The Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (the new NIBEC) has evolved from early electro-physiology research conducted by Prof John Anderson some 25 years ago. The original Northern Ireland BioEngineering Centre was formed in 1990 with a strong emphasis on sensors; biomaterials and device miniaturisation.
In recent years the theme of nanotechnology has underpinned much of the work and this led to the opening of a new twin-building in 2003. In 2006 these two research themes combined and the current Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre (new NIBEC) was launched.
A number of research groupings such as the BEST Centre; NanotecNI; NICAM and most recently MATCH are examples of alliances that are housed within the NIBEC structure.
Medical Research: Since the late 60’s Northern Ireland has been at the centre of new methodologies and treatments for sudden cardiac death by combining the application of fundamental science and engineering into the clinical setting. The launch of the first mobile coronary care unit in Belfast in 1966 (Professor Pantridge) demonstrated how effective clinical practice could be achieved through the collaboration of best scientific practice into applied medicine.
During the last 50 years this valuable work has continued and many innovative devices and systems have evolved at NIBEC, particularly in the fields of defibrillation, connected health, body surface mapping, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, sensors, point of care monitoring and implantable cardiovascular devices.
RVH Links: A collegial grouping of staff between NIBEC and the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast (RVH) now exists (CACR) with strengths in fundamental physiology, cardiovascular modelling, material science and clinical practice in the provision of a focused vehicle to inculcate best scientific practice into the clinical setting.
NIBEC at Present: The Centre, managed by Professor Jim McLaughlin since 2001, today hosts ten research groups with over eighty researchers. The facilities cover over 2000 sq. m. and boast some of the world’s finest instrumentation. A much stronger emphasis is now on developing a basic understanding of nanomaterials and how this technology can be applied to medical devices. Themes such as Connected Health, Tissue Engineering and Clean Technology and Nanomaterials are dominating activities. The centre has been successful in the area of technology transfer with numerous filed patents and a succession of spin-out ventures such as Intelesens (formerly ST&D Ltd), Heartsine, Heartscape and a new spin-in SiSAF.
Dr Christiaan Barnard, the South African surgeon who conducted the first heart transplant operation, opened NIBEC's new EU-funded building in 1994 and in 2004, Nobel Laureate Professor Ivar Giaever opened the new Nanotechnology wing.
Prof Manish Chhowalla, Rutgers University, USA
IOPI Lecture: Chemically exfoliated 2D Materials: Disorder engineering as route for enhancing functionality; Venue: NIBEC, 4 pm on Wednesday 16 October 2013