Digital Health Research
We have a large portfolio of research projects funded by UK research councils, H2020, charities and industry.
You can find a selection of our current research projects below, please click on the titles or contact the PI to learn more.
SPHERE is an EPSRC-funded Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (2013-2023, £11.7M, EP/K031910/1 + £3.6M, EP/R005273/1), with a vision to impact a range of healthcare needs by employing data-fusion and pattern-recognition from a common platform of sensors in the home.
CUBOiD is an MRC/UK DRI funded Momentum award (PI Professor Yoav Ben Shlomo)
The objective of CUBOiD is to develop novel computational behavioural analysis algorithms that derive signatures relevant to dementia from a home-based sensor network previously developed in the SPHERE IRC. Through the use of these new algorithms, CUBOiD aims to demonstrate that it is possible to reveal previously unseen behavioural biomarkers of early Alzheimer’s disease. These biomarkers would enable new therapies to be developed that target Alzhiemers at an earlier stage.
PD Sensors (PI Professor Alan Whone)
The progression of long term conditions such as Parkinson's Disease is very difficult to measure - this makes it very hard to measure the efficacy ("outcome") of new treatments for the disease. PD Sensors is a charitably-funded collaboration between the Neurology team of North Bristol NHS Trust and is using SPHERE-derived technology to measure long- and short-term changes in behaviour associate with pharmaceutical interventions in the patient's own home.
INTERACT (Dr Katarzyna Stawarz)
INTERACT is a 6-year NIHR Programme Grant to develop and evaluate a new, technology-enabled model of delivering psychological treatment (cognitive behavioural therapy) for adults with depression. The project brings together a large, multi-disciplinary team, including mental health academics and practitioners, human-computer interaction researchers, software engineers and end users. The aim of this programme is to integrate online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) materials with input from an accredited CBT therapist in order to increase the availability of high intensity CBT.
OPERA (PI Dr Rob Piechocki)
We are all constantly surrounded by electromagnetic waves, such as those arising from WiFi networks in our homes, workplaces and public spaces. The reflections of these waves from people are a potential source of information about postition and activity (and potentially even respiration or heart rate). This could provide a mechanism for sensing long-term health-related behavours, such as gait or the perfromance of rehabilitation exercises, with less intrusiveness than video cameras and with no need for wearable devices. Leveraging the University's track record in RF signall processing, OPERA is a new EPSRC-funded project that will extend the state of the art in this new health-sensing domain.
EurValve (Bristol PI Professor Ian Craddock)
Within the EurValve consortium H2020 project we are interested in characterising the recovery of patients after heart surgery. This understanding can be used to monitor the introduction of a new surgical procedure, to understand the factors that result in quicker recovery or to spot signs of deterioration post-surgery 30 patients have been given a wearable and indoor localisation system, from which the team can derive measures of where they are in their home and how active they are. For example - did the patient seem to be in pain at night, did they get up, how long before they could move comfortably and unaided between the bedroom and the bathroom?
Computational Analyses of Social Behaviour for Digital Health Solutions (Research Fellow Dr Nikolai Bode)
Social interactions are fundamental to human nature. Therefore, ageing, mental well-being or physical disease likely impact on how people behave in social encounters, possibly long before the symptoms of conditions become apparent. This fellowship aims to demonstrate how the study of social behaviour using sensor arrays for automated data acquisition in combination with novel computational analysis of behavioural signatures can be used to enhance healthcare.
Swarm Arena For Micro-Nanosystems (PI Dr Sabine Hauert)
Swarm behaviours arise from the interactions between agents and their environment. By controlling the environment of nanoparticles or bacteria, we aim to engineer their swarm behaviours. This will require the design of a Swarm Arena For Micro-Nanosystems that can fit under the microscope and enable fine spatial-temporal control of chemical, energy, or tactile signals in the environment.
Screening Nanoparticle Dynamics For Cancer Treatment (PI Dr Sabine Hauert)
Screening Nanoparticle Dynamics For Cancer Treatment: Understanding how trillions of nanoparticles move and interact in tumour tissue could prove instrumental to improve tissue penetration and cellular update. To this end we’re designing a tumour-on-a-chip microfluidic device to screen nanoparticle dynamics under the microscope.
HEmiSPHERE is led by the University of Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit, based at Southmead Hospital, Bristol. HEmiSPHERE is using the SPHERE sensor system with a cohort of patients havng hip and knee replacement. This globally-unique study will enable the patient's recovery from surgery to be captured in unprecedented detail. Working with surgeons in this project will allow the team to co-design the types of metrics that can be derived from the data that will be meangingul and useful for the surgical team.
Design partners for new, user-friendly and useful technology (PI Professor Rachael Gooberman-Hill)
Designing acceptable and appropriate technology has the potential to improve quality of life, safety, and care for older people. This project is conducting qualitative research to identify how older people can communicate best with a remote monitoring centre where smart home’s information is collected and processed. Qualitative data will be used to design an accessible and easy of use interface.
SPHERE-Cared (PI Prof Richard Huxtable, Prof Ian Craddock)
Investigating the ethical approach taken with the SPHERE particpants, a partnership with the Centre for Ethics in Medicine.
UKRI Innovation Fellowship, Dr Andy Skinner
Funded by the Medical Research Council through the newly formed Health Data Research UK, this new investment is around using new technology to capture a variety of health-related data, including how wearable technologies, like smartwatches, can be used for the longitudinal capture of different kinds of health data.
EPSRC-funded PhD projects developed as part of our 4 year CDT in Digital Health and Care. A list of current projects can be found here.