The nervous system in both normal and pathological conditions is a central in modern bioengineering as a field of study, from both the application - just think of prostheses, rehabilitation, humanoid robotics - and the methodological point of view, as it requires a multi-level approach, ranging from genes to neurons to cognitive and behavioral mechanisms, with contributions from various disciplines.
The main fields of application include: (i) experimental and analytical technologies and methods to study the human brain and neuronal populations; (ii) tools and assays for neuro-pharmacology and neuro-toxicology; (iii) rehabilitation and assistive technologies, based on neural interfaces and advanced human-machine interfaces; and (iv) artificial systems capable of emulating human sensory, motor and cognitive functions.
This track aims to train professionals able to translate advances in neuroscience into the development of advanced technologies for the study of the brain and for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neurological and cognitive disorders.
We offer two curricula, one more oriented to neural technologies and the other more to rehabilitation applications (rehabilitation, assistance, prostheses).
- The Neuroengineering and Neurotechnologies curriculum (T1C1) focuses on the study of the molecular, cellular and computational basis of neuron population dynamics, related instrumentation and analysis and modeling techniques, also through the construction of biomorphic or neuromorphic artifacts.
This path will provide an in-depth knowledge of the technologies for neuro-electronic interfaces and neural and myoelectric control prostheses, as well as of the technologies and design methodologies for the construction of machines, systems and services capable of learning and adapting to the environment according to mechanisms inspired by biology.
- The Rehabilitation Engineering and Interaction Technologies curriculum (T1C2) provides skills related to the study of perception and sensorimotor control and the use of information technologies to improve the quality of life of people with neuro-motor and cognitive disabilities.
This path will focus on the tools and the technologies for the evaluation of impairment, the promotion of recovery and/or the replacement of sensory, motor and cognitive functions that may be compromised due to direct or indirect alterations of the nervous system.
All courses in these curricula are offered in English.
Engineering for personalized medicine
New developments in technology and demographic changes are profoundly modifying medicine which, compared to the model traditionally centered on the symptomatic treatment of acute diseases, is increasingly evolving towards a modality centered on identifying the individual risks of developing diseases on the basis of genetic profiles and other personal information (prediction); methods and tools to avoid, reduce and monitor the risk of developing pathologies (prevention); clinical interventions based on the unique genetic, medical and environmental characteristics of each individual person (personalization); involvement of the patient in determining the therapeutic pathways (participation). These characteristics are often summarized in the term '4P medicine' (predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory).
The prerequisites of personalized medicine are a diagnostic/therapeutic offer and a healthcare management model which is increasingly based on the integration and processing of large amounts of data of various types (genetics, clinical history, advanced diagnostics).
This track aims at training professionals who will contribute to this revolution, providing them with the necessary tools to develop innovative therapies, devices, services and processes to support human health from a perspective of predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine.
We offer two training paths (curricula), one more focused on materials and devices and the other more on data and information technologies.
- The T2C1 Materials and devices for personalized medicine curriculum focuses on the application of materials technologies, cell and tissue engineering for the design and evaluation of high-tech medical-surgical devices (such as prostheses and artificial organs) and on the development of therapeutic approaches characterized by personalization of treatment and precision in administration.
- The T2C2 Information and Communication Technologies for personalized medicine curriculum focuses on using information technologies for diagnosis, therapy and prevention with the direct involvement of the patient in the treatment path. This includes the development of diagnostic tools and devices based on bio-imaging, bio-signals, genetic information; telemedicine, biomedical robotics, wearable devices for monitoring, prevention, treatment and assistance; the design and management of hospitals and health systems centered on the needs of the patient and on taking charge of situations of fragility.