publication (2017).


Information Theoretic Modeling of Biochemical ProceNeuronal signallingsses

Existing biochemical processes in natural biological systems can be used to transfer large quantities of information. We do not have a complete understanding of how much information is transferred and exactly what this information is. Open questions include how much information is carried in neuron firing spikes and in chemical reactions.

Image from Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Neural_signaling.PNG


Simulation Tools for Molecular Communication

Simulation tools play an important role in verifying analysis and understanding system models. To this end, we are developing AcCoRD (Actor-based Communication via Reaction-Diffusion) as an open source project for simulating molecular communication systems.


Presentation Links

Here are some presentation slides describing the area and some of our contributions:


Contact Details

School of Engineering
Library Road
University of Warwick
Coventry
CV4 7AL

@ adam.noel@warwick.ac.uk

+44 (0) 24 7657 4566



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