Biomedical engineering related research is a thrust area at the University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka, recognized by its Office of Research. Research at the Departments of Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering cover both characterization of tissues and diagnostic tools. The Electronics Engineering Department also offers a specialization in biomedical engineering.
In December 2016, Dr. Angelo Karunaratne, a senior lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his PhD student Mr Harshana Senevirathna visited Diamond Light Source, UK to perform cutting edge experiments. Diamond Light Source Ltd. is a particle accelerator and the biggest research facility in the UK that uses high brilliance synchrotron X-rays for multidisciplinary research. This experimental time was awarded to Dr. Karunaratne as a result of his continuing research collaboration with Imperial College London, where he worked as a postdoctoral research associate before returning to Moratuwa in 2015.
During this visit Mr Senevirathna obtained extensive training on operating equipment at this state of art research facilities and performed experiments using in-situ micromechanical testing combined with X-ray diffraction techniques. This is part of a Moratuwa University Senate Research Committee grant on “Development of a multi-scale functional model for early prediction of fracture risk in bone diseases”. The research involves obtaining osteoporotic bone specimens from orthopedic surgeons in Sri Lanka and investigating the nanoscale deformation mechanisms of diseased bone specimens, in order to develop a model which will leads to early clinical intervention. Their visit was partly funded by the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka and Diamond Light Source Ltd, UK. In addition to the direct benefit to the research, this collaboration will help Moratuwa University to develop the already established bio-medical lab to international standards.
Dr Karunaratne is also developing a further collaboration with Imperial College under Prof Anthony Bull’s leadership towards improving the care of civilian blast injuries. The proposal, which targets a grant from the National Institute for Health Research in the U.K., involves identifying patient characteristics that have led to early avoidable amputation; providing immediate surgeon education for limb salvage/amputation using state of the art techniques; and developing technology for an osteoconductive/inductive 3D printed bioabsorbable scaffold for meta/diaphyseal defects.