Biomedical engineering


Biomedical engineering is a discipline that integrates principles and methods from engineering and the life sciences to develop technologies and solutions that improve healthcare delivery, diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes. It applies engineering principles and techniques to address challenges in biology and medicine, ranging from molecular and cellular level interactions to the design of medical devices and healthcare systems. It is a very interdisciplinary field, combining the expertise of engineers with that of biologists, clinicians, physiotherapists, etc. Our institute is contributing to the development of these principles and techniques

  • for the characterization of tissues and organs,
  • towards designing innovative devices for rehabilitation and care, and
  • for using mechanical toolbox to understand the dynamics of soft and hard tissues.

For the first, the aim of the ContrasT Team ( is to apply a combinatory research approach, encompassing experiments, characterization and computational modelling, to solve different research questions in biomechanics and biomedical engineering. This groups has a strong expertise in 3D imaging, in particular contrast-enhanced X-ray microfocus computed tomography (CECT), enabling to visualize and structurally analyze multiple biological tissues – the technique is referred to as 3D X-ray based histology. When combining this with mechanical loading inside the CT device (i.e. 4D-CECT), the ex-vivo mechanical behavior of multi-tissue structures, such as the blood vessel wall or intravascular stents being inflated within arteries, can be accurately assessed. Combining these imaging techniques with computational models could bring new knowledge about the functional behavior of different biological tissues, such as the effect of balloon angioplasty on the remodelling of the blood vessel wall, etc.


Concerning the second, our institute is active in the development of medical device prototypes for movement rehabilitation and assistance, i.e. bionic prostheses, rehabilitation robots, and exoskeletons. We combine our expertise in (electro)mechanical design and advanced control with clinical needs encountered by real patients. These could be people with either traumatic injuries, such as amputation, or neural disorders, such as stroke or Parkinson Disease. Via the Louvain Bionics research center, we pay a particular attention to develop our solutions with a "patient-oriented perspective", i.e. by including a large amount of clinical validations with patients and clinicians/therapists in the design process. On top of that, we run projects in the field of bio-robotics, i.e. the design and control of robots being directly inspired by performance and behavior of their living counterparts (humans or animals).

Finally, for the latter, we further leverage our long-standing expertise in multi-body modeling and simulation to understand fundamental aspects of human movements, in particular regarding the interactions between muscles, tendons, bones, and the environment during static posture and dynamic movements. We have developed advanced models of the spinal cord to quantify and predict intervertebral muscle force in healthy and pathological states. This helps for instance to guide therapeutic decisions during rehabilitation.