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Physiological Signals and Systems

The specialization physiological signals and systems is part of the Master's programme Biomedical Engineering.

The Biomedical Engineering track Physiological Signals and Systems is the right choice if you are intrigued by the human central nervous system and the analysis of biological functioning. Specific systems of interest within the participating research groups of this Master's specialization are the central nervous system, the cardiopulmonary system, the endocrine system and the human movement system. After your master's, you will contribute to the development of new concepts for the prediction, therapy and/or prevention of health problems.

What is Physiological signals and systems?

The specialization Physiological Signals and Systems (PSS) focusses on the development of technological solutions for health and clinical problems in which human physiological systems are dysfunctional due to trauma or disease. The research groups that participate in the PSS track perform cutting-edge scientific work that covers topics such as analyzing models of the brain to gain a better understanding of diseases like epilepsy, studying how electrical stimuli can restore impaired body functions (like Parkinson and strokes) or the development of improved diagnostics and novel treatments for clinical neurology. Often, the research is related to specific clinical questions from the healthcare sector.

Key research areas

The TechMed research groups participating in the track Pysiological Signals and Systems offer rich environments, in which TechMed researchers collaborate with clinicians, patients and the industry on the development of innovative technological solutions. Examples of key research areas are:

  • Research about the possibilities of deep brain stimulation to improve posture and movement control.
  • Research into the development of therapies for people with chronic pain, in which mathematical models are used to predict clinical results.
  • The development of new techniques for the improvement of brain monitoring in the intensive care unit with a focus on detecting epileptiform discharges and ischemia.  

Read more below in more detail about research within a few research groups that are linked to this Master's track.

Clinical Neurophysiology (CNPH)

Examples of the research group Clinical Neurophysiology (CNPH):

  • Epilepsy: How are changes in cortical excitability involved in epileptic insults and can we monitor these changes for prevention or improvement and evaluation of treatment?
  • Cerebral ischemia: How can we build and validate models to understand the effects of cerebral ischemia after ischemic stroke or cardiac arrest on neural function and EEG?
Biomedical Signals and Systems (BSS)

Examples of the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems (BSS):

  • Parkinson’s disease: How can we optimize deep brain stimulation and visual cueing techniques for treatment of tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity and freezing symptoms?
  • Chronic pain: How can we build psychophysical and neurophysiological diagnostic tools for early detection of dysfunctions in the pain system and develop novel neuromodulation techniques for treatment of chronic pain?
  • Diabetes Mellitus: How can we measure food intake during the daily life of patients, predict the effect of food intake on future glucose levels and guide the patient in momentary dietary choices and in developing a healthy lifestyle?

This specialization is integrated in the inspiring and innovative Technical Medical Centre of the University of Twente, which aims to improve healthcare by personalized technology. It is connected to the multi-disciplinary research domain Medical Physiology which has an ambition to improve diagnostics, therapy, prevention and management of cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological diseases. 

Future developments

Due to our ageing society, not only the number of patients seeking help for their health problems is increasing, but the health problems they report are also more complex (multimorbidity). As a consequence, in many cases the conventional ‘one size fits all’ treatment approach is no longer sufficient and a more personalized treatment is needed. Furthermore, there is an ongoing development of patient monitoring and treatment outside the hospital using eHealth technology, exploiting analysis and interpretation of data from existing and novel sensing methods in the wider clinical and daily life context using machine learning methods. In each of these developments, graduates of this Biomedical Engineering specialization play an important role. 

Programme structure

The first year of the specialization Physiological Signals and Systems of Biomedical Engineering consists of compulsory courses and electives that are pre-structured fit to this track, supplemented by a free choice of electives. In the second year you will do an internship and complete your master thesis. Below you can read more about what you will learn and be working on, as well as the curriculum. 

What you will learn and will be working on

In order to develop new concepts for the prediction, diagnosis, therapy and the prevention of health problems, as a student Physiological Signals and Systems you will learn to apply in-depth knowledge and understanding of two overall fundamentals. This includes physical principles of electricity, magnetism, mechanics and fluids, as well as the anatomy and physiology of human functional systems of interest. Furthermore, you will learn how to interact with these systems using sensing and filtering principles to measure, and using actuation and control principles to influence relevant physical or physiological quantities inside and outside the human body.

You will use your expertise to translate these new concepts into prototype medical devices, procedures or services that can be used in clinical practice or during daily life for monitoring or restoration of physiological systems functionality and/or for supporting healthy behavior and lifestyle. You closely collaborate with stakeholders like clinicians, patients and industry to design these prototypes, collect and analyze new data about health problems or prototype performance in patients or healthy subjects, and explain and predict findings by modeling and simulation.

Curriculum of Physiological Signals and Systems

The Biomedical Engineering programme 'Physiological Signals and Systems' consists of a mix of core courses and electives, enabling you to create your own tailor-made Master’s programme.

An overview of the curriculum* to get an impression:

Year 1

Year 2 

  • 15 credits devoted to an external internship
  • 45 credits devoted to graduation assignment and thesis

*Curriculum of 2019-2020, subject to change. 

Career Physiological Signals & Systems

After completing the specialization Physiological Signals & Systems of the Master's programme Biomedical Engineering, a wide variety of career options will await. You could pursue a (science) career in research at universities or highly recognised research institutes. You could also work at large companies that focus on new products and services for the healthcare industry. Read more about the various career opportunities.

How to apply for this specialization

If you are interested to sign up for our track Physiological Signals & Systems, you will have to apply for the Master's Programma Biomedical Engineering first. Students that obtained or that are about to obtain their diploma outside of the Netherlands can take part in our eligibility check, giving an indication of their chances of being admitted. Find out more about admission here.

Interested in pursuing Physiological Signals & Systems?
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